Whitecaps FC and Saskatchewan Soccer Association extend player development partnership through 2026


SASKATOON, SK – Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Saskatchewan Soccer Association (SSA) announced on Wednesday an extension of their player development partnership through 2026. 

“There is soccer talent throughout Canada, and it is important that there is a pathway for them to reach their goals,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC chief executive officer. “We are proud to work with the Saskatchewan Soccer Association to support the development of young players.”

The partnership will continue to provide a pathway to the professional club environment in Vancouver through the full-time, fully funded Whitecaps FC Boys MLS Academy and the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Academy, a Canada Soccer National Development Centre.

Goalkeeper Thomas Hasal came through the Whitecaps FC Saskatchewan BMO Academy Centre and was selected to the MLS Academy in 2016, before signing an MLS Homegrown contract in 2019 as he would go on to make 58 MLS appearances.  Another Saskatchewan youth soccer product, Brett Levis, made 24 MLS appearances and 40 USL appearances with Whitecaps FC from 2015 to 2019. On the women’s side, Saskatoon’s Kaylyn Kyle played five seasons for the Whitecaps W-League team in Vancouver. All three players spent time within the Saskatchewan Soccer Association development system.

“We are pleased to have a strong relationship with Whitecaps FC that allows for us to establish great opportunities for the players in Saskatchewan to grow in their respective pathways," added Steven Porter, interim executive director of Saskatchewan Soccer. "We know the players in Saskatchewan will put their best foot forward to benefit from this partnership. In addition, we appreciate the professional development opportunities for our coaches to continue to learn.”

Part of the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System, the Saskatchewan Soccer Association EXCEL Program, in partnership with Whitecaps FC, provides local talent a pathway to professional soccer, scholarships, and Canadian national teams. Based out of Saskatoon and run by SSA staff, Whitecaps FC provide program curriculum and development supported by staff visits. 

Local pathway programs include the U13 to U17 Boys and Girls REX Program. BMO Academy players earn opportunities to showcase their talent at Player ID events including the Academy Centre Showcase and the High Potential Player (HPP) program, which can lead to full-time funded places at the Boys MLS Academy and Girls Elite Academy programs in Vancouver.