Vancouver Whitecaps left fullback Jordan Harvey fielded a range of questions Wednesday, regarding his team’s success, his soccer background and even his diet.
But it wasn’t sports reporters asking the questions—it was a group of local eight and nine-year-olds who are more used to seeing Harvey on their TV screen than in person.
The Vancouver Whitecaps skill camp is being held at Constable Neil Bruce Middle School in West Kelowna from July 29 to Aug. 2. Harvey made a special appearance Wednesday to answer questions, sign autographs and take photos with the kids.
One girl asked whether or not Harvey has ever been cut from a team and, if so, how that affected him.
“Initially, (trying out) for a U.S. regional team, I wasn’t selected. They called out all the names; I wasn’t one of them,” said Harvey.
“I was pretty sad, but within a week they called me back. There was someone injured and they let me come back. Within three weeks I was playing for the first team on the national team.
“It was a huge lesson for me to stay motivated; if you don’t make a team, it’s not the end of the world.”
Another child asked Harvey if he gets nervous before key matches.
“You get some butterflies before games. I think pressure is good; you’re going to have pressure whether you play soccer or do anything. I think it’s how you overcome and get past that pressure and really perform.
“You really test yourself when you’re in those pressure situations.”
Harvey also told the young players about his vigorous training schedule—generally four days per week, aside from games—as well as the kind of foods he has to eat as a professional athlete.
The majority of this week’s camp in West Kelowna is focused around helping young soccer players develop their fundamental skills.
It’s camps like this that made a difference for Harvey, who grew up in Mission Viejo, California.
“Playing and having those experiences (is something) I’ve never forgotten and will never forget. I think it really motivated me to play professionally.”
Harvey, who has also played for the Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union, noted he’s amazed to see how well the Whitecaps have been able to spread their fan base beyond Vancouver.
“They’ve done such a great job of bringing in all of B.C. and really establishing the Whitecaps organization and the brand and venturing out to places like Kelowna.
“Other teams, in the past, haven’t done that really.”
Harvey’s also pleased to see the increased popularity of Major League Soccer throughout all of North America.
“It’s grown so much…and I think it’s going to take off—I really do.”