On Wednesday, our U-16 Residency boys play their quarter-final game at SFU.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with this group of players as an assistant coach but unfortunately I won’t be able to attend because of my upcoming knee surgery. This is a bad break for me. But if you have a chance to attend the game, do yourself a favour and go watch these boys in action.
I’m not being biased when I say this is a team that embodies everything the ‘Caps believe in. The team thrives on pressuring the opposition and creating turnovers all over the field. They play a high-tempo game and have a number of players that are game changers, who can create chances from nothing.
Recently in the USSDA Round of 32 in Indianapolis, the boys won their first two games 6-1 and 5-0 against some of the top teams in the league; a result which ensured they'd have home field advantage as they attempt to reach the final four in Carson, California.
The last (and only) time a Whitecaps FC Residency team has made the final four was back in 2011, our first year in the league, when the U-18s fell to FC Dallas in the championship final. That team featured current first-teamers Sam Adekugbe, Marco Carducci, Caleb Clarke, and Ben McKendry.
This current U-16 team has a great chance to go all the way and win a championship for our club. Yes, this program is centered on development, but part of development is learning how to win.
There’s some pressure on this group of players because they have a great opportunity to help create that wining mentality our club is striving for. This is a very talented team that has a wonderful opportunity in front of them.
Only a double knee replacement is going to keep me away from this game – and it kills me to miss it. The boys have worked hard to get this home field advantage and this is our Cup Final, as is the final four in LA, and playing in front of a big crowd could be the difference.
Pass the word on and treat yourself to watching a very talented team with some players who could suit up for the first team in MLS one day.
You can thank me later – probably when I’m out of the hospital.
Whitecaps FC Ring of Honour inductee Carl Valentine is the club's all-time leader in appearances and fourth all-time in goals scored. Currently, Valentine serves as a club ambassador and U-16 Residency assistant coach.