Nelson soccer player Parker Shaw-Lazier has been offered a trial with the Vancouver Whitecaps Pre-Residency Squad.
The 15-year-old midfielder/defender is a member of the Nelson Youth Soccer Association (NYSA) and the Kootenay Academy. He will go to the trial on the weekend of March 7-9. The stint includes two training sessions as well as a game on Sunday.
“I was pretty amazed,” said Shaw-Lazier about hearing the news from his coach.
“It’s pretty crazy. It’s a good opportunity to go down there… I thought ‘Wow!’ how lucky that I’m getting the opportunity.”
While he admits to being a little nervous about the trial, he said the butterflies in his stomach are mostly due to excitement.
“I’m just going to go there and do what I do.”
Shaw-Lazier first heard that there might be a chance to train with the Whitecaps squad back in October. While he was excited at the time, he didn’t hear anything else about it.
His mother, Liz Lazier, said months went by without a word.
“I wasn’t going to bring it up,” she said adding she thought the opportunity may have slipped away.
But then, two weeks ago, Parker ran into his coach, Brett Adams, at the gym. The coach told him the trial had been confirmed.
His mom was the first person he told.
“Parker came in and told me with the biggest, beaming smile on his face and I instantly started to cry,” she recalled.
His coach was also proud of Parker’s accomplishment, saying he earned the opportunity.
Adams, who is the regional head coach for Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Kootenay Academy, described Parker as “athletic and technically comfortable on the ball. He is quick and reads the game well. Parker is very good at organizing the team and communicates well.”
The offer to train with the Whitecaps is both a compliment to the player’s ability as well as to the association itself.
“We as a club are delighted to be able to offer our first Nelson player a trial with the Vancouver Whitecaps,” said Adams, adding that since joining the Whitecaps Kootenay Regional Academy Parker has improved his strengths and the technical elements of his game to become a more complete player.
He said coaches at NYSA all speak very highly of Parker’s attitude and are pleased to see him get an opportunity.
Adams said since he arrived in the area he has been impressed with the emerging talent and hopes this is the start of many more to get the chance for Nelson based players to shine in Vancouver.
As for Parker, he’s just getting ready to go to Vancouver and show what he can do.
“Right now I’m thinking of it as a personal thing. Play to the best of my ability and hopefully it leads to something. But, I don’t want to get my hopes up too crazy.”
Ultimately he wants this opportunity to move his soccer career forward, but the teenager knows he can’t look that far ahead.
“I want to see where I am as an individual, playing with the team. Seeing what I need to achieve, what I need to practice on and what I need to do to become competitive at that level of play.”
He prefers playing the defender position for a variety of reasons.
“I like playing in the back because I like to control everything. I can see everything and tell everybody where to be.
“I’ve been playing soccer for as long as I can remember… That’s what I’ve always played and that’s what I love. It’s a passion.”