High hopes for Bellisomo

By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com With the holiday season well underway, Vancouver Whitecaps defender Luca Bellisomo is excited by what lies ahead for both him and the club in 2009. The 22-year-old made a successful transition to the professional game in 2008 after an impressive four-year career with Simon Fraser University. The South African-born youngster started nine of his 11 USL First Division appearances in his rookie season with the 'Caps, with the defender getting on the scoresheet during a 3-2 defeat at Atlanta Silverbacks on August 5. "I enjoyed playing in a professional environment for the first time," Bellisomo told whitecapsfc.com. "I got more comfortable every game I played, as I was trying to figure out what the league was all about, how I fit into USL-1, and what I needed to work on as a player." Having been part of the club's USL-1 championship success back in October, Bellisomo is now focused on playing a larger role with the men's team come the New Year. "I've been playing and training with the Residency squad this autumn," said the defender. "I've also been training with our strength and conditioning coach Steve Ramsbottom, as well as doing some cardio and technical work on my own. By the time the first game of the season comes around in the spring, my hope is I will have earned a starting position and have become an important member of the squad." Bellisomo has not solely been focused on his improvement as a professional player this winter. The resident of Coquitlam, BC, moved a step closer to completing his undergraduate degree at SFU. "I took three classes this autumn, which I just finished up a couple of weeks ago," he revealed. "That leaves me with two more classes to do in the spring to complete my Biology degree, hopefully." Though several experienced players have moved on from the club in recent weeks, Bellisomo is full of anticipation for what the 2009 Whitecaps men's team will look like. "We will have a new-look team, but I'm excited to see some of the new players that will be coming in," he said. "From my point of view, the way Teitur started out last season with his tactics and his philosophy of play should make for an exciting style of soccer from the team next season. Teitur is looking for exciting, young players who are fun to watch, so regardless of what team is on the field for us, I think it's going to be an exciting 2009 season for the Whitecaps." For now, Bellisomo is enjoying the holiday season by staying close to home with family and friends. "There are a couple of potential trips up to Whistler, but for the most part, I'll be staying here on the Lower Mainland." Whitecaps 2009 season tickets are now on sale. Season tickets include all men’s and women's team regular season and playoff home matches at Swangard Stadium, Nutrilite Canadian Championship home matches against Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, as well as priority listing for BC Place and the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. For more information on the 2009 season ticket packages, call 604.669.WAVE (9283) or CLICK HERE.