Callum Weir reaches to make a save during a practice match. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)

Whitecaps soccer camp in Whitehorse doubles in size

Over 80 players attend youth prospect camp

The Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team has its eye on Yukon soccer players.

A number of Yukon players impressed visiting coaches during a Vancouver Whitecaps Youth Prospect Camp last week in Whitehorse.

Where there’s passion, there’s promise, said Whitecaps mainland head coach Craig Angus.

“There’s a lot of passion for the game here. And with passion comes players who want to play, practice year round,” said Angus.

“There are players with potential here. How good that potential can turn into is an unanswered question right now, so they need to be exposed to different environments a lot more from their environment in Whitehorse, whether that be in Vancouver with programming we have down there or the additional tutor program we have linked to our academy centre model.

“In the high potential player program players are identified across B.C. and are then invited to represent Whitecaps in one-off events where they can test their abilities with likeminded players against top competition.”

More than 80 Yukon players, from ages five to 18, attended the five-day camp held Aug. 21-25 at Porter Creek Secondary School. That’s twice as many players from last year’s camp.

The idea of the camp is to identify players suitable for the Major League Soccer team’s youth program. The Whitecaps organization has youth teams from ages under-18 down to a “pre-prospects” academy for 13 and under.

“We’re going to explore opportunities to be closer together for the benefit of the children … make them an integral part of our player pathways,” said Angus. “Whether that’s into the professional game or whether that a player from this territory going to college, knowing exactly how they’re going to get there. So we’re going to seriously explore opportunities to add structure that we’ve had over the last two years.”

“We have a showcase program that competes twice (or) three times year,” he added. “The players who showed well at this camp will be invited to play for the Whitecaps at a college showcase tournament in January.”

The fact the camp was held a second straight year shows that the Whitecaps organization recognizes potential in Yukon players. It also shows that the Whitecaps and Whitehorse FC have established a longterm affiliation.

“We are working with the Whitecaps, not just to offer camps for Yukon youth, but to offer opportunities to Yukon players to be part of the Whitecaps academy program,” said Edgar Musonda, technical director of Whitehorse FC and the Yukon Soccer Association. “It’s exciting for us because we have talented players, but we haven’t had opportunities for them to further their soccer careers through professional clubs. For us this is a good avenue to getting players to become professional players playing for Whitecaps or any other professional clubs around the world.

“This is also good for the parents because they know they’ll be investing in their child’s future in soccer, knowing there’s a stop more than just playing for the Yukon territorial teams.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com