It was a weekend to remember for Whitecaps FC Island and Okanagan Prospects Academy Centre players this past weekend. As part of the clubs Prospects Academy program, five groups travelled to Vancouver for an MLS weekend of training with Whitecaps FC staff at the 'Caps Simon Fraser University regional training centre before attending Vancouver's big 4-3 win against New England Revolution at BC Place. In addition, the Academy groups went down on the field pre-game to meet some players and then had the opportunity to train at BC Place the Sunday morning after the match.The five groups included U-12, U-14 and U-17 boys and girls.
“This was a great example of how we want our Whitecaps FC Academy Centre program to work," said Whitecaps FC director of soccer development Dan Lenarduzzi. "In addition to the training the players receive in their respective Academy Centres with their regional Whitecaps FC head coaches, the opportunity to then bring in the players and the staff to our Whitecaps FC MLS weekend for training with our staff and a Whitecaps FC game brings the whole program together”.
“This weekend was especially exciting as, in addition to the training and the game, the players got to train right on the BC Place field," added Whitecaps FC Okanagan Academy Centre regional head coach David Broadhurst.
For Island Academy Centre regional head coach Claude Bolton and Nanaimo coach Craig Angus it was also a great opportunity for the players and staff to experience Whitecaps FC close up. “Getting the chance to come to Vancouver for the players to work with Whitecaps FC Vancouver staff and train at the facilities is huge for the players, and a chance they won’t get anywhere else,” noted Bolton.
In addition to the official weekend activities several players also got the additional opportunity to train with Whitecaps FC Pre-Residency program after being selected by Pre-Residency head coach Bart Choufour.
- Juan Rubiano from Nanaimo was invited to training with the Pre-Residency group Friday evening and then joined Island teammate Nathan Castle to take part in an intersquad Pre-Residency match Sunday.
- Whitecaps FC Island Skills Academy members Eoin Murphy and Jack Bland were also invited over for the weekend and joined in the Vancouver Skills Academy sessions on Sunday morning.
- Riley Fussell from Comox was also a special invite to the weekend sessions after being part of the 'Caps partnership training program with Comox Valley Soccer Club.
“As much as we can, we like to include selected players from our Academy Centres to take part in our Vancouver programs so we can have even more training time with them,” notes Choufour.
The Okanagan and Island Academy centres are two of six current centres including: Vancouver, Kootenays, Saskatchewan and the Northern Academy which is set to launch programming in July.
For more information on Whitecaps FC Academy Centre programs including Skills and Prospects Academy please visit whitecapsfc.com/youth/programs/academycentres
See below for a listing of Prospects Academy Players selected for the Okanagan and Island Prospects Academy.