With the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) season having come to a close, one thing players can look forward to, following some well deserved rest, is the 2013 Whitecaps FC College Showcase presented by Sport Chek taking place this coming March.
The tournament will run two separate weekends for the boys and girls divisions and will feature some of the best teams in Canada.
“We do it as Canada’s top production showcase. With our relationship with the BC Soccer Premier League, all the teams in the league are competing in the tournament,” said Dan Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC director of soccer development. “We have two tiers, we have what we call the premier tier, which is all of the BC Soccer Premier League teams and all of the out of town teams that come from the top tier in their province. So we match all of those teams together in that tier.”
According to Lenarduzzi, it won’t only be Whitecaps’ coaches keeping a close eye on the players in the tournament.
“We are inviting a lot of college coaches not only from BC but also from across Canada and the States to have a look at players for scholarships. Players in the tournament have an opportunity to hopefully get invited for a scholarship, or get an invite into one of the Whitecaps programs or both.”
The tournament is used as another platform for Whitecaps FC scouts to get a closer look at their potential future players. Lenarduzzi explains this is something the BCSPL has made a lot easier for the 'Caps organization to do.
“It’s a built in scouting mechanism for Whitecaps FC because we can go to BCSPL games and basically watch the best players from different regions in BC,” he said. “That gives us an opportunity, with our working relationship with the league, to potentially invite players who are doing very well either into trials or signing for Whitecaps FC.”
League president David Haber said it’s the league’s quality of play that makes this possible.
“It creates a cleaner line of sight for universities or professional clubs,” he said.
While Whitecaps FC and university scouts will have their eyes open come March, a handful of Premier League players will be looking to keep the ball rolling after terrific finishes to the season.
One player scouts will need to watch out for is U-15 Surrey United SC goalkeeper Aman Thind.
Following a nail-biting regulation and extra time that ended 1-1 in the U-15 championship game, Thind made two game-saving stops to begin the penalty kicks, helping springboard his team to a perfect 8-0 Fall campaign.
Another player scouts will need to keep a close eye on is U-13 Mountain FC’s Aaron Fulgencio.
With his team down 0-1 to Surrey United and minutes ticking away in the season, Fulgencio scored two identical highlight reel goals to win the provincial championship for his team.
Other players to watch out for at the showcase will be U-15 Surrey United captain Kerman Pannu and leading scorer Will Grayson, both of whom are provincial team players, and U-14 Fusion FC player Patrick Metcalfe, who played in the U-15 final after being upgraded by U-15 Fusion head coach Brent Branker.
“He’s an excellent player; tiny little guy who you can put anywhere on the field,” said Branker.