Spring Break was a special time for a group of young prospects this past week in Vancouver as Whitecaps FC held a Pre-Residency combine for select EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) players. In addition, Whitecaps FC also welcomed prospects from each of the club’s Academy Centres for a high potential player camp at the Whitecaps FC regional training centre at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.
“Our objective was twofold,” noted Whitecaps FC Pre-Residency and Academy Centre head coach Bart Choufour. “The first goal was to continue working closely with our BCSPL partner clubs on the intake of talent for next September’s Pre-Residency group. Secondly, we wanted to invite some of the high potential players from each of our academy centres to work with our Residency staff and challenge them with an opportunity in our Vancouver environment.”
The Pre-Residency combine consisted of evening training sessions over the three days, with an additional second session during the day for the Academy Centre players – who were mixed in with current Whitecaps FC Pre-Residency players.
“The combine was terrific,” stated Choufour. “The commitment of the players and the displayed quality of play was very good. It was great to have an excellent lineup of coaches involved, including U-16 Residency coaches Rich Fagan and Carl Valentine, U-18 coaches Steve Meadley and Niall Thompson, and a number of coaches from our various academy centres.”
With the EA SPORTS BCSPL currently in its third full season, Choufour was pleased to see continued development in the level of play.
“We couldn’t have been happier with the results,” added Choufour. “Clearly, having all the best players in the top (premier) league is paying dividends. Players in the BCSPL get challenged more in training and games, train at higher frequencies and are guided well by organizations with strong technical leadership. I was very pleased with the level of the players in our combine, including the ones that we had invited based on strong recommendations by the technical directors of various BCSPL clubs.”
As for the progress of the Whitecaps FC Academy Centres, the ‘Caps philosophy has been clearly implemented.
“It was great to see that the consistent message that we are delivering at our various academy centres is paying off,” noted Choufour. “You can see a real growth in confidence from the academy centre players. They held their own in a high level environment. It was also fantastic to have four of our Academy Centre regional head coaches take part with Craig Angus from the Island, Brett Adams from the Kootenays, Bryce Chapman from Saskatchewan, and our newest regional head coach, John Antulov from Kamloops. David Broadhurst from the Okanagan and Sonny Pawar from the Northern Academy will be attending next as we will be having periodic Academy Centre high potential player camps over the course of the year.”
See below for a list of Whitecaps FC Academy Centre high potentials players who attended:
· Luke Mackie (Saskatoon)
· Kuhle Bekwayo (Saskatoon)
· Mathew Hnatiw (Saskatoon)
· Marcus Baxter (Saskatoon)
· Julian Daduica (Prince George)
· Demian Dron (Prince George)
· Anthony Preston (Prince George – Invited but could not attend)
· Colburn Pearce (Prince George – Invited but could not attend)
· Lucas Hicklin (Kelowna)
· Stuart Klenner (Kamloops)
· Parker Shaw-Lazier (Nelson)
· Marco Falcone (Nelson)
· Juan Rubiano (Nanaimo)
· Charlie Purcell (Comox)
· Jakob Sutton (Nanaimo)
· Joey Seo (Qualicum Beach)
· Ethan Wong (Comox Valley)
· Eion Murphy (Nanaimo)
Whitecaps FC season tickets start at the prorated price of just $331 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.