VANCOUVER, BC – After a short offseason break, the top young Residency prospects for Vancouver Whitecaps FC return to United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) action on Sunday as the U-18 and U-16 teams host Sacramento Republic FC. Kickoff for the U-18 match will at 10 a.m. PT, with the U-16 match at 12:30 p.m. PT. Both matches will be played at Cloverdale Athletic Park Field 2.
Fans can find the complete Residency USSDA schedule HERE.
Last year was another strong one for the U-18 squad. The team again qualified for the USSDA playoffs and, more importantly, pushed a number of players on to the professional ranks with Whitecaps FC.
Five players return from last year’s team, with another 11 moving up from the U-16 squad. Among those who’ve risen a level are three players who’ve signed their first professional contracts with WFC2: defender Kadin Chung, midfielder Thomas Gardner, and striker Terran Campbell. Campbell and Gardner have already made their pro debuts, while Chung recently returned from camp with Canada’s U-20 national team along with U-18 teammates Quinn Bredin, Vana Markarian, and Daniel Sagno.
Four new players join this year’s U-18 team. Three of them come from Victoria: defender Andre Earthy-Find, and strikers Liam McManaman and Charlie Miller. A third striker, Ndzemdzela “Zoom” Langwa, joins from Ottawa.
“We’re really looking forward to the season opener,” assistant coach Niall Thompson told whitecapsfc.com. “We feel that our preseason has gone well and the boys are looking sharper every day. We know Sacramento have a good club and we are expecting a tough test. Going into the game, we want to achieve some team goals within our performance, playing a high press possession game and transitioning quickly on both ends. The boys are ready to go.”
While 11 players moved up to the U-18 team, another 10 remain with the U-16 squad – showing just how strong this group has been. Last year was a terrific season for the U-16s, winning the Northwest Division for the second straight year before hosting a USSDA quarterfinal game for the first time at home.
Six players have risen to the U-16 team from Pre-Residency. Added to the team are six new players from across the country: goalkeeper Joshua Zadeiks (West Vancouver, BC) defenders Andres Charles-Barrera (Calgary, AB) and Joel Harrison (Langley, BC), midfielder Benson Fazili (Ottawa, ON), and strikers Theo Bair (Ottawa, ON) and Alphonso Davies (Edmonton, AB).
“Naturally, we’re really excited to kick off the season this weekend,” U-16 head coach Adam Day told whitecapsfc.com. “For the first competitive match, we’re looking for a good collective understanding from the group on how we want to play, the Whitecaps Way. We want to play with tempo and purpose. We’ll also be looking for expression from the players individually and to go out and enjoy the game.”
Sacramento Republic FC
This will be the first season in the USSDA for Sacramento. However, the club has already had great success at the USL level, winning the league championship in their inaugural season in 2014 and again qualifying for the playoffs this year.