A young Whitecaps FC Development Squad continue their competitive schedule this month with a trip to England to face a pair of Premier League 2 sides and a battle-tested first team fighting for promotion.
DEFENDERS: Gabriel Escobar+, T-Boy Fayia+, Connor Guilherme, Brendan McDonough*, Georges Mukumbilwa, Jalen Watson+
MIDFIELDERS: Emiliano Brienza, Chance Carter, Simon Colyn*, Patrick Metcalfe, David Norman Jr.*, Damiano Pecile
* MLS roster
+ Academy call-up
"It's a great experience for the players," noted Nick Dasovic, head coach of the Development Squad. "They get to understand the pace of the game, the athleticism. But also the intelligence part, how quickly they have to think. For me, it's a great process."
First up will be a match against the U-23 team of English Premier League club AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday, March 26. Bournemouth – who officially title their side as U-21 – compete in the Premier League operated U-23 competition known as the Premier League Cup. The group also competes in the local Hampshire Senior Cup, in which they were recently eliminated by Wessex Premier leaders Sholing FC, as well as the Central League Cup, which they will play Notts County Reserves in the final of on April 24.
The second match of the trip will be played on Friday, March 29 against one of the top Premier League U-23 sides in England this season, Brighton & Hove Albion FC. Brighton are currently in the thick of the title race for Premier League 2, sitting just off of top spot. They have also been competing in the Premier League International Cup against the likes of Bayern Munich and Benfica, as well as the Sussex Senior Cup, where they will face Isthmian League side Bognor Regis Town in the semifinals.
"It will be a step up for them," added Dasovic on his squad. "It's a really nice little mix of players, but again, I think their eyes are going to be wide open when they go there and see exactly how quick in the tempo of the games. I want them to feel the stress and the levels of what it's like. It's just going to make them better down the road."
On Saturday, March 30 the group will attend the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Southampton FC at the AMEX Stadium.
The 'Caps will play their third match on Tuesday, April 2 against Isthmian League team Merstham FC. The local side will be keen to battle the ‘Caps in between a tight race for promotion in their league table.
Tuesday, March 26
Friday, March 29
Tuesday, April 2
vs. Merstham FC
For more information on the Development Squad, visit whitecapsfc.com/devsquad.