When I was first approached by the club to become a staff coach with Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s U-16 Residency team, I was very apprehensive because I had been out of a coaching role for a number of years.
The game is constantly changing and I’ve always prided myself on doing a top job, whatever the circumstances. So walking into this job was really daunting for me.
Until I met Gordon Forrest and experienced the job he was doing with our Residency program. From what I’ve seen, I think Gordon is the perfect choice for Whitecaps FC’s new assistant coach. I’ve had the opportunity to watch both he and Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson at work and I think they will bring a lot to this team.
As soon as I started my new role as U-16 Residency staff coach, I could see what Gordon had accomplished in such a short period of time. Quite simply, he had created an environment that allowed young players to thrive.
The first thing I noticed was the intensity of the sessions, which is key for coaches as they want players to train the way they play. The speed of play and the drive of these young ‘Caps players was impressive to say the least. Then there was the tactical awareness they were showing. It’s no use running around aimlessly if you don’t have a purpose on the field.
These are all philosophies that Forrest had instilled in the players.
It should also be mentioned that Forrest has not only focused on building professional soccer players, but molding and helping them become good people. This is important for a coach because you know want to be able to trust these players as you put them on the pitch and give them the chance to shine in the first team.
Sam Adekugbe is a perfect example of this. Gordon was confident enough to push Sam to get a start in Whitecaps FC’s last game of the season because he knew that he was strong, fearless, and would give his all in the game.
Young players can be inconsistent in their play but if you know they have the character to overcome the pressure of a game like that you know it’s not a big risk. We have a number of players like Sam in Kianz Froese and Marco Bustos who are made from the same stuff and are now knocking on the door of the first team.
Of course, there are a number of coaches before Gordon that deserve a ton of credit for the progression of Whitecaps FC’s Residency program and one of them, Craig Dalrymple, has deservedly been rewarded with the title of technical director.
That said, Gordon has been instrumental in developing a number of players that are now, or soon to be, first-team players and I have no doubt that he will have a similar effect in his new role.
Whitecaps FC 2014 season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps are also offering a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.