There is a buzz around the coaching staff of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program, as they prepare to enhance the club’s youth development structure with the U-14 combine this weekend.
The excitement began to build when Whitecaps FC were accepted into the U.S. Soccer Development Academy league for 2011-12 season.The club also announced that they are expanding their youth structure from one U-19 Residency team to three age groups: U-14, U-16, and U-18. This will see the program grow from 25 players to roughly 80.
When Richard Grootscholten arrived from the Netherlands in November, he said that there were young soccer players here every bit as good as kids in Europe. Now he believes the structure is in place for them to excel.
"I think we're going to have absolutely world-class players," said Grootscholten, technical director and head coach of the Whitecaps FC Residency program. "I'm so excited to see what happens. It's going to look like Europe a little bit now."
That brings us to the U-14 combine, where around 80 players born in 1997, 1998, and 1999 will be put through their paces this Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, with hopes of making it into the Whitecaps FC Residency program.
I have spoken to Richard and his assistant Craig Dalrymple, and they are very excited about the talent in this age group. We also talked about how important it is to have players exposed to this type of environment at an early age to establish good habits.
Whitecaps FC continue to be the leaders in player development. Some of these young players will be future stars for the ‘Caps in four or five years from now, and hopefully stars for the Canadian national team as well.