Ryan Lewis, 17, attended a week long trial with the Vancouver Whitecaps residency football club in late June. He had a fantastic week and received some very good feedback.
He said at first “it was a big shock,” but as the week progressed he started to pick it up and became more confident. He is also passing and moving the ball faster now.
“It was an eye opener to see how good soccer is at the higher level,” he said. “The players’ talent was so much better; their decision making and knowledge of what to do with the ball before you have it.”
Lewis has been playing soccer since he was four years old. His dad Scott said the experience for his son was “awesome to have an actual professional try out with the top 10 players in U-18 in Canada.”
Craig Dalrymple, technical director for residency Vancouver Whitecaps FC, said it’s always tough for players from smaller towns to complete as trialists compared to players from the bigger cities.
“The best of the best need constant playing against the best to develop the high technicals skills we are looking for in their residency players.”
Although Ryan did not make the cut, Dalrymple said, “By the end of the week, to the untrained eye, you could not tell he was a try out.”
“Physically Ryan is more than capable but technically he’s not at the level when it comes to speed of play, game awareness and tactical understanding.” He explained that only by playing with challenging teams constantly typically develops the speed of thought needed on the field and less touches on the ball to make the plays.
He said Lewis’ character was top notch and was very composed. “He was nervous at first but that faded away. He was very coachable and by the end of the week he had learned a lot. He was a pleasing addition to our week.”
Brett Adams, Kootenay Regional head coach of the Whitecaps Kootenay Academy Centre, had identified Lewis as a candidate for the trial because of his “natural talent”. “The feedback from the trial was that Lewis was very, very close and the technical director was impressed with his natural ability,” said Adams. “To have that level of playing speaks volume to what’s going on (with soccer) in Nelson.”