SOCCER: Players aim for BEST at Surrey academy

NEWTON — For the last decade, Paul Bahia has dedicated most of his time to developing some of the best young soccer players to come out of the Lower Mainland.

The Surrey FC technical director will be starting his second year of Bahia Expert Soccer Training (BEST), an academy that caters to young, elite soccer players.

"There aren’t many programs in this area that cater to elite players," said Bahia. "Mine is moreso catered to tier-one or tier-two players.

"It’s moreso getting players to get ready to go to the next level," he added.

Bahia, who played for UBC Thunderbirds and is a product of the national youth program, is head coach at Douglas College and knows what it takes to get players to the next level.

"I see the little things that separate players," he said. "Everybody gets their general coaching from their coaching staff at their clubs. Rarely do people get tailored coaching points, and that’s what I like to do."

The coach, who holds a Canadian Soccer Association B Licence, scouts players to see where they need to improve. He will then train with them on those aspects to make one of their weaknesses a strength.

The training he gives at his camps is more physical and technical because the kids are trying to become better individually. This allows them to forget about the tactical side of the game.

"We try to combine one kind of physical aspect with one technical aspect," he said. "For instance, the first day will be ball manipulation and agility. Things that work together, like power and finishing," he said.

Simmrin Dhaliwal, a coach with BEST, said there are a lot of similarities between Bahia’s program and the Richmond-based TSS soccer academy she entered years ago.

"(Bahia) has really good knowledge of the game," said Dhaliwal, who has signed on to play NCAA Division 1 soccer with Northwestern University in Chicago.

"He knows what it takes and what a team or individual needs to succeed at the highest level."

Dhaliwal’s brother is currently enrolled in BEST.

Brydon Wade, an Under-12 midfielder with Coastal FC in South Surrey, was part of Bahia’s camp last summer. He saw a big difference in his fitness levels once the camp was over. In fact, he enjoyed using a parachute (for resistance when running) with the academy so much, he got one for his birthday.

"Usually we just play games at other academies," Wade said. "This one we did a lot more dribbling and fitness, and that’s what I like."

He will be attending the spring camp, which runs from March 9 to 13 at Newton Athletic Park. A summer camp will also run during July and August. For more information, visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Surrey school district proposing 13 new schools in the next decade

Staff suggest new designs for future builds to maximize school space

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Delta McDonald’s temporarily closed after employees test positive for COVID-19

Two employees at the Annacis Island location (1285 Cliveden Ave.) reported testing positive on Sept. 18

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read