VANCOUVER, BC – Marco Carducci split his childhood stopping balls inside his parents house and out in the chilly prairie winters in his hometown of Calgary, Alberta.
Sometime soon, the 17-year-old goalkeeper could find himself equally busy between the sticks at BC Place for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Graduating from the Whitecaps FC Residency program, Carducci signed his first professional contract Tuesday as a Homegrown player, after performing impressively throughout preseason.
“My dad was huge for me getting to the level I'm at now,” Carducci reflected after Tuesday's training session at the University of British Columbia, speaking of his father Luciano's influence in his development. “He was my trainer and we kind of put some dents in the walls downstairs that are probably still there ... that went down to my dad really pushing me to get to the stage I'm at now.”
“We were inside, outside, wherever we could be,” he added. “Sometimes in the snow, or if we saw a little patch of grass we'd go.”
Carducci, who is still completing his high school courses online, is still eligible to play with the U-18s in the United States Soccer Development Academy. That’s one way he’ll be able to get some games as the young shot-stopper continues to develop in the company of David Ousted and Paolo Tornaghi under the tutelage of goalkeeping coach Marius Røvde.
“Being able to train every day with the likes of David and Paolo ... there's so many things I can pick up,” Carducci said. “Marius has been extremely instrumental for me pushing in and starting to mature as a goalkeeper. Every day there are so many things you pick up from those guys, and just working hard and improving on everything in your game.”
Carducci's career has been impressive at the youth level – he's captained Canada at the U-17 level and claimed back-to-back Canadian U-17 player of the year honours in 2012 and 2013.
“It's my goal to be a starter here eventually,” Carducci said. “Whenever that happens, it's up to me and the coaching staff, but I'll work every day to push my limits and set my standards as high as I can.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349 and single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer 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.