Whitecaps FC U-17 BMO MLS Academy boys headed to the playoffs

From coaching locally in youth soccer programs to being named a BMO MLS Academy head coach at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Scott Howey has seen a great deal in the pathway for players.

Howey himself always had a dream of reaching the professional level as a player growing up. But in the process, he shifted gears towards the coaching aspect of the sport while maintaining the competitive edge he craved from a young age.

"The same rush I used to get from playing, I started to get from coaching and just sort of fell in love with it from there."

That drive for success is something that he feeds into his players as he pushes them to meet their potential.

As head coach of the Whitecaps FC U-17 MLS Academy boys, he has seen that same hunger from his team.

This season was always going to be a challenging one. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his players did not play any competitive matches in the MLS NEXT academy league for the past two years.

But little by little they rounded into form after returning to league play in April, and this month they clinched a spot in the upcoming MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs.

"There was always lots of positives that we had throughout the games, it was just about trying to put a complete game together, which took us some time," said Howey, "All those games, travel and things we just hadn't been experiencing for two years, took its toll at the start and it was a big challenge for them to find that consistency."

It's been a process of gaining experiences to better themselves. It's something that Howey has always valued.

2021.09.25 Caps Boys U15 v Seattle_hr_281

The journey

Howey began coaching in summer camps during high school in North Vancouver and later began working for local soccer programs to further develop his coaching skillset.

Since then, he has gone on to work with European Football School, Langley United Soccer Association, North Shore Soccer Development Centre, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, BC Soccer, Guildford Athletic, UBC and Surrey United SC, where he was assistant technical director.

Howey says plenty of coaches have had an impact during his career, with each of them giving him core foundations he still carries on into his coaching today.

“I don't know if I could name one single person, in each different stage of my coaching journey there was always somebody there,” said Howey, “They've all provided me with different opportunities and mentorships. All of those guys have had big impacts at the different stages I was at as a coach.”

After five years as assistant technical director with Surrey United SC, Howey joined the ‘Caps in July 2016 as an assistant coach of the U-14/U-15 Residency boys team.

With a strong first impression, that August he was named head coach of the U-14 boys team.

Throughout his time with the ‘Caps, Howey has seen a number of young players develop and progress at the club. He takes great pride in seeing some of the players from that U-14 group now finding their feet as they start their professional careers, including players like first team signed defender Matteo Campagna, WFC2 midfielder Jay Herdman, and recent Homegrown signing and MLS debutant Max Anchor.

Helping bring up the youth is one of Howey’s favourite parts of the job.

“It's cool, we all play a role in their development, so it's awesome to see some of them starting to get professional minutes,” explained Howey, “It's great to see those guys fulfilling their potential. That's the best part of youth development, of course. Winning games is nice along the way, but ultimately, it's about getting as many players to meet their potential.”

Gearing up for the playoffs

Howey will look to take his U-17 team as far as possible in the playoffs.

"We all want to do as well as we can in the playoffs, we'd love to win the MLS NEXT Cup, of course."

But he again highlights the long-term goal of continuing to push his players to reach their full potential.

"It's a great time to be a young player [in Canada] because there's so many different avenues now that they can continue to try to make a living in the game. Ultimately, I want to see how many of them can do that and I'll be lucky if one day I can turn on the television and be watching one, two, four or five of them."