GORD GOBLE A player from Surrey United U17 (right) races for the ball during a game against South West United of Calgary at the Whitecaps FC Showcase at Newton Athletic Park. More than 100 teams participated at the event, held on April 14 and 15.

Soccer players showcase skills in Newton for NCAA, U Sports scouts

Whitecaps FC Showcase attracts more than 100 teams to Surrey

After spending the weekend overseeing an event that saw more than 2,000 young soccer players putting their skills on display, Ryan Clark laughed at the question put to him Monday morning.

“Why do we do it?” he said, both repeating the question and perhaps wondering why himself. As the manager of collegiate transition with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Clark oversaw the annual Whitecaps FC Showcase last weekend at Newton Athletic Park.

The event featured 110 teams, both male and female, in the U15, U16 and U18 age groups playing before roughly 140 college scouts from NCAA, U Sports and PACWEST universities from across North America. Teams came from across Canada and several U.S. states. There was even one team from Brazil in attendance at the event.

And the Whitecaps have several reasons why they spent three days in Surrey, showcasing youth talent from across North America to university programs.

“It’s a huge community giveback,” said Clark, offering up one reason. “We have a massive network, we get calls from as many as 10 to 15 universities a day. So why not share that network with the community?”

Numerous university programs consider the Whitecaps FC Showcase a must-see event. Local schools such as the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Trinity Western University were present, as were several big-name colleges from south of the border such as Stanford, Duke, Arizona State and Oregon.

Another reason for the Showcase is to give players from one of the Whitecaps’ residency programs a chance to continue playing at a high level.

“If they don’t get signed with a pro team coming out of residency, we want to get into a high-performance program as soon as possible because we might want them back at some point,” Clark said.

It’s difficult to determine how many scholarships are offered during the weekend, and Clark notes some will be offered in the future as a result of the Showcase.

“For the boys, the older kids (U18) get the scholarship offers, the younger ones in the U15 and U16 age group are here to get on the radar,” he said. “The girls get offered scholarships at a younger age.”

The weekend also presented players and parents a chance to question university scouts and coaches at a ‘college round table’ at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, something Clark said is “an opportunity they won’t have elsewhere.”

With the thousands of players and hundreds of college representatives in one location, Clark noted there is also a huge financial gain for the host community.

The City of Surrey estimated the economic impact of the Whitecaps FC Showcase at $2.99 million in 2015, he noted.

“That was when we had 85 or 90 teams,” he said. “We were at 110 this year, so we’re well over $3 million. it’s neat to see something we created have that kind of impact.”

 

GORD GOBLE A player from Surrey United U17 (right) races for the ball during a game against South West United of Calgary at the Whitecaps FC Showcase at Newton Athletic Park. More than 100 teams participated at the event, held on April 14 and 15.

Just Posted

READERS REACT: Surrey School District refuses to rent Bell Centre for Parents United Canada rally

There’s been a wealth of responses ever since the ‘pretending to be gay’ story broke earlier this month

VIDEO: Crash closes Fraser Highway in Langley

One vehicle ends up in ditch, air ambulance called in

MOST READ: ‘Devastated’ mom says 14-year-old Surrey overdose victim loved being with friends

Video of Heaven Donnelly’s overdose was circulating on Instagram, according to mother

Team B.C. wins the 2017 WHL Cup

The team features Surrey natives and Valley West Hawks forwards Justin Sourdif and Cameron MacDonald

Surrey RCMP are looking for 47-year-old Audra Jager

Reports say she is easily confused and disoriented because of previous head injury.

VIDEO: Surrey Now-Leader reporter tries on a ‘drunk driving suit’

The suit from Ocean Park Ford emulates what it’s like to get behind the wheel after drinking

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Holy Heritage Rail Batman: Superheros come to Cloverdale historic train

The Fraser Valley Heritage Rail is hosting its third annual Halloween rail adventure Oct 28, 29

Surrey Eagles prep for road tilt with first-place Vernon Vipers

After a Friday night game against Wenatchee, the Birds take aim at BCHL leaders Saturday

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read