Vancouver Whitecaps soccer camp comes to a close in Harbour Grace
Pro team and NLSA see bright future for collaboration
HARBOUR GRACE, NL — The Vancouver Whitecaps FC Youth Camp kicked off its last day in Harbour Grace this past Friday.
The camp, which is dedicated to training young people interested in soccer, takes place all across the country, with some camps scattered throughout Newfoundland in Corner Brook, St. John’s, and Harbour Grace.
Both the CBN Lightning and the Vancouver Whitecaps, in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association, hosted the camp in Harbour Grace.
Ewan Fisher is one of the head coaches for the camp’s Academy Centre based out of British Columbia, alongside fellow coach Craig Angus. Fisher told The Compass that the camp’s week long stint in Harbour Grace was very successful, and that he has high hopes for next year.
“Our goal here in Newfoundland is to inspire these kids to maintain their passion for the sport,” said Fisher. “You know, practice as much as possible, and not just while they’re here, but when they’re at home as well. Practice with the ball, get used to the game, and most importantly, enjoy yourself. We’re here to develop them, yes, but we’re here to inspire them, first and foremost.”
Fisher, who calls Glasgow, Scotland his home, added that their time in Newfoundland has been one of the best out of all their travels.
“It’s been an absolutely amazing experience,” he said. “The hospitality, and the people here in Newfoundland – amazing. I’ve been running camps like this for several years now, and the kindness everyone here has shown, and the willingness from the kids to learn, it’s been unbelievable. We can’t wait to come back.”
To commemorate their last day in the area, the camp hosted games between the kids, who competed for a world cup – small trophies topped with a white soccer ball.
The two trophies were to be dispersed between the younger and older groups, something Fisher said he hoped would put a smile on the faces of the kids on their last day at the camp.
During the camp’s last day, the St. Francis field was decorated with banners, flags, as well as the smiling faces of proud parents watching their children, divided into four different pitches, master the sport.
Damian Masterson is the vice-president of NLSA. He said that he feels as though the future for this camp is bright, noting that he can only see it getting bigger and bigger each year, and hopes to see eight pitches on the field next year.
“We’re excited to see it grow,” Masterson told The Compass. “Now that the camp’s gone through its first week, I think the numbers are going to double next year. I think there are several parents who may have been a bit skeptical at first, but having seen what the camp is all about and what it does for the kids and community, they’ll be excited to take advantage of it next year.”
The growth of the camp is something that technical director for NLSA is also excited for. Dragan Mirkovic has held his position with the association for nearly two decades, and said he sees great things for the future of the camp. He told The Compass that the sport itself is what brings people together on the same level.
“There are people here from Scotland, Singapore, China, and for what? For soccer,” Mirkovic said with a proud smile. “It’s the same sport everywhere, no matter where you’re from, and it’s something everyone understands. It’s not about your home, or your country, it’s about loving the game.”
The children taking part in this year’s camp are trained by some of the best to hone their skills with a soccer ball.
Proper footwork and ball handling skills are things that the Vancouver Whitecaps hope sticks with the young players.
The children spent a week practicing with Vancouver Whitecaps officials.