Coaching staff from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC were in Whitehorse Sept. 21 to 23 for a three-day camp to launch an official Whitecaps Academy Centre Program in the territory.
Partnering with Whitehorse-based Total Soccer Excellence Academy (TSE), the new venture should include two to three camps each year and, among other things, provide exposure for local players to be identified for high-performance opportunities within the Whitecaps organization.
A press release from the Whitecaps said the camp was an expansion of previous programming and that the main goal was to “develop a stronger connection to the soccer community” in Whitehorse.
Jake Hanson, director of TSE, said registration for the camp was full and that 60 players ranging from under nine up to under 16 took part.
“I think it went really well,” said Hanson. “We’ve had Whitecaps coaches come the past two summers and they’ve always been excellent experiences. The coaching has been fantastic and the coaches themselves have been great to deal with … This was no different.”
Based on last summer’s camp, 10 players attended a regional tournament in Seattle.
“They’re building on that relationship,” said Hanson. “We have a 10-year-old right now that is going down to Vancouver once a month as a part of the Vancouver Whitecaps program. So the other part of this is the opportunity for high-performance players to get connected to some opportunities with them.”
The Whitecaps first approached Hanson about the event earlier this summer.
“I got a call from them about two months ago, just inquiring how the academy was going and if there was a way that they could get involved to help what we were doing,” said Hanson. “We had some discussions over the course of a few weeks about how they could get involved as a partner and it went very well.”
Making the trip for the Whitecaps was Brett Adams, associate head coach of the academy centre network, and Martin Herdman, head coach of the lower mainland academy centre programs.
“(Adams) was able to come up and have a look first hand and just see how we can improve and grow this partnership,” said Hanson. “That was really nice.”
Hanson said what he has heard since the camp has been positive.
“I’ve received some emails and had some little conversations (with) players and parents,” said Hanson. “Talking to the Whitecaps coaches themselves, it sounded like the weekend went very well and everyone was happy with the opportunity.”
Hanson said the future looks promising.
“The exciting part about this weekend is it’s the beginning of something we can build on,” said Hanson.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org