A Yukoner is kicking his soccer career into high gear.
In the midst of his first season Outside with the St. Albert Impact U15 boys team in the Alberta Youth Soccer League, Felix Masson has also made the Whitecaps FC BMO Edmonton Academy.
Whitecaps academies operate across the country, identifying talent, providing training and serving as a gateway to professional soccer, scholarships, national teams and more.
Along with Masson, who will begin training with the academy in January, Yukoner Joe Hanson has also been part of the Vancouver academy and continues to play on the U23 team while Whitehorse soccer player Lucy Baxter has training through the academy’s virtual program.
A partnership between the Whitecaps and Alberta Soccer has seen the elite-level training now offered in Edmonton and Calgary.
In Edmonton, from initial tryouts a list of 30 prospective players is developed that is further reduced to 18 to 20 for the final selection for the academy.
The academy has an October to December or January to April session, Nather Jarrar, head coach with the Edmonton academy, said in a Dec. 14 interview.
Masson will be part of the January to April group.
In Masson’s case, it was the academy that approached him.
“It’s pretty cool,” Masson said in a Dec. 14 interview, explaining he had been working towards making the academy.
“They’ve got really good training,” he said.
Jarrar said players train every day from Monday to Friday both on and off the field, play academy games, while also playing for their home teams on weekends.
Jarrar said from watching Masson play, he was impressed by Masson’s skills and creativity in moving between positions as well as the significant effort he brings to the field.
“He made a statement (in his playing),” Jarrar said. “He’s a very intelligent player.”
Speaking to Masson after the game, and later with the family Masson billeted with in Alberta and Masson’s family in Whitehorse, Jarrar said Masson’s work ethic, ambition and commitment to the sport is clear.
Jarrar pointed to Masson’s willingness to move away from home to pursue the game as one attribute that has stood out among many.
Masson said playing in Alberta for the Impact has given him an opportunity for more competition, allowing him to pursue his goal of going as far as he can in soccer.
As he gets set to join the Whitecaps academy while also continuing the season with the St. Albert Impact, Masson said he hopes to continue improving his skills as a soccer player.
“It’s a very good opportunity,” he said.
And as for his long term goals, Masson said: “I just want to take my sport to the highest level that I can.”
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org