After a summer spent playing for the Prince George Youth Soccer Association's Whitecaps FC Northern Prospects Academy team, the city's top youth players will get a chance to showcase their talents under the watchful eyes of the Vancouver Whitecaps boys development head coach.
Bart Choufour will be in Prince George later today to spend the next two days coaching and training the academy teams (male and female) at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
Choufour, a native of the Netherlands, was hired in March to head the Whitecaps Pre-Residency U14 Boys team. As head coach of B.C.'s under-17 and under-18 provincial teams, he's taken several B.C. youth teams on European tours to play the youth teams of professional clubs FC Barcelona of Spains La Liga and Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal of the English Premier League. He's also familiar with youth development systems in Holland, Germany and Belgium.
Sam Lenarduzzi, head coach of the Whitecaps community clinics program, will also be in Prince George this weekend to assist in the academy sessions.
The fall academy started in late September with five weeks of outdoor sessions leading up an five-week indoor program at the NSC that wraps up in late November. That will be followed by a January-March indoor session.
The Whitecaps plan to send a coach from the residency program each month to Prince George to oversee the program. There will be also opportunities for Prince George players to compete against the other five Whitecaps academies in B.C. and play in regional events around the province. Whitecaps Academy programs also operate in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, the Kootenays, and Saskatoon.
All PGYSA coaches are invited to attend a coaching clinic offered by Choufour and Lenarduzzi on Saturday from 7-9 p.m. at the PGYSA indoor facility at 965 Winnipeg St.