King joins Whitecaps FC from fellow Major League Soccer (MLS) club New York Red Bulls, where he was most recently in charge of coaching education for the Red Bulls Academy and assistant coach for the Red Bulls U-23 team.
“We’re very pleased to have someone of Ricky’s experience join our club,” said Dan Lenarduzzi, Whitecaps FC director of soccer development. “The Alberta market and our relationships with Alberta Soccer, the Calgary Minor Soccer Association (CMSA), and the local clubs and associations are very important to us. We took the better part of a year looking for the right person to lead our centre in Alberta. In Ricky, we’ve found someone who’s not only great on the pitch, but has years of experience developing programs and relationships with local organizations. We believe he is the right person to bring our partnerships and programs in Alberta to the next level.”
The native of Oxford, England holds his UEFA B and USSF A licenses, as well a NSCAA director of coaching diploma, among a number of additional qualifications.
In addition to his most recent coaching education and U-23 coaching role, King has also acted as club liaison between the first team and youth programs. He previously also coached Red Bulls pre-academy teams from U-7 to U-13. Prior to joining the Red Bulls, King also coached at various organizations within England, lastly working at Oxford United's Centre of Excellence program.
As part of the partnership with the provincial association, King will work closely with Alberta Soccer technical director Shaun Lowther to lead Boys Residency Prospects and Girls Elite REX Prospects programs from ages U-13 to U-17. These core programs feed into the Vancouver-based Residency and Girls Elite Super REX pathways. The female Super REX program is in partnership with BC Soccer, and part of the Canada Soccer EXCEL system.
“We’re excited about Ricky’s appointment,” added Lowther. “His presence will allow our partnership with Whitecaps FC to continue to grow and flourish, and to align closely in our common goals of providing opportunities and advancing player and coaching development.”
Alberta Soccer is home to more than 90,000 members, making it the province’s largest individual sports association. This past year, five boys players were selected for the Whitecaps FC Residency program in Vancouver, and three girls for the Super REX program. They follow the path of fellow Albertans such as Edmonton’s Alphonso Davies and Calgary’s Sam Adekugbe.
As partners of the CMSA – the governing body of soccer in Calgary – King will also work closely to offer development opportunities to all clubs and associations in the region, including technical visits and services for players and coaches.
“Part of the CMSA’s mandate is to provide year-round developmental and educational opportunities for competitive and recreational soccer players in Calgary,” notes Susan Cress, CMSA executive director. “We’re looking forward to working very closely with Whitecaps FC and Ricky to benefit all our member organizations, no matter what size.”
In addition to programs in Calgary, Whitecaps FC are working to build on opportunities in Southern Alberta, including a recent development camp with the Lethbridge Soccer Association. While operating in Southern Alberta, Whitecaps FC continue a close relationship with professional club partner FC Edmonton, who currently have five players in the Residency program, one player in the Girls Elite Super REX program, and Whitecaps FC MLS midfielder Ben McKendry on loan to their NASL team.