The Whitecaps finished in second place finish in the USSDA West Conference Northwest Division despite missing a number of key players due to U17 World Cup and other international call ups. They were 90 minutes away from their third consecutive finals week before losing 5-3 to the top rated team in USSDA, Bethesda-Olney.
Forwards - Dario Zanatta (previously with U16), William Grayson (Surrey United FC)
Midfielders - Jeevin Kang (U16), Vanna Markarian (U16), Drake Rendle (Calgary Foothills SC), Francesco Saporito (U16)
Defenders - Manraj Bains (U16), Andre Baires (U16), Joshua Cuthbert (U16), Eric DeGraaf (U16)
Forwards - Mason James
Midfielders - Mitch Piraux, Mark Baldisimo
Defenders - Chris Serban, Jackson Farmer, Nicholas Prasad
Goalkeepers - Nolan Wirth
Without a doubt the success of this season will be dependent on the midfield carrying the team. Marco Bustos returns to run the attack for the U18s, similar to the way Morales does for the senior team. He will be joined by Jordan Haynes, who could play up top or at left back, and Kianz Froese who will return to the midfield after playing up top last year.
The main reason Froese will have his time as a striker limited is the addition of Dario Zanatta as the main target man, after scoring 26 times for the U16s last season. Both Ali Musse and Hayden Simmonds-O’Grady are the favourites to be the wide attacking players.
After graduating all four regular starters, the U18s will have a relatively young backline. Both Vaggeli Boucas and Nike Azuma saw playing time last year and should start the season in the eleven but they will be pushed by the incoming players from the U16 side. Joshua Cuthbert and Andre Baires are likely to hold the other two starting spots but don’t be surprised if players like Eric DeGraaf and Manraj Baines push for playing time.
The young backline will be helped by the players who will be in goal for the U18s, with both Marco Carduccci and William Diaz returning to the team. There will be times when MLS (and USL Pro) duties will pull Carducci away from the Residency team but Diaz has shown with his performance in the PDL playoffs that he is a capable keeper.
(R to L) Marco Carducci; Joshua Cuthbert, Vaggeli Boucas, Andre Baires, Nike Azuma; Jordan Haynes, Kianz Froese, Hayden Simmonds-O’Grady, Marco Bustos, Ali Musse; Dario Zanatta
With players like Bustos, Froese, Haynes and others, the U18s will be an attacking team to be reckoned with and if the chemistry between the midfield and Zanatta is strong, expect some high scoring matches. The question will be whether they will be able to keep their opponents from scoring but having Carducci as the last line defence will help.
There will be times when they will be without their best players, especially with a USL Pro team starting in the spring causing number of players to move to that level. The U18s should be a solid bet to make the playoffs, as they have every year in their USSDA history, but how far they make it will be the question.
You can find all of the U18s fixtures for this season HERE.
The U16s had an excellent bounce back season as they went from missing the playoffs to capturing the USSDA West Conference Northwest Division title. They advanced through the playoff week to the quarterfinals but were forced to host a home match on foreign soil where they lost 2-1 to Chicago Magic PSG.
Forwards - Nicolas Apostol (Pre Residency), Dwayne Ewart (Ajax Soccer Club), Nathan Graziano (Pre Residency)
Midfielders - Gloire Amanda (FC Edmonton), Michael Baldisimo (Pre Residency), Jonas Hakkinen (Pre Residency), Munir Saleh (Kitchener Spirit)
Defenders - Chris Guerreiro (Pre Residency), Frazer Poulter (Peterborough United FC), Brendan Skinner (Pre Residency), Terrell Smith (Pre Residency)
Goalkeepers - Dory Elliott (Edmonton Internazionale)
Forwards - Dario Zanatta (to U18s), Aymar Sigue (to Tulsa University NCAA I)
Midfielders - Jeevin Kang (to U18s), Patrick Izzett (left program), Vanna Markarian (to U18s), Francesco Saporito (to U18s), Marcello Polisi (left program)
Defenders - Manraj Bains (to U18s), Andre Baires (to U16s), Joshua Cuthbert (to U16s), Eric DeGraaf (to U16s), Riley Pang (left program)
Similar to the U18s, the strength for this team lies in the midfield with David Norman Jr. and Thomas Gardner running the show. Both players are entering their third season with the U16s and are candidates to see some time with the senior Residency squad. The third spot will be contested from a group that includes Jonas Hakkinen, Gloire Amanada and Munir Saleh.
They will be providing service to a forward group that will include holdovers Terran Campbell and Daniel Sagno. Campbell has already seen time with the U18s while Sagno will key in the attack as he will see more playing time than last year. Cole Morokhovich is the early favourite to be the third player in the attack but expect a rotation of players at this level.
Three of the four spots on the backline should go to returning players Matthew Baldisimo, John Kasper and Kadin Chung. Both Baldisimo and Kasper will anchor the central defence while Chung will be an attacking force from either of the full back positions.
Goalkeeping will be another strength for this team with both Aidan Aylward and Luciano Trasolini returning for another season. With Aylward a candidate to move up to the U18s from time to time, Dory Elliot was brought in from Alberta.
(R to L) Aidan Aylward; Kadin Chung, John Kasper, Matthew Baldisimo, Frazer Poulter; Munir Saleh, David Norman Jr., Terran Campbell, Thomas Gardner, Daniel Sagno; Cole Morokhovich
This will be a well balanced team as there will be games that they win games with both their attack and defence. The key will be incorporating the new players, especially the pre-residency ones, in order to get them used to the USSDA season, from a playing, travel and logistical sense.
There is a lot of turnover for the Whitecaps U16 team with a number of players moving up the senior team. However there is still enough in this team across the pitch to compete for another division title and advance in the playoffs.
You can find all of the U18s fixtures for this season HERE.