With 19 games under their belt this season and a 10W-4L-5D record, Whitecaps FC 2 boast a daunting goalkeeping trio that continues to make game-changing saves and support the young 'Caps between the posts.
Together, Sean Melvin, Spencer Richey, and Marco Carducci have been the intimidating last line of defence for the ‘Caps in 18 of WFC2’s matches. Though the three vary in soccer upbringing, the three goalkeepers have evidently proven a daunting trio for the ‘Caps this year, helping the side to their current first place standing in the Western Conference.
Spending a lot of time together in the WFC training environment has helped them become an energetic, well-rounded goalkeeping force, but – as stated by the threesome - they still have a ways to go.
WhitecapsFC2.com sat down with the Goalkeepers' Union to discuss training, team-building, and their experience with WFC2:
Spencer and Marco, what have you seen change in the team, particularly within the goalkeeping, this season compared to last?
Spencer Richey: We’re both more comfortable playing at the USL level. I think a lot of it is just the team in general, the new guys and the new quality that’s come with that.
Marco Carducci: I agree. I think the year of experience helped. All the players that returned from last year, we’re using that experience. Like Spencer said, the quality and the motivation in the group, it’s just helped everyone.
Sean, what is it like to work alongside two ‘keepers who have experience in the league, with this being your first season in USL?
Sean Melvin: It’s been really good; I’m learning from these guys. The focus and intensity they bring to training and the attention to detail they have every day, it’s good for the team.
You each come from different soccer backgrounds. How has WFC2 training differed from your previous training experiences?
MC: Coming from the Residency program, it’s quite similar obviously with Raegyn Hall being the goalkeeper coach with WFC2 and he was the goalkeeper coach, still is, for Residency. I think that’s really helped because it brings a sense of familiarity. Having that rapport and the experience in that environment has helped us all take one step further in our training.
SM: I agree with that. I started here when I was 16, and have been with Raegyn since then. He’s pretty familiar with us. He knows us individually and what we can each work on.
SR: I’m obviously not as familiar with the organization as these guys. I’m 18 months in now, but I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the club in general, and specifically Raegyn is someone that I respect through and through. I really like him as a goalkeeping coach, we get on well on a personal level, and obviously that helps us out on the field. His style of training and the standard for quality as well in his sessions, it’s the next bump up from university.
This season, you three represent the goalkeeping team for WFC2. What’s the dynamic like between the group?
MC: It’s a really great balance between pushing each other, and all fighting for the same spot and improving, but the friendship just helps us push each other more.
SR: I think it goes up to David [Ousted] and Paolo [Tornaghi] as well. The fact that the five of us, as well as the two coaches Marius [Røvde] and Raegyn, get on pretty well makes training that much more fun.
On an individual level, are there any players you look up to, or would most like to play alongside?
MC: If I could play with Buffon, that would be sweet. I would be his back up any day. He’s for sure my idol, Gianluigi Buffon, so I think it would be cool to be in his presence. He’s getting old now though, so I don’t have much time left.
SR: Iker Casillas in his prime. He was so fun to watch; he was my favourite goalie growing up.
SM: I would probably have to say Edwin van der Sar. I watched Manchester United a lot as a kid, watched a lot of him play.
Maybe with those guys in mind, and looking at your future here in Vancouver, is there anything you are working to improve on through training with WFC?
SR: I’d say in general, just the maturity and the presence that comes with us three obviously being younger, and Paolo and Dave being older and having more experience. On a given day, we might be able to outplay some of the older guys, but generally speaking, your presence and consistency and experience and decision-making, that would be the thing to continue to work on. Sean, Marco and I can kick the ball just as far as the more experienced keepers, but in terms of playing matches and being comfortable in your own shoes, it’s tough for a young keeper.
MC: We’re all working on taking our step up and maybe on a personal level it’s slightly different for everybody, but we’re all looking towards the next step, whatever that is. That goes not only for us three, but for David and Paolo as well.
With another 11 matches left in the WFC2 season, the trio have a chance to get those necessary match day experiences under their belt, as well as some invaluable training time to develop their game. And, with upcoming matches against sides such as Orange County Blues FC and Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC 2, the guys will have a chance to put their skills to the test and work towards taking that next step up, whatever that step might be.
Whitecaps FC 2 are back in action on Friday, July 29, at 6 p.m. when they visit Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Catch the game live on whitecapsfc2.com.
This year, every Tier 1 ‘Caps Club MLS membership includes three open tickets to WFC2 matches. Members can select their matches and theme days online through Account Manager. Information on theme days is available at whitecapsfc.com/wfc2/themedays.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-484-7862.