More than 80 young players are part of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency program, working hard on and off the pitch every day to achieve their dreams of becoming a professional player, and playing for Canada’s national team.
For more information on becoming a Whitecaps FC Billet Family, visit whitecapsfc.com/billet.
Beau Chevalier caught up with U-19 Residency striker
to find out what a typical day looks like for him and billet house mate
Both players moved from Edmonton to Vancouver to be in the Residency program, and are billeted on the west side of Vancouver with the Kaczor family - parents Ed and Susan, and sons Sacha (14) and Soren (12).
The alarm sounds: Jefferson wakes up for what will sound like a long day. But in the end, it's just another average day for an aspiring Whitecaps FC prospect.
Breakfast of champions: The boys have eggs, cereal, oatmeal, or toast along with fruits and vegetables. Sometimes Ed and Susan will also make them a smoothie for an extra boost to get them through a busy schedule.
Before leaving for school, Jefferson and Chance pack lunch, usually sandwiches, or sometimes leftovers from the night before.
Off to school: The boys catch a short bus ride a couple of blocks down the street which takes them to their classes at University Hill Secondary School - one of the top public schools in the province.
School time: Classes start at 8:30 a.m and are 80 minutes long. Jefferson has two in the morning, a lunch break, then his last class in the afternoon.
Lunch time: During his lunch break, Jefferson likes to hang around with friends, go the gym to play basketball, or join in with any of the intramural sports at the school.
From student to soccer player: The boys don't have any classes scheduled for the fourth block - that's when they head to training. After lunch Jefferson and Chance head along with all of their Residency teammates to the National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC).
Jefferson always gets changed as fast as possible so he can go for treatment and pre-hab to get his muscles strong and loose before training. After pre-hab, he makes his way to the locker room to get his kit on and get ready for training outside.
Practice makes perfect: Training starts at 2:45 p.m., but Jefferson usually tries to be there 15 minutes beforehand to make sure he’s not late.
Residency players do two gym sessions per week, but athletes are expected to do one more by themselves. They can use the NSDC gym any time after training.
Jefferson is a model Residency player and takes every opportunity he can to be fit for the season. He and Chance both spent the recent preseason with the MLS squad this year, earning their opportunities through daily hard work and commitment.
Heading home: Training ends and the boys head back on the bus, which stops right outside the training facility and takes them home.
Dinner: Jefferson and Chance sit down with their billet family for dinner. No phones. They talk about their days at work, school, and practice. Jefferson’s favourite meal is a chicken pot pie or pasta.
Homework: After dinner it’s time for homework. Excelling at school is an integral part of being a part of the Residency program. Coaches and staff are in regular contact with school teachers and administrators. After graduating from the Residency program, many players who haven't turned pro will move on to play at top college programs.
Jefferson usually spends a couple of hours working on homework each night, depending on the workload.
Calling home: After he finishes his homework, Jefferson calls home to Edmonton.
“Usually I call my parents every day, and that can range from five minutes to half an hour, depending on what we talk about. Then I call my brothers and sisters because they are spread around the country.”
After catching up with his family, Jefferson relaxes by watching TV, or playing XBOX with Chance and his billet brothers. If he has the time, nothing pleases him more than heading to the field by the house and playing soccer – usually bringing Sacha and Soren along.
Lights out: Another long day comes to an end. Jefferson likes to get ready for bed and get plenty of rest to keep himself sharp and focused for the next day.
Saturday & Sunday
Most weekends the boys are playing games in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, either at UBC or traveling across the border. On their off weekends, they will often do activities with their billet families, or sometimes even help coach!