VANCOUVER, BC – When Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced the launch of WFC2 back in November, the club’s new United Soccer League team was heralded as a “much-needed tool” to provide a bridge between Residency and MLS – the missing link, if you will.
The team has yet to play a game, but it’s already serving its purpose.
Nineteen year-old Canadians Jackson Farmer, Jordan Haynes, and Mitch Piraux were unveiled as WFC2’s first three signings on Tuesday.
Fittingly, all three players are recent graduates of the club’s Residency program.
“This is exactly what the development model is there for,” WFC2 head coach Alan Koch told whitecapsfc.com. “You bring them into the Residency program, then they shine, do well, and get rewarded with opportunities like this. And hopefully they can keep on moving up the ladder.”
The Canadian trio joined Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency back in 2011. Farmer and Piraux made the move to Vancouver after playing youth soccer in Alberta, while Haynes spent some time with the Toronto FC Academy before joining the ‘Caps.
They’ve each been standouts with the club, and the Canadian youth national team, ever since.
“They came in as young aspiring players and the best in their local environments, progressed from our U-16 to our U-18 group and now earned the right to represent the club at the USL level,” said Craig Dalrymple, the club’s Residency technical director.
“They’ve proven that they can influence games at the Residency level. Now they’ve got to go into that environment, prove that they can adapt quickly, and influence games at the USL level, which is the next challenge. There’s still a lot of work to do, but they’ve made another step closer to realizing their dream of becoming MLS players for this club.”
It’s not as if playing with, or against, professional athletes is foreign to any of these three players. At one point or another, they’ve each been involved in the ‘Caps first-team setup over the last few years.
Farmer and Piraux, for example, both appeared in the preseason for Carl Robinson’s side and stood out in the first-team’s annual fitness tests. Haynes has also been a regular at first-team training sessions.
None of them have cracked the MLS squad just yet, however. And Haynes, currently a member of Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency, is the only one who’s been playing regular minutes in a club environment. Farmer and Piraux graduated from the Residency program last season.
Without USL, it’s unclear what the immediate future would have held for these players.
Now, they have an opportunity to continue their development with professional matches, under the Whitecaps FC umbrella no less.
And they couldn’t be happier.
“Honestly, this couldn’t have come at a better time for me,” Piraux told reporters. “Just graduating from Residency, being able to train with the first team, and now having a club and a team to play for with meaningful minutes and games, which has been a struggle the last little bit. Now that this is here, it will be unbelievable to be playing again week in, week out.”
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