On a Sunny Friday, Connor Glennon is out doing yard work at his family’s home in Vernon. The Glennons are preparing to sell their house as Connor, his mom Lucy, and his younger brother Liam move to Coquitlam in the summer. His dad John will remain in a condo in Vernon and will commute each weekend to Coquitlam to support his son's dream. John has always been Connor's biggest supporter, pushing him towards success and making it possible for him to get to where he is today.
Connor comes to Vancouver to continue his professional soccer aspirations as he joins the Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency team.
It’s not the first time that Glennon has been selected to be a part of the ‘Caps professional soccer environment in Vancouver. As a 14-year-old, he moved away from home to join the Pre-Residency team, living with a billet family in New Westminster.
“It was pretty hard,” remembers Glennon. “I wouldn’t say that I get home sick, but it was just hard being away from family and friends.”
He now comes more prepared with his family by his side, and more focused on both school and soccer. He trains every day as he prepares.
Getting this opportunity was no coincidence. The club has been monitoring Glennon since he departed. He has continued his development with BC Soccer’s High Performance Program, and with Thompson Okanagan Football Club (TOFC) in the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL). Recently, Residency recruitment officer Frank Ciaccia evaluated him and felt that he was ready for the step up.
“It’s important to keep opportunities open and have a genuine way of tracking players so that when they’ve reached that standard, they can return and move through the pathway.”
Since the sixth grade, Glennon has been guided under the tutelage of Whitecaps FC Okanagan Academy head coach David Broadhurst.
Broadhurst is a UEFA A License coach from Derby, England who has helped raise the level of play for a number of local Okanagan players. His influence hasn’t been lost on Glennon.
“You can tell that he’s professional,” noted the Vernon resident. “He’s a great coach and he really pushes me. If I’m not playing to my ability, he lets me know.”
Meet Okanagan Academy head coach David Broadhurst
While Broadhurst keeps his young prospects on their toes, he’s also sure to keep them upbeat.
“I am always encouraging players to strive for excellence at all times, through a challenging but enjoyable environment,” says Broadhurst. “Connor is quite harsh on himself, so I have tried to help him not focus on negatives for too long and learn from them so he improves quicker.”
As part of his work in the region, Broadhurst also brings his knowledge to TOFC.
“He coaches us through a ton of tactics,” added Glennon. “We like to play a possession game, and he always pushes us to make sure we’re working harder than the other team.”
Last year, Broadhurst led the TOFC U-18 boys to the BCSPL championship final, beating out more heralded competition from the Lower Mainland – and it was Glennon who starred on the pitch, recording an assist in the final.
“He had a very strong match,” noted Ciaccia, who was on hand to assess talent for the 'Caps Residency program. “He’s a relentless worker. Coaches come to appreciate that.”
“His attacking threat has really improved,” added Broadhurst. “His ability to create and score goals makes him stand out. He is also mentally stronger as a result of his previous experiences.”
Now Glennon gets his second shot with Whitecaps FC as a more well-rounded and motivated player, determined to make the most of his return to Vancouver.
“A lot of players gave up, but I decided to keep working hard to get another opportunity,” tells Glennon. “It shows that just because you’re from a small area, that doesn’t mean you won’t be noticed. If you’re good enough you’ll get there.”
For more information on Whitecaps FC Okanagan Academy Centre programs, visit whitecapsfc.com/okanagan.