VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC travelled to Honolulu, Hawaii on Thursday night for a 10-day training camp that will include their first preseason fixtures of 2019. And they were joined by eight players currently a part of the club’s Academy and development team.
“I’m focusing a lot on investing time with the Academy players,” Whitecaps FC head coach Marc Dos Santos said this week when asked about his goals for the Hawaii trip. “We can’t be a club that talks about this vertical integration and then doesn’t live it.”
The Academy/development team players that made the trip are goalkeeper Thomas Hasal, fullbacks Gabriel Escobar and Georges Mukumbilwa, midfielders Chance Carter, Kamron Habibullah, and Patrick Metcalfe, and forwards Jefferson Alade and Brandon Cambridge. If you include Homegrown MLS players Theo Bair, Simon Colyn, Sean Melvin, and David Norman Jr, that makes a total of 12 Whitecaps FC Academy products on the travelling roster.
Dos Santos said he’s targeting the team’s camp in Los Angeles, which runs from February 15 to 23, or the week prior to have most of the roster together, including recently-acquired South Korean international midfielder Hwang In-beom and Tunisian centre back Jasser Khmiri.
Khmiri, who the ‘Caps acquired on Friday, was Vancouver’s 11th addition of the offseason. And Dos Santos says there are more to come.
"There are [still players] that are going to arrive in the roster that are not here yet," he told reporters. “So in Hawaii we want to make sure these young players that we’re going to be using in training and in the season get a lot of experience on this trip."
Following a week of training, the ‘Caps will open the second annual Pacific Rim Cup on February 8 vs. Japanese J1 club V-Varen Nagasaki before taking the field again in either the championship or third-place match on February 10. This year's four-team tournament also features fellow MLS club Real Salt Lake and Tohoku Member-of-Society Soccer League side Iwaki FC.
Pacific Rim Cup Schedule
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
Friday, February 8, 2019:
Iwaki FC vs. Real Salt Lake: 7:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. local)
Whitecaps FC vs. V-Varen Hagasaki: 10:15 p.m. PT (8:15 p.m. local)
Sunday, February 10, 2019:
Third-Place Match: 4:30 p.m. PT (2:30 p.m. local)
Championship Match: 7:15 p.m. PT (5:15 p.m. local)