Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams seem to be emulating their Major League Soccer counterparts lately, as both the U-18 and U-16 squads seek to maintain their undefeated streaks on Saturday at Surrey’s Newton Athletic Park. Last weekend was another positive showing for both squads at the 2012 Whitecaps FC College Showcase. Whitecaps FC Residency technical director and head coach Richard Grootscholten was pleased with the performance of both teams at the showcase and is happy to see the squads back on the pitch quickly. “It’s good to play another game after a week,” said Grootscholten. “We talked about some things from last game, and it’s always good to have a quick game again to get them to recognize and address the things they need to play better.”
Both teams will be looking to make the best of their home field advantage against visiting West Conference side Pateadores of Southern California. The U-18 Residency squad (11W-4L-3D) will play first at 10:00 a.m. PT versus Pateadores U-17/18 squad (10W-8L-3D), followed by the U-16 Residency squad (11W-4L-3D) opposing Pateadores U-15/16 side (10W-4L-7D) at 12:30 p.m. PT, all at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, British Columbia.
This will be the fourth straight home match for both the U-18 and U-16 squads. The U-18 Residency team will look to build on their three game winning streak in their first match against West Conference rival Pateadores. While the Pateadores should present a good challenge to the ‘Caps, the Residency squad continues to focus on their own game rather than the opponents.
“Although we do work with the U-18s to see what qualities the opposition have, and to see how we can use our strengths against them and get the best result, we are focusing 100 per cent on our players and playing style,” stated Grootscholten.
Returning to the lineup for the U-18 team is striker Caleb Clarke, who had suffered a shoulder injury while playing with the MLS team at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic preseason tournament in Orlando, Florida. The ‘Caps will be happy to see a healthy Clarke considering Caleb currently leads the squad in goals this season, scoring 16 times in 15 matches.
The U-16 Residency squad have gone undefeated in five straight matches, but after drawing their last match against De Anza Force at the College Showcase, they’ll be hoping to get back to their winning ways. One thing that should provide inspiration to the young squad is the success of two former Residency players now with the MLS team, Whitecaps FC midfielders Bryce Alderson and Russell Teibert, who are currently representing Canada at the U-23 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“There’s a lot of morale or inspiration to have Residency players at that level,” said Grootscholten. “Hopefully it motivates not only our players, but also players throughout BC and nationwide. It’s fantastic for us and, of course for Canada as well.”
Following this Saturday’s matches, Whitecaps FC Residency squads settle in for another home match to gain points towards a playoff berth. Both squads will be defending their turf against Cal Odyssey on April 12 at Simon Fraser University.