Whitecaps midfielder Ben McKendry visited youthful soccer enthusiasts at Lakeside on Wednesday.

Whitecaps midfielder Ben McKendry visited youthful soccer enthusiasts at Lakeside on Wednesday.

Whitecaps player: ‘Their dreams are attainable’

BC soccer star Ben McKendry grew up in Vancouver, now plays professionally for the Whitecap

Vancouver Whitecaps’ midfielder Ben McKendry spent some time with fledgling local soccer players Wednesday morning, and as he regaled them with stories about his career and inspired them with personal anecdotes, he recognized something.

“Most of these players have the same look in their eyes that I had,” said the 22-year-old, who signed with the Whitecaps in January.

“For them to see a player from BC, from Vancouver, and having them know that there are people like me who have been through the same process, have grown up in the same province — it shows them their dreams are attainable,” he said.

“You don’t have to be from Italy or Brazil or Spain to be a professional soccer player. You can do it right here.”

McKendry said it wasn’t his superior skill that got him here; it was hard work.

“Growing up I was never the best, the fastest. I never scored the most goals. But I had a passion for the game and I just kept on enjoying it and getting better.”

He encouraged players in attendance to do the same.

“I think it comes down to passion.”