Bart Choufour

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) is launching a new Whitecaps FC Discovery program this fall. Long-time Whitecaps FC academy coach Bart Choufour will lead the program as Network Partner Program (NPP) technical director, and Discovery head coach.

WFC Discovery is a funded program for players between U-11 and U-13, and is part of the Whitecaps FC pathway. It enables Whitecaps FC to work together with local clubs to develop and monitor local U-11 to U-13 players, and identify players at the U-13 age groups for potential full-time academy opportunities in the future.

“This program is a very important evolution in how we work with clubs and young players, removing the financial barrier to allow our coaches to work with as many young players for as long as possible before we get into the selection process for our U-14 full-time programs,” said Mike Ayyash, Whitecaps FC BMO Academy Centre director. “Through collaboration with the local clubs, we will put our resources towards developing the players so they gain from the experience whether they do end up in our full-time program or on a different pathway in their futures.”

Players will stay in their home club environments and be invited in for one session per week during a phase where they train with players from other clubs in flexible training groups. Player groups are rotated over several phases during the year, allowing Whitecaps FC to work with as many young players as possible every year.

The Discovery program aligns with similar programs run by other MLS clubs and is intended to allow players to discover and develop their potential through training with professional club coaches, while also learning and understanding the expectations of a professional academy.   

“In Discovery we aim to accommodate a large group of players to get to know and work with our full-time coaching staff at Vancouver Whitecaps FC,” said Bart Choufour. “It is a great way for young players to be involved with the professional club and for us to get a better handle on the committed and inspired young players in the community. And once they reach U-13, we can start identifying players for our U-14 full-time programs over a longer period of time and reduce the stress of a one-time trial.”

Whitecaps FC coaches will work with local clubs and arrange visits to observe players in their club environments to help identify players who will be a invited to the Discovery program.

WFC Discovery is part of the Whitecaps FC Network Partner Program (NPP), and replaces the WFC Prospects programs in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC BMO Academy programs are still open for all U-8 to U-15 players on the weekends.

The Discovery program will be run out of the Christine Sinclair Community Centre in Burnaby.

For further information about the Discovery Program, visit the official website https://camps.whitecapsfcyouth.com/discoveryprogram and for information on the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System, visit whitecapsfc.com/academy.