The Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the Alberta Soccer Association (ASA) have partnered on a player development initiative in Alberta.
Both groups have collaborated to enhance the ASA high performance programming. This has included the rebranding of the Regional Performance Centre program in Calgary to include a Boys Residency program in addition to a Girls Elite REX Prospects Program. The programs will operate out of Calgary and identify top players from clubs in Southern Alberta. The program will provide training to the top players from the province with the opportunity to filter into the professional club environment in Vancouver.
The Whitecaps have placed Ricky King as the head coach of the club's Alberta South Academy Centre. 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.
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.
Both the ASA and the Whitecaps have included a partnership with Calgary Minor Soccer Association (CMSA), the governing body for soccer in Calgary. CMSA provides year-round opportunities for competitive and recreational soccer for youth ages 4 to 18. In addition, CMSA provides developmental and educational opportunities for players, coaches, and referees of all ages and skill levels.
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.
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.
For more information on specific regional programs in Alberta, please see below: