Vancouver Whitecaps forming ties in Okanagan
Expect to see a lot more of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC brand in the valley in the months and years to come.
The Major League Soccer club is in the process of establishing a greater presence in the Okanagan, both for the development of players in the region and to raise the overall profile of the Whitecaps in the area.
The Whitecaps plans for the Okanagan include forming partnerships with local clubs, and the establishment of a regional academy so players in the valley can have greater access to year-round training.
The head coach of Vancouver Whitecaps FC Okanagan is David Broadhurst.
"We're hoping to generate greater opportunities for player development, not only across the region, but all across the province," said Broadhurst, who coached the Okanagan U21 PCSL men's team for three seasons. "We're in the process of making key contacts and forming partnerships with local clubs which we think we be very beneficial for young players throughout the Okanagan."
In the long-term, Broadhurst hopes stronger links between the MLS club and valley-based clubs will lead to local players eventually wearing the blue and white of the Whitecaps.
"It's about potentially feeding our programs which means one day we may have some homegrown talent with the Whitecaps," added Broadhurst. "And it's not just the province we want to tap into, but all of Canada in general."
As for the formation of an academy in the valley, Broadhurst said discussions with local clubs are in the preliminary stages and no time frame or precise location has been determined.
As part of their new Okanagan initiative, the Whitecaps will be holding a series of instructional camps in the valley this summer, including two in Kelowna.
The first runs from July 30 to Aug. 3 at Constable Neil Bruce Middle School in West Kelowna, while the second will be held Aug. 20 to 24 at the Mission sports fields.
For more information, or to register visit www.whitecapsfc.com/okanagancamps, or call 778-330-1354.