Vancouver Whitecaps FC are looking for new Burnaby-based billet families to house some of the club’s brightest young stars. Below, Whitecaps FC Residency centre back Jackson Farmer and his billet family share their experience with the club’s Billet Program.
VANCOUVER, BC – Since he joined Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Residency program back in September 2011, Jackson Farmer has emerged into one of the club’s brightest up-and-coming prospects.
His emergence off the pitch, particularly as an “older brother” and “role model,” has been just as notable.
Anna Auld, one of Farmer’s billet parents, said welcoming the 18-year-old into her family has been one of the best decisions she and her husband Mark have made for their family.
The Aulds have three children: a new-born girl, and two boys aged eight and 12.
“It’s really shown my kids how you can open your doors to people and the experience that comes back is positive and really rewarding,” Auld told whitecapsfc.com. “It’s been an incredible experience, because my sons now have an older brother and someone they look up to.”
As part of Whitecaps FC’s Billet Program, Farmer has been living with the Aulds for two years. His Residency teammate Nolan Worth also joined the billet family this past year.
The two players often take Auld’s children to school, where they get “showed off” to the other kids, and attend their soccer games.
Auld, an elementary school librarian, said Farmer even comes into the school with her on occasion to interact with the students. On Wednesday, he’ll be reading to a class and playing in a fun soccer game with the grade seven students.
“He’s like another fixture at the school now and for my kids Jackson is kind of known as their older brother,” she said. “That’s very rewarding too … to see my children happy.”
The experience has been just as positive for Farmer. Whether it’s accommodating his dietary needs, including him in their different family functions, or just being there to talk, Farmer said the Aulds are always there for him.
“They’re like my second family,” Farmer told whitecapsfc.com. “I’m really close with them. They really want you in the family and to be a part of it. We always come home to them really happy to have us there. It’s really good to come home to that.”
Things have been going well for Farmer away from home, too. He’s the captain of Whitecaps FC’s U-18 side and has had opportunities to train with the first team and play in the MLS Reserve League. The Edmonton, Alberta native even made his debut with the Canadian senior men’s national team this past season.
Auld said the fact that Farmer shares these successes with their family is all the reward they need, but that doesn’t stop him from giving them more.
“I can just imagine leaving your family and coming to live with someone else and trying to understand their rules, whether it’s their family rules or living arrangement rules,” Auld said. “He’s constantly telling us that he really appreciates everything and that we make him feel welcome. He has such a great way of rewarding us.”
Are you interested in becoming a billet family? Click here for an online application form. For more information on the Whitecaps FC Billet Program, visit: //www.whitecapsfc.com/youth/eliteteams/residency/billetprogram.