U-16 Academy Playoff graphic 2017

PREVIEW: Whitecaps FC U-16s looking to make club history on Thursday

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Fans are invited to come out to UBC’s Ken Woods Field this coming Thursday, July 6 at 6 p.m. PT to watch Whitecaps FC boys Residency take on Seattle Sounders FC in the Development Academy U-16 quarterfinals.


The match is FREE to the public in what is expected to be a beautiful sunny day, with 250 grandstand seats available, plus standing room. A UBC concession will be open near the field, serving a variety of hot and cold food and beverage options.

Pay parking is available at the Thunderbird Parkade, as well as on East Mall and Wesbrook Mall streets.


The winner of Thursday’s match advances to the final four of the 73-team Development Academy, the top youth league in the United States and Canada.

The semifinals will be played on Thursday, July 14, and the championship final on Saturday, July 16, with all matches taking place at the StubHub Center soccer complex in Carson, California.


In the recent Academy Playoffs in Westfield, Indiana, the U-16s came through a very tough all-MLS Group C that featured LA Galaxy, Philadelphia Union, and Houston Dynamo. After a win over Houston and a loss against Philadelphia, the ‘Caps won the group with a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy to advance to the quarterfinals.


Four players from this U-16 group were on Canada’s U-17 national team at this year’s CONCACAF championship tournament:

Hojabrpour scored for Canada in their second match of the tournament.

Goalkeeper Evan Ince (North Vancouver, BC), left back Gabriel Escobar (Vancouver, BC), and striker Jefferson Alade (Sherwood Park, Alberta) were also previously called to the U-17 national team.

Hernandez led the ‘Caps with 18 goals during the regular season, adding another four goals in the three Academy Playoff matches. Alade also scored in all three playoff matches.


As Northwest Division rivals, Whitecaps FC and Sounders FC played three times at the U-16 level during the 2016-17 Development Academy season. Seattle won the first match 3-0 at SFU on October 29, but the ‘Caps responded with a pair of 2-0 road victories at Starfire Sports Complex, first on March 11, then in the regular season finale on May 31 to clinch the Northwest Division title.




October 29, 2016

SFU Terry Fox Field (Burnaby, BC)

3-0 L

March 11, 2017

Starfire Sports Complex

2-0 W

May 31, 2017

Starfire Sports Complex

2-0 W


This is the third time in four years that the U-16s have made it as far as the quarterfinals. A win on Thursday would mark the first time that the U-16 ‘Caps have advanced to the semifinals.

The U-18s, meanwhile, have twice made it as far as the Development Academy Championship match, in both 2012 and 2016.

A Canadian club has never won a Development Academy title.