Our Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency boys are getting ready for the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) Finals Week that starts this coming Sunday, July 14 with their first match against rivals Seattle Sounders FC at 6 p.m. PT (follow updates on Twitter at @WhitecapsMatch). The tournament wraps up with the championship final on Saturday, July 20.
This is the second consecutive season they have qualified for Finals Week. Last year they made it all the way to the championship final before falling 3-2 to FC Dallas, and this year they are BACK FOR MORE.
If they can duplicate their form from a couple of weeks ago in the USSDA Playoffs in Frisco, Texas – where they won every match convincingly – then they must be considered one of the favorites to take it all.
This is amazing when you consider that six of the players have been promoted from the U-16 squad: Marco Bustos, Marco Carducci, Matthew Chow, Alex Comsia, Jordan Haynes and Kianz Froese). Those same six players were also called up this year to the U-17 Canadian national team, so the future is certainly bright.
Another big reason for optimism going into Finals Week is this past weekend’s MLS Reserve League match versus Seattle Sounders FC.
Residency players come up big in 4-0 Reserves win vs. Seattle
Four U-18 Residency players stepped up with the big boys, including three who started the match. There were some incredible performances. Sam Adekugbe, Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese all started with Yassin Essa coming off the bench in a 4-0 win over the Sounders. None of these players looked out of place, in fact Adekugbe (a goal and assist) and Bustos (two assists) had very strong games in this convincing victory over Seattle.
It’s exciting to see our young players step to this level and be able to make an impact. It shows they have the attributes to take their game to another level and with some hard work and some good luck we could see another Russell Teibert emerge from this group.
Now, with confidence high, they look to go one step further from last year. The players from last year still remember it clearly and are very, very motivated. It’s a matter of unfinished business as they head back to Houston, which will please Martin Rennie as he looks to build a wining mentality throughout the club.
I could see in their eyes when I interviewed them before they went to the Playoffs: Nothing short of winning it all is going to satisfy them.