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Bob Frid

A busy 2010 for Whitecaps FC soccer development

In the second edition of a five-part series looking back at Whitecaps FC's year in 2010, we chronicle another busy 12 months for the club's youth teams and soccer development programs.

In their ongoing mission to promote soccer in British Columbia and Canada, Whitecaps FC continued to nurture the club's future stars and engage many youngsters to "The Beautiful Game" through their various community programs this past year.

The club's U-11, U-12, and U-13 Prospects teams competed in two tournaments in Washington State and Southern California, as well as against local competition between March and July. This included the Nike Crossfire Challenge tournament in Redmond, Washington. The U-12 Girls Prospects won their tournament, while the U-13 Boys Prospects were unlucky to lose their final. The U-13 Girls Prospects bowed out in the semifinals. The U-12 Boys and Girls Prospects also took part in the prestigious Surf Cup tournament in San Diego, California. The U-12 Boys lost in the semifinals, while the U-12 Girls fell at the quarterfinal stages.

The U-12 Boys Prospects were also represented at this year's Danone Nations Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa. Four players in Liam Fraser, Devon Jones, David Norman, and Luciano Trasolini were selected from among 7,500 young soccer players from across the country to represent Canada at the tournament.

In the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Super Y-League, Whitecaps FC and BC Soccer saw their 'Professional Development Partner' clubs have another successful season. BC sent 12 teams to the 2010 Super Y-League Finals late last month, with the U-15 Boys from Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club (CMFSC) winning a North American championship title in Tampa, Florida.

While the club's elite players competed and succeeded on the pitch, Whitecaps FC reached over 20,000 BC youngsters through a combination of community development programs and camps.

This included men's and women's team players visiting over 20 schools for indoor soccer demonstrations as part of the Whitecaps FC free school program. As well, eight Lower Mainland centres and the BC communities of Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince George, and Victoria played host to this year’s Wendy’s Community Clinics, where players aged six to 10 got the chance to learn more about the game from 'Caps players and coaches. The Blue and White also partnered the Vancouver Police Department on its 21st annual free soccer camp for inner city youth in Vancouver. During the club's 2010 home matches, the "Kickin with the 'Caps" program also allowed young players to take part in pre-match clinics and serve as ball retrievers during men's and women's team games.

On the development side, Whitecaps FC offered a variety of community and specialized camps that targeted individual team training and position-specific training for boys and girls of all ages. 2010 was also the inaugural year for the Whitecaps West Coast College Showcase, as some of the top girls clubs from BC and Alberta took part in more than 62 matches over the March weekend.

With Whitecaps FC joining Major League Soccer in the New Year, the club looks forward to building on their soccer development programs under the MLS brand in 2011.