Vancouver Whitecaps player visits Nelson soccer camp

Midfielder Marco Bustos was on hand to give advice to young players

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Marco Bustos chats with young players Wednesday at Lakeside Park.

Luca Gluckman had to think carefully about what he wanted to ask Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Marco Bustos.

“What are you allergic to?” the five-year-old asked Bustos on Wednesday at Lakeside Park. Other queries included his favourite colour (blue) and his favourite player (Barcelona’s Lionel Messi).

Bustos was in town to chat with young players during the Whitecaps Kootenays’ event, which ran Monday to Friday and included over 100 players taking part in skills camps and games. Bustos said he never had the opportunity growing up to meet Major League Soccer players.

“There weren’t professional environments around so we weren’t fortunate to have someone come in for us,” said the 20-year-old. “But I think moving to Vancouver and being around a bunch of professionals, I’m very blessed for that. Hopefully I can inspire some of these kids here.”

Bustos joined the Whitecaps residency program in September 2011. He was named the club’s most promising player in 2013 and made his MLS debut last October, the same week he also earned his first international cap with Canada’s senior men’s team.

His biggest career moment thus far was the winning goal in Canada’s under-20 friendly match against England in March — not bad for someone playing professionally despite having developed in a small soccer market like Winnipeg.

Bustos’s message Wednesday was that anyone could go pro, no matter where they are from.

“I think really what it is is love for the game and every time you play just be happy,” said Bustos. “At this age what you want is as many touches on the ball [and] be happy when you are playing. At this age you can’t really teach in a way. I think it’s off instinct. … I think for these kids what they really need to do is listen to their coaches and keep grinding it out and hopefully they keep that love for the game and get out to Vancouver and promote themselves there.”

The Whitecaps have sent a player to Nelson every year now since the event began. Former captain Jay DeMerit and centre back Tim Parker have also made the trip, which regional head coach Brett Adams said is a big influence on young Kootenay players.

“It’s massive. They wear that badge on their shirt and they might not know too much about it, but when a real-life player comes to town they can share real-life experiences,” said Adams. “I guarantee from this, these kids at some stage will see [Bustos] up on the TV and they get to say they met him. They get to say they asked him a question about how he got there. That’s a cool thing for a small town of 900 soccer players.

“If they’re one of those players who get to reference his career or reference him on the TV, that could mean a six year old when they go home they tell their parents, ‘I want to become a professional soccer player.’ That could happen today. That’s the beauty of having the pros come out. It makes a massive difference to what we do.”

Bustos was game Wednesday. He visited with several groups of players, offering insight into what playing soccer for a living takes. Getting the opportunity to come to Nelson, he said, was one of the fun parts about his job.

“Yeah, there’s up and downs on the field and off the field, but this is one of the perks of being a pro soccer player off the field, for sure,” he said.

And for the record, Bustos has no allergies.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: L.V. Rogers sends off its grad class

Check out our pictures of the festivities

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

COLUMN: 1919 – Police chief reminds drivers of streetcar etiquette

Greg Scott takes us back to a century ago in the files of the Nelson Daily News

Nelson archers host meet

The Nelson Rod and Gun Club hosted 78 archers

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Most Read