Vancouver Whitecaps U-12 and U-13 Boys teams are in Europe for a two-week tour of friendlies and tournament play.
Led by Whitecaps Boys Prospects head coach Bart Choufour, the U-12 and U-13 teams arrived in the Netherlands last Thursday before each team recorded an opening victory at Dutch club VVV Venlo on Friday.
That was followed by the U-13 Boys successfully defending their Start Hollandia Tournament title on Saturday before the U-12 Boys emulated their older-age counterparts by winning the Start VV HSC Sappemeer Tournament on Sunday.
Both teams will also play series of friendly games against their age-group counterparts from top European clubs like Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and German Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen. They will also participate in tournaments during their visit, with the U-13 Boys taking part in the two-day Good Old Tournament in the Netherlands this coming weekend.
Both teams will also experience top European soccer action first-hand, with trips to Amsterdam and the Ajax youth complex planned during their two-week visit.
Stay logged on to whitecapsfc.com for the latest from the Whitecaps U-12 and U-13 Boys European tour.
Tuesday, August 19
Whitecaps U-13 Boys 2-1 NEC Nijmegen U-13
Vancouver Whitecaps U-13 Boys defeated Dutch U-13 Premier Division side NEC Nijmegen 2-1 on Tuesday.
Despite taking the initiative from kick-off, NEC was able to match the speed of the young 'Caps in what was a high-tempo contest.
It was NEC who took the lead after 10 minutes when a mistake in the Whitecaps backline put the Nijmegen forward one-on-one with goalkeeper Colten Cook before he converted for 1-0.
The Whitecaps then created a number of chances, with Matthew Chow hitting the NEC crossbar before Justin Virk found the top corner of the goal to equalize on 21 minutes, with both sides going to the halftime break at 1-1.
In the second half, the Whitecaps continued to press and create chances, with Chow again unlucky to see his well-placed shot hit the NEC crossbar.
However, the Canadian visitors would not be denied, as on 20 minutes, Kyle Sohi broke the deadlock when he chipped the NEC goalkeeper to make the final score 2-1.
Whitecaps U-12 Boys 1-0 UNION U-13
Vancouver Whitecaps U-12 Boys overcame older opposition in Dutch U-13 Premier Division side UNION 1-0 on Tuesday.
With a strong wind at their backs, hosts UNION took the initiative in the friendly at their beautiful club facility, but Whitecaps goalkeeper Aman Thind was solid in goal for the visitors, as he dealt with four challenging corners from UNION in the first half.
Then after Erik Edwardson came on at right fullback to neutralize UNION’s left-sided winger, the 'Caps came to grips with the pace of the game right up to the halftime break.
With the wind at their backs to start the second half, the Whitecaps created a number of chances, with Russell Coffin nearly getting in on goal, while Eric de Graaf and Daniel Pervan tested the UNION goalkeeper with a couple of well-placed shots.
The match-winner came from Erik Edwardson, as Aidan Moore combined with Julian Gailiunas before feeding the ball to the Vancouver midfielder. With his back to goal, Edwardson faked to go onto his right foot and quickly turned the other way before striking a left-foot shot in the far corner for 1-0.
The Whitecaps went on to have a further two opportunities to increase their lead in the rain, but one-goal result was enough for victory.
Sunday, August 17 - Whitecaps U-12 Boys – Start VV HSC Sappemeer Tournament
Vancouver Whitecaps U-12 Boys followed Saturday's success by their U-13 counterparts by winning Start VV HSC Sappemeer Tournament on Sunday.
Despite facing impressive competition in the form of FC Utrecht U-12's (Dutch Premier), HFC Haarlem U-12's (Dutch First Division), FC Omniworld U-12's (Dutch First Division), and Bermuda's U-13 national side, the Whitecaps progressed confidently to the tournament title.
In their first game, Vancouver defeated HFC Haarlem 1-0 on a late penalty by Liam Fraser before the Whitecaps saw off FC Omniworld 2-0 through goals from Aiden Moore and Brendan Shaw.
With the tournament being a five-team round-robin format, the Whitecaps fell 1-0 to FC Utrecht in an exciting and high-paced contest, with both teams set to meet again in a friendly on Wednesday, August 20.
The result left the Whitecaps needing to beat Bermuda U-13's to finish first in the standings and win the tournament. Vancouver took the initiative from the start and claimed the title with a 2-0 victory on goals by Kerman Pannu and Daniel Pervan.
Start VV HSC Sappemeer Tournament – final standings
1.Whitecaps FC U-12
2.FC Utrecht U-12
3.HFC Haarlem U-12
5.FC Omniworld U-12
Saturday, August 16 - Whitecaps U-13 Boys – Start Hollandia Tournament
Vancouver Whitecaps U-13 Boys successfully defended their Start Hollandia Tournament title on Saturday.
With all matches 25 minutes in length, the Whitecaps claimed five straight wins in the group stage against HFC Haarlem U-13's (2-0), FC Medemblik U-14's (2-1), AV Sparta U-13's (5-0), AFC U-13's (1-0) and Elinkwijk U-13's (4-0) to reach the tournament final.
Through they dominated a combined U-12/U-13 side from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in the final, the Whitecaps had to settle for penalties after a goalless draw. With the shootout score at 6-5 to Vancouver, Whitecaps goalkeeper Lucas Johnson stopped AZ's sixth shot to clinch the win and retain possession of the Exchange Cup.
Friday, August 15 – U-12 & U-13 Whitecaps Boys v VVV Venlo
Whitecaps U-13 Boys 8-1 VVV Venlo U-13
Vancouver Whitecaps U-13 Boys got their European tour off to an emphatic start after an 8-1 thrashing of their counterparts from Dutch club VVV Venlo.
Derek Santos opened the scoring after taking a pass from Michael North before Kyle Sohi found the top corner of the goal for Vancouver's second six minutes later.
VVV equalized on 22 minutes when they scored on the rebound after Whitecaps goalkeeper Colten Cook had initially stopped a Venlo penalty, but four minutes later, Matthew Chow restored Vancouver's two-goal lead after North supplied him with a good pass. Sohi made it 4-1 just before halftime with a fine free-kick strike from near the edge of the VVV box.
Justin Turner-Pearce then struck twice for the Whitecaps to make it 6-1 before Sohi capped a fine performance with two more goals to complete the 8-1 scoreline.
Whitecaps U-12 Boys 3-1 VVV Venlo U-12
In the second game on Friday, Vancouver Whitecaps U-12 Boys overcame their opponents from VVV Venlo 3-1.
In a very entertaining and fast-paced match, it was the Whitecaps that struck first when Kerman Pannu knocked home a rebound from an initial Erik Edwardson shot on five minutes.
Three minutes later, Venlo got back on level terms after Merlin Fisk conceded a penalty after taking down the VVV winger. Goalkeeper Aman Thind had no chance on the spot kick, as Venlo made it 1-1 at the break.
In the second half, the 'Caps increased the tempo to force the issue, while VVV matched Vancouver step-for-step with great positional play. The Whitecaps then restored their lead when Russell Coffin finished superbly after a great through ball from Marcello Polisi.
Aiden Moore then put the icing on the cake when he side-stepped a Venlo defender before slotting home from a sharp angle for 3-1. Despite some pressure from the home side, the Whitecaps held on for the first win of their European tour.