BC Soccer, EA SPORTS, Whitecaps FC

Whitecaps FC sign four players to Residency program

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the additions of midfielder/striker Matthew Chow, striker Parker Ellis, midfielder/defender Jeevin Kang, and midfielder Liam Elbourne to the club’s Residency program. Chow, Ellis, and Kang become the first players signed to the Whitecaps FC Residency program from the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL), while Elbourne is the first Residency player from the Maritimes.

“The EA SPORTS BCSPL is a very important part of our development structure,” said Richard Grootscholten, Whitecaps FC Residency technical director and head coach. “Our partnership with BC Soccer and the BCSPL clubs provides a direct path for players from British Columbia to progress in their development and the additions of Mathew, Parker, and Jeevin are great examples of this.”

“It’s also very pleasing to have Liam join the program,” added Grootscholten. “We first look to develop players from BC, but if there is a Canadian player that will complement our program from outside our province we will not hesitate to bring them in as well.”

Chow, 15, joins the Residency U-16 team after playing the inaugural mini-season of the EA SPORTS BCSPL with the U-16 team of Fusion FC – a collaboration between Vancouver Youth Soccer Association and Richmond Youth Soccer Association (RYSA). Prior to last year, the Vancouver, BC, native played his youth soccer career with Richmond United Metro, RYSA, Delta Selects Metro, TSS Academy and Kerrisdale Soccer Club, as well as with Mountain FC in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Super Y-League. Chow has been a member of the BC Soccer Provincial Teams program at the U-14 and U-15 levels, winning a national championship with the U-14 team in 2010, as well as taking part in the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) National Training Centre (NTC) program. The young attacking player is familiar with Whitecaps FC, having played in the Whitecaps FC Prospects program from the U-11 to U-13 levels.

Ellis, 15, joins the Residency U-16 squad after playing in the BCSPL with the U-16 team of Mountain United FC – a collaboration between Burnaby District Youth Soccer Association, North Shore Youth Soccer Association, and North District Girls Soccer Association. Prior to that, Ellis played with Mountain FC in the USL Super Y-League, as well as with Burnaby Selects Soccer Club and South Burnaby Metro Club. The Burnaby, BC, native has also played in the BC Soccer Provincial Teams program at the U-13 and U-15 levels, as well as with the CSA NTC program. Ellis is also familiar with the ’Caps youth set-up. Last year, the striker participated in the Whitecaps FC Residency Combine, and in 2008 he toured the Netherlands with the Whitecaps FC U-13 Prospects.

Kang, 15, joins the Residency U-14 roster after most recently playing for the Surrey United U-15 squad in the BCSPL. Prior to his time in the BCSPL, the native of Surrey, BC, played for Surrey Guildford United Metro, where he won a provincial championship in 2010. Kang was also a member of the BC Soccer Provincial Teams Program at the U-13 and U-14 levels, as well as the CSA NTC program.

“After only a short mini-season, already we’re seeing the benefits of the EA SPORTS BCSPL,” said Paul Mullen, BC Soccer director of operations and partnership manager for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and BC Soccer relationship. “This is great news for the future of the league and a fantastic moment for BC Soccer, Whitecaps FC, and of course for the players, because in the end it’s all about the players.”

“Our goal is to have a positive impact on the development of youth soccer in British Columbia through the EA SPORTS BCSPL partnership,” added Matt Bilbey, vice president and general manager of soccer, EA SPORTS. “As we get set to launch the first full season of the EA SPORTS BCSPL in February, the future of soccer in the province is definitely bright.”

Elbourne, 16, will join Chow and Ellis on the Residency U-16 squad after playing his youth soccer career with Halifax City Soccer Club. The Halifax, Nova Scotia, native has been a part of the Soccer Nova Scotia Provincial Teams program from U-13 to U-16, while additionally playing with Team Atlantic and with the CSA NTC-Atlantic program. Elbourne has also travelled overseas to train with the academies of such renowned English clubs as Leeds United, Middleborough FC, and Newcastle United.

“Liam has worked tremendously hard for this opportunity with Whitecaps FC,” said Daniel Worthington, high performance director for Soccer Nova Scotia. “This is a credit to our programs in Atlantic Canada and I think that this will act as a catalyst for other players to strive towards their future goals in the game. We are delighted for Liam and his family and wish him the best of luck for his future.”

About Vancouver Whitecaps FC

In 1974, Vancouver Whitecaps FC played their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League, and in 1979, the club won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship. From 1987 to 1992, as a member of the Canadian Soccer League, Vancouver won four straight CSL titles. In 2002, Whitecaps FC created a full club model that encompasses professional teams for men and women, extensive youth development and grassroots participation programs, facility development, and the Whitecaps Foundation to support specific initiatives related to health and wellness through soccer. Since 2004, Whitecaps FC have won two United Soccer Leagues First Division championships and two USL W-League championships. This year, Whitecaps FC begin their second season in Major League Soccer at BC Place and will host the club’s home opener on March 10 versus Canadian rivals Montreal Impact. For additional information on Vancouver Whitecaps FC, visit whitecapsfc.com.

EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League

The EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League was designed to create a new high performance level of competition and support player development at the provincial, professional and national team level.  It will simplify scouting of top young players, provide an elevated level of competition and increase the chance for players fulfilling their potential and creates a dynamic new commercial property at the pinnacle of youth soccer in BC.

 Eight founding franchises were announced on February 17, 2011.

  • Coquitlam Metro Ford
  • Fusion FC (Vancouver/Richmond)
  • Magnuson Ford Mariners FC (Abbotsford)
  • Mountain United FC (Burnaby/North Shore)
  • South Fraser Soccer Club
  • Surrey United FC
  • Thompson Okanagan FC
  • Vancouver Island Wave

Each of the inaugural founding franchises has a nominated representative as their member on the League Board of Governors.

The first full season of competition will begin in late February 2012 and continue through November. It will feature male and female divisions at the U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16, and U-17/U-18 levels, equating to approximately 1,600 players.

For information about EA Sports BC Soccer Premier League please contact:

Paul Mullen
BC Soccer
Director of Operations

604-299-6401 x 2355
604-317-9451 (cell)