#CLTvVAN-9 (1)

In life, you have to prepare yourself and be ready to face the unexpected, no matter how difficult a situation may seem.

For Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Max Anchor, that’s exactly the type of challenge he had to go through last season.

Last May, the ‘Caps were hit with a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad, leaving both goalkeeping options in Cody Cropper and Isaac Boehmer unavailable for the club’s away match against expansion side Charlotte FC. The other option in goal was Thomas Hasal, but the Canadian was also unavailable due to a left hand, middle finger injury.

All of the above meant the ‘Caps were without a goalkeeper for the match, thus forcing Anchor to step up in a key moment.

The product of Burnaby, BC signed an MLS short-term agreement the day before the Charlotte match and also put pen to paper on an MLS Homegrown pre-contract with the first team set to start in 2023, becoming the 25th academy player to sign a Homegrown deal with the club.

On gameday, Anchor found out he’d be starting the match and making his professional debut.

“In the pre-game session, that’s when I realized I was number one so it was like ‘okay, this is it’ so it was about getting that mentality to get ready and just let all the emotions, the excitement happen, it all happened so fast.”

Safe to say, the experience was a whirlwind of emotions for the youngster.

“I didn’t expect it to be that loud and when I walked out just through the tunnel onto the field, I was like ‘holy, this is it’, it was just a crazy experience,” recalled Anchor, “Then, just during the game, it’s kind of a blur now that I think about it but it was unreal, the best experience, like everything you work for in the training ground, when you have that experience, you realize yeah that’s why we do it, it’s worth it.”

Despite losing the match, it’s a moment Anchor will never forget and credits his teammates, the coaching staff and family immensely for helping him get prepared, as well as all the teachings that have guided him to this point.

Another highlight from the day was when former Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez congratulated Anchor for his debut on the field after the match.

“It was just a lot of words of wisdom from him, to keep going, to keep pushing and obviously we have a great coaching staff of Vanni [Sartini], Youssef [Dahha], Mike [D’Agostino] and Rico [Clark] that help me so much but when an opposing team’s coach says similar things it means a lot,” explained Anchor.

“Not only is my coaching staff pushing me but I’m getting words of wisdom and positivity from the other team.”

After making his professional debut, Anchor went on to make the rest of his season appearances with the club’s MLS NEXT Pro side Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2), starting five matches for the team.

It's a team that saw him reunite with plenty of familiar faces from the academy, while gaining valuable minutes in a competitive environment to gain further experience.

“Most of the guys that came through the team I've been in the academy with for the last four or five years so I've known them whether I've been training with my own age group or training up, so when we got in the same team it was easy to gel and create that tight bond," said Anchor.

"You saw that throughout the year, although some of the results didn't go our way, we stayed tight and we kept pushing together."

Anchor’s now looking forward to making another leap in 2023, as he continues to grow and learn every day on the training ground to prepare himself for any situation that may come up, just as he did in Charlotte.

“It was awesome, all the experience that I got this season was crazy, whether it was the first team preseason, my debut game or with WFC2, I learned a lot, I grew a lot and it’s really an exciting spot for me and I’m really happy to go in next season cause I know it’s going to be the same, a lot of growing, a lot of learning.”