Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency goalkeeper Marco Carducci was recently named the Canadian Soccer Association U-17 Player of the Year.
This marks the fifth straight year a Whitecaps FC player has captured the honour.
Whitecaps FC head of player development and U-15 & U-16 head coach Craig Dalrymble credits the program’s great development system.
“I think our program speaks for itself,” said Dalrymble.
“We find the players. The players we recruit try and hunt us down as well. We’ve done the right thing the last four or five years and given the players the best chance to reach their full potential and realize their dreams.”
This season, Carducci backed the U-16 Whitecaps FC Residency squad to the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) Northwest Division championship in the teams’ inaugural season.
“2012 was a really good year for me,” said Carducci. “It was definitely a huge year for me in terms of development. I had opportunities to train with the [Whitecaps FC] first team, which was massive for me as well because obviously it’s my goal as a player to push onto a first team.”
Getting a taste of what it’s like to play with the big team only motivated the player of the year even more.
“In the next two or three years if I can push for a spot on the Whitecaps first team, that would be awesome.”
A big part of Carducci’s award winning year came with the Canadian U-17 national team.
“It’s a huge opportunity to represent your country. Every time I got that chance I made the most of it. They were great learning experiences,” he said.
Carducci played in eight international matches with the U-17 Canadian team, highlighted by shutout victories over Costa Rica and Panama (a game which he was also player of the match). Carducci also captained the Canadian squad for many of these games.
“To be able to play with the national team and to be able to captain the team a few times was huge for me. All the training, all the travelling, it was a great learning experience for me as a player. Now I want to use this award as another stepping stone, another thing for me to look at and motivate me to be a better player and work even harder.”
While Carducci does have lofty goals, his coach feels he has all the tools reach them.
“It’s still early in his career, he’s very ambitious, he wants to become a professional and he is obviously going in the right direction,” said Dalrymble. “His daily work ethic, attitude and approach to his development is second to none. Obviously it’s a great honor [the award] and a great recognition for Marco and what he has done.”
Though Dalrymble is happy with his player’s accomplishment, he is not in any way surprised by it.
“He’s been on the national program for a year, he’s one of their top prospects. I’m not surprised he got this recognition. I hope it’s the first of many accolades for him.”
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