EDMONTON — The Vancouver Whitecaps will send their under-23 team on a couple of Alberta road trips for tests against top tier opposition.
“We’ll be fighting for our lives in order to get results against CPL teams,” said Nick Dasovic, the coach of the Whitecaps’ under-23 squad.
On Tuesday, (March 19), the ‘Caps will play a closed-door match against Cavalry FC in Calgary. After that, Dasovic’s charges will be going on an English road trip, where they’ll play the under-23 sides of Brighton and Hove Albion and Bournemouth. A third game in England is in the process of being confirmed.
On April 20, the Whitecaps under-23s will host FC Edmonton. And, as FC Edmonton won’t open its CPL campaign until May, the Eddies will host the Whitecaps under-23s on April 28, a day after Forge FC and York9 feature in the league’s first regular-season match.
“This will be a big challenge for our boys,” said Dasovic of the friendlies against Cavalry and FCE. “These are professional teams, there are players who are coming back from Europe, players who played in MLS. It’s integral for young players to have these kinds of experiences as they hopefully work their way towards playing on the first team.”
“They’re looking for games,” said FCE coach Jeff Paulus. “They’re going to be a team that plays in tournaments and plays friendlies to get their young players minutes and exposure. These games are good for their young players in Vancouver and it’s certainly a good test for us. I hope that they’ll send some senior players in that group.”
Two years ago, WFC2, the Whitecaps official reserve side, played its final game in the USL. Last year, the Whitecaps had a deal to send some of their young talent to Fresno FC. This year, the Whitecaps’ under-23 side is playing in a series of tournaments and friendlies. And Dasovic is hopeful that more games against CPL opposition can be scheduled.
“Whenever a CPL side wants to play us, we’ll take it,” he answered.
Obviously, each youth team in the world has more players in its program than can ever make the first team. So, Dasovic thinks it’s important that his players be exposed to CPL, so they know what it might take to make the Eddies or Cavalry or another Canadian top tier club.
A good youth-team coach wants what’s best for his players. And Dasovic is excited that, with the CPL, the Canadian professional soccer scene is expanding.
Look for former Foothills keeper Chituru Odunze to feature in Calgary for the Whitecaps. It’ll be a homecoming for the England-born, Calgary-raised keeper, who just got another call-up to the U.S. U-17 team. (He’s a prospect with many passports.)
And, Paulus is looking forward to seeing a former FC Edmonton Academy player return with the Whitecaps — Chance Carter.
“Chance is a very good player, left-footed player, big and strong. He’s almost got a Paul Pogba body style to him, and a game sort of like that as well,” Paulus said.
“I’ll be interested in seeing how he’s developed in Vancouver.”
No pressure on Chance Carter, but the Whitecaps kinda have a decent history when it comes to prospects from Edmonton. Some Alphonso kid.
NOTES FROM CAMP
The Eddies are playing a closed-door friendly Saturday against the University of Alberta.
Four trialists vying for what Paulus said is one final roster spot on the team, are all supposed to see action.
Those four are Canadians Jackson Farmer and Jordan Haynes, Greek defender Giannis Charontakis, and French player Jerrold Nyemeck.