With Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency now encompassing squads at the U-14, U-16, and U-18 levels, youth soccer development in Canada continues to make deeper strides as a cornerstone of future soccer success in the heart of British Columbia.
Under the direct guidance of technical director and head coach Richard Grootsholten, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program begins with the U-14 Pre-Academy group, featuring players U-13 to U-15 separated into two squads; a senior and junior team for a total player pool of 36. Players train in the evenings and attend their local schools. Exhibition matches are scheduled within the Pacific Northwest region against elite club teams, MLS academies, and other United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) Pre-Academy teams.
From the U-14 group, players graduate into the U-16 and U-18 program and play matches in their respective USSDA leagues. These teams feature 18 to 20 players per squad that train and attend Burnaby Central Secondary School, as part of a holistic development program. Residency players from outside of the catchment area are housed with local billet families in Burnaby, BC, who offer a safe, supportive environment that provides stability for the player, allowing them to focus their efforts on academic and athletic achievement. Successful Residency graduates enter the first-team development environment that includes training with the Major League Soccer (MLS) squad and competitive opportunities in both the USSDA and MLS Reserve League games.
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 stand-outs Philippe Davies and Bryan Sylvestre, who have each earned a spot on Whitecaps FC's MLS roster. In 2011 alone, Whitecaps FC have placed 13 players on Canada's U-17 and U-20 national teams. Find out more about the Whitecaps FC Residency program at www.whitecapsfc.com/residency.