Now B.C. boasts best Under-17 soccer players in the nation - The Province

By Marc Weber Two local soccer players' pride is showing. Monica Lam-Feist earned Canadian soccer under-17 player of the year honours. The South Surrey resident's whirlwind season was capped by Monday's announcement from the Canadian Soccer Association. "If feels really good," said Lam-Feist, a repeat winner who, unlike her fellow U17 nominees, played up a level with the U20 national team. "This year has been really amazing for me." The attacking midfielder suited up for the Whitecaps when her schedule permitted in 2008, which wasn't often. She helped Canada to a gold medal at June's CONCACAF U20 championship in Mexico, and in November started twice at the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup in Chile, scoring in both games. She was even called up to the senior squad for the Four Nations Tournament in China in January, though she didn't play. Lam-Feist is returning to Surrey's Sullivan Heights for her final semester after studying online during the hectic season. She's off to the University of Wisconsin in the fall, where she'll team up with fellow Canadian U20 players Paige Adams of Port Coquitlam and Rita Keimakh of Ontario. Adams was the reason she took a look at the campus and it was love at first sight for Lam-Feist, who moved to Surrey from the Okanagan at age 13. "The campus is in between two lakes and they have four seasons there," she said. "It just felt like [my old] home." Under-17 male player of the year Russell Teibert also has a strong B.C. connection. The Niagara Falls, Ont., native joined the Whitecaps residency program in August and the midfielder said his game has improved dramatically since training with Thomas Niendorf's group. "This program's doing wonders for me," said the 16-year-old. Teibert started the season at the national training centre in Ontario and also played in Toronto FC's Academy program. "I thought the first time I put on a national jersey was the most proud moment of my life but this is something else," he said. "It just completely shocked me. I had to restrain myself from screaming I was so happy." © The Vancouver Province 2009