The weekend of October 20 and 21, Whitecaps FC Kootenay Academy — which includes two players from Invermere — travelled to Vancouver for training, games, and the big Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers MLS match at BC Place. Invermere is represented at the Kootenay academy by Emmett McDonald, 10, and Graycen Oliver, 11. The academy also includes players from Castlegar, Cranbrook, Fernie, Greenwood, Kaslo, Midway, Nakusp, Nelson, Rossland, Slocan and Trail.
Over 100 players and staff took in a training session with Whitecaps FC Vancouver technical staff at the ‘Caps training facility on Saturday, October 20 and then on Sunday, October 21 they played games against Whitecaps FC Vancouver Academy and other selected local opposition. Finally, on Sunday it was off to the ‘Caps MLS match at home to Portland, where Academy members were special guests pitch-side on BC Place field with Whitecaps FC players Greg Klazura and Michael Nanchoff to watch the warm-up and meet some special guests.
“This is part of our inaugural year for the Kootenay Academy, and what a way to kick off this program with a great MLS weekend in Vancouver,” said Whitecaps FC director of soccer development Dan Lenarduzzi. “This was a great opportunity to bring our regional Academy Centre programs into Vancouver to get a taste of training and games in Vancouver with our staff and of course, to be our guests at BC Place to see a big MLS game.”
Seven boys and girls Prospects training groups from U-11 to U-17 were selected this fall to take part in the Whitecaps FC Kootenay Academy program, which runs for seven months from September through April and includes eight training weekends in Nelson and four travel events. All sessions are developed by Whitecaps FC professional coaching staff and delivered in partnership with Soccer Quest. This includes monthly coaching visits from Whitecaps FC staff, including regional head coach David Broadhurst.
“There’s a real buzz in the Kootenays about this program,” said David Spendlove, director of Whitecaps FC local partner Soccer Quest. “This Academy — and weekends like this — really grow the game and help bring young players from all areas of the Kootenays into the Whitecaps FC soccer network to connect them to opportunities they otherwise would not get to be part of.”
The Kootenay Academy is part of the network of Whitecaps FC Academy Centres, including locations in the Okanagan and Vancouver. Additional centres will be added over the next year. For more information, please visit www.whitecapsfc.com/youth/programs/academycentres.