Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency begin their 2017-18 Development Academy season on Saturday when they host Portland Timbers academy teams at the Whitecaps FC National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC) turf field at UBC.
As the club gets set for the action, here are a few changes to note:
The Residency program is now under the same roof as the first team, the brand new WFC NSDC, where the young 'Caps train throughout the week and play their home matches. A majority of players are attending University Hill Secondary School, conveniently located across the street from the new facility.
The Development Academy has altered their age alignment. The age group that was previously U-18 will now be U-19, while the age group that was previously U-16 will now be U-17.
U-15s, TRIPLE HEADERS
While the 'Caps have previously had a U-15 team, for the first time this season that team will compete in the Development Academy league. The U-15 ‘Caps will play a schedule against all of their Pacific Northwest and California divisional opponents.
The addition of the younger group will make for triple headers each home outing, in order of age. On Saturday, that starts with the U-15 match at 11 a.m. PT, followed by the U-17s at 1 p.m. PT, and ending with the U-19s at 3:30 p.m. PT.
The U-14 team will continue to play an exhibition schedule against older U-15 BC Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) teams, monthly matches against BC Soccer High Performance Program (HPP) teams, and an international trip in the spring.
Adam Day will once again head the U-17 squad, and will now be assisted by former Whitecaps FC and Wales national team striker Robert Earnshaw, who makes the move after coaching the U-15 team last season.
Niall Thompson returns as U-19 assistant coach, leading the team into the season with a new head coach to be confirmed.
James Merriman moves up as head coach of the U-15 team after previously serving as U-14 head coach, while Scott Howey makes the move from Surrey United SC to become head coach of the U-14 team. Both sides will be assisted by coaches Alex Elliott, Michael D’Agostino, and Craig Angus.
Raegyn Hall continues as the head goalkeeper coach for the Residency program, where he will be assisted by current Whitecaps FC 2 goalkeeper Mark Village.
The full rosters and squad numbers for all Residency sides are now online:
A number of the new players have joined from Whitecaps FC provincial and academy centre partners: