PEI

P.E.I. soccer players one step closer to professional club

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced a new partnership with the P.E.I. Soccer Association Monday for developing players on the Island.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announces academy on P.E.I.

P.E.I. players will have a chance to travel to B.C. for tournaments and to see the pro club play. (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced a new partnership with the P.E.I. Soccer Association Monday for developing players on the Island.

Whitecaps FC Academy — which already had centres across B.C. and in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario — announced three east coast centres Monday: in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I.

"We look forward to working together to maximize the potential of local players and help them achieve their dreams," said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi in a news release.

The new centre will provide professional training for serious, motivated players, said Whitecaps FC.

Benefits for Island players and coaches

As part of the partnership, Whitecaps FC and the P.E.I. Soccer Association will collaborate on high-performance programs, including plans to run prospects programs for boys and girls ages U-13 to U-17, as well as pre-prospects programs at the U-12 level.

Whitecaps FC is looking to make young players the best they can be, says team president Bob Lenarduzzi. (Whitecaps FC)

Whitecaps FC Vancouver staff will make regular visits to each academy centre, while players will also have the opportunity to travel to Vancouver for tournaments and to watch team matches at BC Place, and to be invited for further evaluations.

"Our coaches will also benefit from this relationship from the connection to professional staff in Vancouver, as well their visits to our province," said P.E.I. Soccer Association president John Diamond.

The new programs are planned to begin this fall.