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Seven locals make Whitecaps youth developmental teams

Langley Times

January 30, 2004


Fourteen-year-old April Oldford was one of seven Langley area youths named to various Vancouver Whitecaps developmental soccer teams. Photo: Rob Newell


By Gary Ahuja

Sports Reporter

Seven Langley area youths were given the nod to join the prestigious Vancouver Whitecaps Super Y developmental teams, the club announced yesterday.

Heading the list are April Oldford, who will don a jersey for the U15 girls' team and Fort Langley's Lane Foster, who will suit up for the U15 boys' squad.

Laura Bouvin, Jessica Boss, Devon Mason, Baylee Wilkinson (Aldergrove) and Nikki Wright, who have all been tapped to join the U14 girls' team, round out the Langley-area contingent.

Local metro soccer coach Shaun Mason, who heads up the U14 Langley Angels, is one of the Whitecaps' Super Y coaches and will lead the U14 girls.

"It is a really neat opportunity for them," he said. "It is huge. It is on par with making the provincial team."

The players were invited to attend a tryout camp for the teams and from that the numbers were whittled down to the current rosters for the different teams (for boys there are U13, U14, U15, U16 teams and for girls there are U14, U15, U16 teams).

For the U14 girls team that he will coach, Mason said that out of the 128 girls that came for the initial tryouts, the list was reduced down to 18 players through the five-day selection process. On that team, Langley has five of the 18 roster spots.

The rosters are selected by a committee of coaches who evaluate each player and provide their input in who should make the team. Each coach provides their own input on the players to avoid a coach showing favouritism to a player they are familiar with.

"It is a very, very big deal," he said about what it means to be selected for these players. "The way the Whitecaps look at it, these are the players they are looking at to be future Whitecaps."

"So to do something like this is a huge achievement."

For the players, this is an opportunity to do what they love and perhaps make a name for themselves in bigger circles, says one of the selected players.

"I am just looking forward to playing soccer, period," said Oldford, who currently tends goal on a Surrey team, but resides in Langley.

Oldford knows that she has been handed a wonderful opportunity to advance her soccer.

"I am so happy that I made it," said the Brookswood student, who still hopes to suit up for the Bobcats this spring. "It gets my name out there."

"It is a good team with lots of skill, so it is good to be on," she added. "(And) it is cool, we get to travel."

Travel will in fact be plentiful as the team squares off against squads from Victoria, the Interior, Washington State and Oregon.

"The Y League is getting bigger and bigger," Mason said. "It is sort of a junior version of the A League which the Whitecaps play in."

"You are not only just playing some of the better players in the Lower Mainland, you are playing against a lot of the better players in Washington State and Oregon state," he added.

The league is part of a broader league that expands all across the United States, the United Soccer League.

And in November, the top two teams from each of the leagues play off in the Super Y finals. Last year saw the Whitecaps U15 girls' team advance to the finals, which were held in Chicago.

The players are all now in the process of what is known as phase one, where they spend one day a week at practice (for boys it is each Saturday and for the girls each Sunday). This portion of the schedule runs until April 18.

Phase two then begins, which consists of a 12-16 game schedule that is expected to be finalized some time in February.


Coast Reporter: Whitecaps Super League claims Coast player

Whitecaps Super League claims Coast player

Coast Reporter

February 6, 2004

By Ian Jacques/Editor


When it comes to playing soccer, Jeremy Izad’s passion is evident.

The 14-year-old Sunshine Coast lad has been playing the grand old game since he was five years old and that passion and determination is starting to pay off in a big way.

Already a stand-out striker with the Halfmoon Bay Rednecks in the Sunshine Coast Youth Soccer League, Izad was one of many youngsters who participated in the soccer clinic put on by Bobby Lenarduzzi and the Vancouver Whitecaps on the Sunshine Coast in September.

The coaches saw something special in Izad, so much so, they invited him to the Whitecaps Academy.

“I went down to their training centre and tried to really showcase my skills,” Izad said. “That started right after the camp up here. Then in late December they called me and told me they wanted me to play in their youth super league program. I was just thrilled — it’s such a great opportunity.”

Whitecaps FC recently announced their selection of seven Super Youth teams for the United Soccer League (USL) Super Y League season.

More than 750 youths took part in a journey that started in November with an open trial for all players in B.C., culminating with final team selections in late December and early January.

In the off-season, the Whitecaps expanded the Super Y program to seven teams adding three new clubs to their system. Each team is represented with some of the best youth talent found throughout the Lower Mainland, from Abbotsford to the Sunshine Coast.

The 2004 teams include four boys’ teams at the U13 to U16 level and three girls’ teams from the U14 to U16 level. Izad will be playing for the U15 boys’ team. These teams will compete in the Northwest Division of the USL Super Y League against such rival clubs as Seattle and Portland.

The program has already seen success, as last summer the Whitecaps U15 girls’ team won the Northwest Division and a berth at the Super Y North American Championships in Chicago.

The Super Y League was developed by the USL to create a professional environment for top youth players to train and compete on a weekly basis.

“I was very impressed with the talent displayed by participants in the evaluations,” said Whitecaps Men’s and Club Development head coach Tony Fonseca. “I want to acknowledge many of the youth clubs in the community for the work they have done in helping to develop these players. We’re looking forward to taking these players to the next level and introducing them to the professional club experience.”

Fonseca will oversee the Super Y teams with support from an impressive coaching staff including Whitecaps Assistant Coach Jamie Fales, former pro Steve Watts, former Whitecap pro Sam Saundh and Canadian team player Frank Ciaccia.

“We’re all pretty soccer crazy in our house,” added Jeremy’s mom Julie. “We live for soccer. To see Jeremy develop his skills the way he has here in Canada has been just tremendous. This is a great opportunity for him.”

The Izads moved to the Coast in 2000. Jeremy was born in Monte Carlo and has played soccer in France.

Izad said he knows it’s going to be a lot of work juggling school work while playing soccer, but he feels he is up to the challenge.

“Certainly I want to concentrate on my school work, but I’m doing something here that could affect my future,” Izad said.

“Soccer has been my life and I want to take it as far as I can go.”

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