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  1. Now 21-years-old, Cain is about to enter his senior season with the Wright State Raiders this fall. A Canadian youth international, Cain first headed to the University of Northwestern Ohio, where he led the team in scoring in his Freshman year with ten goals. He then made the cross state transfer to the Wright State University in Dayton where he added a further two goals in 19 games of his second year and two in 21 games this season just past. Although the college route isn't for everyone who graduates from the 'Caps Residency, opportunities were few and far between just three years ago, but Cain has loved his time in the college game. "It's a lot different in America than it is in Canada," Cain told us. "It's a great experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've learned a lot living there and I've grown up a lot too. It's a different game and it makes me adjust. It's good." As we said, Cain will be going for PDL Championship glory this Sunday when his K-W United side face New York Red Bulls U23s at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. After a strong season, the striker can't wait for a chance to lift the trophy. "It's great," Cain told us. "It's a great feeling. I haven't been in a big final since I played with the Whitecaps and that was years ago. So it's going to be great." K-W United got to the Championship game after a dramatic last-second win over Seattle Sounders U23s on Friday night. Cain came on as a second half sub in that game, but with most of those watching expecting the match to head into extra time, the striker watched German midfielder Julian Buescher win it late with his free kick. "Julian's great on the ball on set plays," Cain said. "I was hoping it was going to go in, but I didn't know. Before the free kick, I thought it was going to go to extra-time but we pulled it together, riled up the gang and got it in." This is Cain's second season with K-W United, but it's not his first experience of PDL play and he played for Whitecaps U23s in the league in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. And the reason he's currently at K-W in the first place is due to another Vancouver connection, his former Residency coach Stuart Neely. "My first year I came here because Stuart was coaching," Cain told us. "I got in contact with him and he told me to come. It's a great team. We had a great season last year but fell a bit short. This year, once again we're strong again and this time we feel like we're going to do it." After that Cain will be heading back to Wright State for his final year, where he is studying Media Relations. And after that? "My focus is to become a professional," Cain told us. "I'm really determined. I really think I can make either a USL team or a MLS team. My goal after college is to go on some trials with some clubs and see what I can do." With the Whitecaps not keeping homegrown rights on Cain, he will be free to be picked up by any club side now, but he's also looking at overseas as an option. So does he have access to an European passport that opens doors for so many players here? "Unfortunately I don't," Cain said. "I just have a Canadian passport, but because I'm half Jamaican, I'm working on getting a Jamaican passport to try and get over. It'll be easier with that in England." We wish Wesley (and Adam) all the very best in today's big PDL Championship game with New York Red Bulls and don't forget you can follow his college progress, and that of all the other 'Caps Residency alumni, in our regular "Caps In College' feature come the fall.
  2. Wirth graduated from the Whitecaps Residency program last summer, having joined the program in 2011. With many USSDA and PDL games now behind him, he headed to Oregon State University. Initially sharing starts in his rookie year with Junior keeper Matt Bersano, Wirth played five games, four of them starts. Despite winning three games, allowing just three goals and keeping two clean sheets, the Beavers coach decided to stick with the more experienced Bersano for the remainder of the season. It's hard to knock that decision as the Beavers made it to the postseason for the first time since 2003 but with Wirth used to splitting time with the Residency teams these past few years, and seeing regular gametime, being completely kept on the bench for the remainder of the season must have been a bit of an adjustment. Still, that's the life of college soccer, so onwards and upwards. Bersano has now moved on from Oregon, turning down a pro contract with RSL's USL side Real Monarchs to go to grad school at Penn State. His departure will hopefully open more doors and opportunities for Wirth with the Beavers in his sophomore season. He has a great chance to establish himself now as Oregon's number one keeper and the signs during OSU's spring schedule seemed to indicate he would be. "I'm looking very positive for that looking ahead," Wirth told AFTN recently. "Hopefully I'm going to be the guy and we can make it to the tournament again." With just 405 minutes of action logged last year at Oregon, Wirth made the decision to keep himself busy, fit and sharp during the college offseason by heading back to play some PDL this summer. With the Caps U23's team no more, Wirth has headed east to join Calgary Foothills in their inaugural PDL season, where he's splitting the goalkeeping duties with fellow Whitecaps Residency alumni, Sean Melvin. There's a couple of other Caps connections too, with Residency graduate Tim Hickson and Sam Adekugbe's brother Elijah also on the Foothills roster. When we spoke with Nolan a couple of months ago, the original plan was to play with Vancouver Victory in Washington's Evergreen League, but he's made one appearance for Calgary so far, in last Sunday's 2-2 draw with Washington Crossfire. "It's just to get some more game time," Wirth told us back in March. "But in the summer I will be training with the Whitecaps again and then going whenever I'm able to get some time in, just for game time." Wirth was recently back in Vancouver, playing in goal for the Beavers in March's friendly between OSU and WFC2. Oregon were on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat that day but for Wirth, it was just nice to be back and catch up with some old friends. "It felt good," he told us. "It felt good to come back to where I started. I obviously know a handful of the guys on the WFC2 team, so that always just gets me riled up to play because you want to play against your friends that you grew up with." And a lot of those friends have also been his teammates on the Canadian national team these past few years. Wirth was one of nine Whitecaps Residency products on Canada's 20-man roster for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Jamaica in January. Canada may not have had much success in what were the qualifiers for the recent U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, crashing out in the group stages after a strong start, but on a personal level, the tournament was a success for Wirth, who got the nod over his fellow Residency alumni Marco Carducci in three of the five group games. As disappointing as the tournament was, Wirth feels that the Canadian team can still take positives from it. "I felt that there were lots of lessons that we all took from the whole tournament. I feel it was just a building point and everybody needs to look forward from that." It certainly feels like too talented a group not to go on and do well for the national team at the next level these coming years. As for Wirth's plans for his own footballing future, with the Whitecaps maintaining his MLS right and with the new pro pathway of WFC2 in USL, is that enough to see him come out of college early? That's a decision still yet to be made. "I'm kind of just taking it year by year," he told us. "I'm going to keep that bridge with the Whitecaps and keep all my options open."
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