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

Playmor Junction daycare expansion faces opposition

Neighbours upset with rezoning application, citing traffic, noise and concerns about future uses

Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ youth advocate tells Nelson audience

Katherine McParland grew up in foster care and lived on the streets

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

VIDEO: Candidates at Nelson election forum

Mayoral candidates joined 18 council candidates for an evening of very short answers

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

5 to start your day

Man killed in shooting at Abbotsford bank, ex-Surrey cop to appear in court after Creep Catchers sting and more

Trump: ‘Severe’ consequences if Saudis murdered Khashoggi

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Feds dead set against ‘ridiculous’ quotas to replace steel, aluminum tariffs

Donald Trump imposed the so-called Section 232 tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum — back in June on national security grounds.

Campus brawl leads to charge against B.C. football player

Takudzwa Timothy Brandon Gandire, a 21-year-old defensive back from Vancouver, is charged with assault causing bodily harm.

Stadium vendor seen in pizza spitting video pleads guilty

The 21-year-old’s sentencing is Nov. 15. His lawyer has said he understood what he did was wrong and was remorseful.

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

Jeromie and Jennifer Clark were found guilty of criminal negligence causing death

Fed report to show $19-billion deficit in 2017-18

The deficit is slightly smaller than Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s prediction of $19.4 billion in last winter’s budget

Most Read