Whitecaps FC Okanagan head coach David Broadhurst at Nelson’s Lakeside pitch on Tuesday night for the first of a two-night evaluation for the upcoming Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy program that is coming to the Kootenay this fall. Almost 100 soccer players from around the region have tried out for the academy.

Whitecaps program off to great start in Nelson

The new Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy program is going to be a hit in the West Kootenay.

If the swarm of young soccer enthusiasts at Lakeside pitch on Tuesday night is any indication, the new Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy program is going to be a hit in the West Kootenay.

“I’m really pleased to see so many players out,” said David Broadhurst, the Whitecaps FC Okanagan head coach. “I wasn’t expecting to see close to a 100 players, it’s fantastic. It’s great to see that there is interest here in the Kootenays for what we are trying to offer.”

The academy’s aim is to give players that are already with clubs in the East and West Kootenay supplemental training with the best coaching the province has to offer. The academy will include four age groups for both girls and boys: U11/12, U13/14, U15/16 and U17/18.

The Nelson evaluation session earlier this week included players from Nelson, Trail, Castlegar, Grand Forks and everywhere in between.

Three years ago the Whitecaps moved their first academy program outside the Lower Mainland to Vernon. Broadhurst runs the program there and has already seen plenty of success. The move into the Kootenay is the first push farther into BC’s hinterland.

“I think Dave [Spendlove] and [Nelson’s] Soccer Quest have done a great job in this community,” Broadhurst told the Star when asked about why there was such a positive turnout for the first sessions. “Their reputation is good and the small pieces of work we have done with them in previous years, the message is getting out that we are going to be here for the long run.”

The program runs for seven months starting in September and ending in April (there is a two month winter break in December and January). The training includes eight weekends at Nelson’s Soccer Quest indoor facility. Four travel events per age group will also be part of the academy.

Based on the evaluations on Tuesday and Wednesday night at Lakeside, those players accepted into the program will be notified and begin their training next month.

“As a club we are completely committed to player development, it’s crucial for us to survive,” Broadhurst said of the motivation for the Whitecaps to extend their reach. “As a club, the dream is to have homegrown talent, even on our first team… that is what the fans want and the owners would love to see it. The more work we can do in the smaller districts, working with the coaches and the players, it will benefit our program in the long run.”

Broadhurst grew up in England where football is king. He spent 12 years coaching with the Manchester United Soccer Schools at international projects in the UK, Japan and Switzerland. Though soccer in Canada still has a long way to go to catch up to worldwide leaders like England, Broadhurst said the Whitecaps are up to the challenge.

“There are a lots of great athletes here and lots of players that love the game,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time before those technical skills will catch up. The players have to put the work in and what we are trying to here gives them that ability.”

 

Just Posted

RDCK to purchase lands around Cottonwood Lake

21.6 hectares will be purchased for $450,000

COLUMN: Helping my father keep his dignity as he was dying

Nelson teacher Robyn Sheppard reflects on the life and death of her father

Nelson presents proposed 2019 budget with undecided tax increase

Further details will be available after a council meeting in April.

Nelson to get legal opinion on right-to-life street banner

Does the Nelson Right to Life banner violate the Charter of Rights?

Celebrate World Water Day in Crescent Valley

The event is organized by the Perry Ridge Watershed Association

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Baby left alone in vehicle in Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

College of the Rockies to add 96 beds for student housing in Cranbrook

$17.7 million project featuring six cottege-style buildings to be completed by 2020

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Most Read