After a successful beginning to the inaugural 2011-12 United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) league season for Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency last weekend, the U-16 and U-18 squads return to the field this Saturday as they face another pair of tough opponents from the California Development Academy at Del Oro High School in Loomis, California. The U-18 teams meet at 12 p.m. PT before the U-16s play the second of the doubleheader at 2:30 p.m. PT.
Coming off a close 2-1 defeat to Real Salt Lake AZ in their first-ever U-15/16 USSDA fixture last weekend, the U-16 ‘Caps will look to re-group this weekend with improved confidence.
Residency technical director and head coach Richard Grootscholten is excited for the upcoming road trip and hopes to see an improvement week-to-week. “I want to see how well our guys prepare on the road,” said Grootscholten. “It’s a real game and you want the preparation before the match to give you the opportunity to execute, being ready for every ball, every minute.”
Their opponents, who will be playing their first match of the season after being off during the opening weekend, are coached by Marcos Mercado and finished their 2010-11 season at the bottom of the West Conference Northwest Division with a 2W-7L-3D record.
After a five goal outburst – ignited by Caleb Clarke’s two goal performance – the U-18 ‘Caps will look to continue their strong play from last weekend with hopes to execute a complete 90 minute effort this Saturday afternoon.
“This team [that we’re playing] is all new for us, so we will see how it goes. We aren’t worrying about the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents,” said Grootscholten. “We just want to control our situation and play the style of match that we practice for throughout the week.”
Playing on the road should not be as great of a challenge for the older U-18 boys after numerous away matches this past summer as a part of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL). California Development Academy U-18s were also off on opening weekend. They finished last season in the middle of the West Conference Northwest Division with a 6W-2L-4D record.
After this weekend, both Whitecaps FC Residency squads will have the next two weeks off before returning back to Vancouver for a home match-up against Crossfire Premier U-15/16 and U-17/18. The matches are open to the public and will take place at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. PT at Simon Fraser University, Field 4 (Turf).
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency has become a symbol of the club’s dedication and investment in player development, with the program aimed to increase professional opportunities for Canadian players. This has included Residency graduates such as two-time Canadian U-17 Player of the Year Russell Teibert, as well as standouts Philippe Davies and Bryan Sylvestre, who have each earned a spot on Whitecaps FC in MLS. In 2011 alone, Whitecaps FC have placed 13 players on Canadian Soccer Association U-17 and U-20 national teams.
Successful Residency graduates enter the first team development environment that includes training with the Major League Soccer (MLS) squad and competitive opportunities in both United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) and MLS Reserve League games.
Find out more about the Whitecaps FC Residency program at whitecapsfc.com/residency.