Vancouver Whitecaps FC will kick off their Residency combine today - Thursday, March 17 - in conjunction with the opening weekend of the club’s inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
The three-day evaluation process will welcome players between the ages of 14 and 16 from across Canada and around the world to get a first-hand look at the full-time Whitecaps FC Residency program.
As part of the combine, participants will attend the inaugural Whitecaps FC MLS match versus Toronto FC at Empire Field. Saturday’s match kicks off at 3:30 p.m. PT.
"We’re thrilled to host this Whitecaps FC Residency combine," said Dan Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC director of soccer development. "The Residency program has been steadily growing since its inception in 2007 and now that our men’s team is in MLS, interest is at an all-time high."
The first day will see the aspirants tour Empire Field in the morning, meet first-team head coach Teitur Thordarson, and watch a Whitecaps FC first-team training session. In the afternoon, the combine participants will train at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex. The opening day will finish with a presentation from Whitecaps FC chief executive officer Paul Barber, president Bob Lenarduzzi, and Residency technical director and head coach Richard Grootscholten.
“This is a great opportunity for these young players to get a sense of what it takes to make it as a professional soccer player,” said Grootscholten. “Not only will they train and compete for a spot on our Residency roster, but they will also see where the program can take them with our MLS team.”
The young hopefuls will begin the second day with a series of inter-squad matches before observing the Whitecaps FC Residency team train later in the day. The Friday agenda will end with a presentation on the support systems that Whitecaps FC provides as part of the full-time Residency program.
Graduates of the Whitecaps FC Residency program include current MLS roster players Philippe Davies, Bryan Sylvestre, and Russell Teibert. Other players include Adam Straith, who is now playing for German club FC Energie Cottbus, and Ethan Gage, who recently moved on to England's Reading FC.
Click here for more information on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program.