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Soccer phenom takes his game to the West Coast

Canuck Oranje

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KITCHENER — When he has a moment to spare — which isn’t often — soccer phenom Bryce Alderson will reflect on his recent run of good fortune.

“It’s been a crazy few months . . . and sometimes I take a step back and go ‘yeah, this really is crazy,’” he says.

“I guess I don’t see it so much because I’m in it day-to-day and the success has come gradually, but when someone else mentions what I’ve done, I think, ‘Yeah, it really is a big deal.’”

The Kitchener native was recently named this country’s under-17 player of the year by the Canadian Soccer Association. The prestigious honour caps a year in which the 16-year-old midfielder went on four trips with the national team, including a first-place finish at a tournament in Martinique in May.

Alderson’s achievements aren’t limited to the national team. His outstanding play as a member of Ontario’s under-16 team was rewarded with an offer to join the Vancouver Whitecaps’ residency program. The invitation came in July and Alderson decided to make the move after visiting British Columbia with his family in early August.

“I was enrolled to go back to St. Mary’s (High School) but then everything changed. Just like that and I’m living in Vancouver,” says Alderson.

He had considered joining the Toronto FC Academy, but decided Vancouver was a better fit.

Alderson attends classes at Burnaby Central Secondary School while working out with the Whitecaps, who will field a team in Major League Soccer for the 2011 season.

Alderson isn’t the only local lad honing his skills on the West Coast. Kitchener’s Adam Polakiewicz, who attended Resurrection last year, is also enrolled in the Whitecaps’ residency program and lives with the same billet family as Alderson. The two have played together since they were nine.

“It feels like you have a bit of home with you,” says Alderson. “He knows what I’m talking about and I know what he’s talking about. It’s definitely makes it easier.”

Still, there are moments when he misses the comforts of home, especially his old school.

“I really didn’t think I’d miss St. Mary’s, but I do. When you’re in it, you’re saying, ‘I wouldn’t mind going to a different school’ and now that I’m at the different school, I wish I could be back at St. Mary’s,” he says.

Having said that, Alderson is excited to join the organization on the ground floor and believes he’ll be given every opportunity to one day make it with the senior team. A career in Europe is also something Alderson is interested in pursuing. The English Premier League is his favourite to watch, but he doesn’t support any particular team.

Alderson will join the national under-17 team for a two-day camp in Toronto next week and then spend a week with the team in Costa Rica in January.

Then it’s the 2011 CONCACAF men’s under-17 championship that runs from Feb. 14-28 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The top four teams at that event will advance to the FIFA under-17 World Cup that will be held June 18 to July 10 in Mexico.


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