Vancouver Whitecaps FC's future looks very bright.
Last week, I took part in the Whitecaps FC Residency combine for young Canadian players born in 1995 and 1996. Over 30 players were identified and invited to this camp, with the goal of being invited to join the Residency program in the near future.
Richard Grootscholten (Residency technical director and head coach), and Craig Dalrymple (assistant technical director and assistant head coach) and the rest of the technical staff put on a first-class camp, which packed a lot of programming into three days.
The players were put through their paces in training and coached in a couple of 11 v 11 games to see if they had the right stuff. They were able to watch the Whitecaps FC team train and attend the 'Caps MLS debut win versus Toronto FC. Chief executive officer Paul Barber and president Bobby Lenarduzzi took some time out from their busy schedule to speak to the young hopefuls and their families about the vision of Whitecaps FC and what our Residency program had to offer them in their goals to make it as a professional soccer player.
The players and families also attended a "Life of the Residency player", which included schooling, billeting, lifestyle, and support, while they also had the opportunity to ask questions of current Residency player Bryce Alderson and his father to find out what life was like as a Residency player.
A lot of work was put into putting this combine together. Players were identified from our MLS territory of Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), while many coaches, associations, and other network connections were used to bring the best young Canadian players together for this combine. Grootscholten and his staff were very impressed and pleasantly surprised with the young talent he had a chance to evaluate at this combine.
To cap the three days, the combine players got to see Residency graduate Russell Teibert make his very impressive debut for Whitecaps FC, and maybe bring their dreams that much closer to becoming a professional soccer player.