By Brandon Timko/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men are set for another season in the Pacific Coast Soccer League, starting with their home opener against Athletic Club BC at Simon Fraser University's Terry Fox Field this Tuesday evening. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. PDT.
Led by head coach Bart Choufour and Whitecaps manager of technical programs Dave Irvine, the Prospects Men will look to improve on last season's campaign in the PCSL Men's Premier Division. Heading into the 2009 season, Choufour has had the benefit of having the team together in Delta throughout the winter, as opposed to this time last year when the squad was assembled in April. As a group, the U-18 Prospects attend North Delta Senior Secondary as part of the Whitecaps Delta Prospects Academy. The program allows the Prospects Men to train and play matches for Delta WFC in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League’s U-21 and Men's Premier Divisions, as well as participate in several friendly matches against local university squads.
The experience of playing in the VMSL has helped the team adapt to the physical style of play that they will encounter in the PCSL this summer. Choufour will be encouraging his team to be more technically sound against their more senior opponents with good positional play and quick ball movement. The Dutch-born coach sees the PCSL as a great opportunity for learning in a strong league. "Although the main goal is to develop the players, learning to get results is also part of the process," Choufour told whitecapsfc.com.
Some of the younger players to look out for include striker Ian Clark, and defender/midfielders Ashley Ankiewicz, Harry Lakhan, and Jordan Whitehead. The team's youngest player - 15-year-old midfielder/striker Curtis Helm - is also tipped to have a strong season.
The team is also boosted by the addition of several experienced players, including last year’s leading goalscorer Gavin Barrett and his brother in SFU forward Lucas Barrett. Another sibling joining the team will be former Trinity Western University man Shawn Parkes, who is the brother of Prospects midfielder Cameron Parkes. The team also includes former UBC Thunderbirds player Paul Bahia and current Whitecaps U-12 Prospects assistant coach Ruben Casablanca.
As well as PCSL action, the Prospects Men will also participate in the prestigious Surf Cup tournament in San Diego, California, from August 1 to 3. Choufour will be looking for another strong performance from his team, with the U-18 Boys losing last year’s final 2-1 in overtime to FC Barcelona of Los Angeles. From August 15 to 29, the Prospects Men will represent the province of British Columbia at the 2009 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island.
Click here to view the Prospects Men schedule
Click here to view the 2009 PCSL schedule
Click here to view the 2009 PCSL standings