VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the launch of a new Whitecaps FC Northern Academy Centre to be based out of Prince George and in partnership with Prince George Youth Soccer Association (PGYSA).
“We’re very pleased to launch this Northern academy centre in Prince George and are very appreciative of the support and opportunity to partner with PGYSA.” said Dan Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC director of soccer development. “Whitecaps FC have a lot of respect for the work that PGYSA have done in the community, and with its programming over the years. We feel that by working together we can help grow the game in Prince George and across Northern BC with the hopes of also providing further opportunities for local players.
Whitecaps FC Academy Centres are a network of regional Whitecaps FC training hubs linked through key staff, curriculum, and standards that provide professional supplemental club training for serious, motivated players. The Whitecaps FC Academy Centre network now totals six locations, including the new Northern Academy, Vancouver Island, Vancouver, the Okanagan, and the Kootenays along with the recently announced Whitecaps FC Saskatchewan Academy Centre – the first such centre outside of British Columbia.
“As we expand our centres, we have the ability to bring Academy Centre programs together for joint training and competitive opportunities for both players and staff,” noted Lenarduzzi. “It’s important to note that within BC, Whitecaps FC Academy Centres are positioned to be complementary to our main scouting vehicle, the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) – the high performance league established with our development partner BC Soccer.”
PGYSA is the largest youth sports association in Prince George. There are over 2,500 boys and girls, ages 3 to 18, registered for outdoor soccer each May and 700 registrations for indoor programs in the winter. For more information on the association visit http://www.pgysa.bc.ca.
“We feel our partnership with Whitecaps FC is a great fit and the next step forward for our association,” said Steve Raper, PGYSA projects director. “It’s always been part of our mission to provide more opportunities for local youth, and make the association and its partnerships in the North stronger, and we feel this partnership will do that.”
The Northern Academy centre will be led by Sonny Pawar, currently the interim technical head coach of PGYSA. Pawar will deliver Whitecaps FC’s development philosophy and curriculum supported by Whitecaps FC staff in Vancouver who will make regular visits to the Northern Academy. Pawar is also the current assistant coach of the University of Northern British Columbia men’s soccer team and previously held the UNBC head coach position as well as being head coach of the PGYSA Soccer Academy.
“I’m very excited to be joining Whitecaps FC and to help build the Northern Academy Centre programs” stated Pawar. “I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in this community for a long time and I see this as a real opportunity to work together to help raise the profile of our sport and help grow the game to increase opportunities for local players.”
Whitecaps FC Northern Academy programs will launch this spring, starting in May with a Whitecaps FC Skills Academy for boys and girls U-9 to U-12. An invite-only Prospects Academy will also launch this May for boys and girls from U-10 to U-18 and will comprise local training as well as select trips to Vancouver for a Showcase weekend and another for an MLS weekend that includes training with Whitecaps FC Vancouver staff, plus a chance to watch a live MLS game.
In addition to the Academy programs, a select number of Whitecaps FC Northern camps will be available in the summer.
For more information on Whitecaps FC Northern Academy Centre programs and registration please visit whitecapsfc.com/northern.