Foothills FC players ‘get noticed’
It was only a year ago that Foothills FC was preparing to kick off for its first season in the Premier Development League.
At the time, there were grand promises about providing a platform for young Albertan soccer players to show off their skills, and a sense of optimism about their ability to pull it off.
These days, that optimism has been replaced by confidence. The club did exactly what it said it was going to do, after all.
Young defender Bradley Kamden had his name called in the third-round of this year’s MLS Superdraft, while goaltender Sean Melvin was rewarded for his contributions to the first-year club with a contract from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Whatever the Calgary team’s secret was, it clearly worked and that has the young men who will make up the ranks of the 2016 squad feeling confident about what lies ahead.
“With the PDL it creates a better atmosphere and a pathway to do better things and you can actually get noticed,” said Dominick Zator, who also played with the University of Calgary Dinos soccer team in 2015.
Zator knows full well what a solid season in the PDL can do for a player. After impressing for both Foothills FC and the Dinos last year, Zator and teammate Dominic Russo were invited for a 10-day trial at England’s Oxford United FC in February.
The team plays in the fourth division of English soccer and were League Cup winners in 1986. While they’re a long way off from the Premier League, they still boast a squad of players who have played in some of England’s top competitions.
For two guys from Calgary, it was an eye-opening experience and one that might not have been possible without Foothills FC offering them an opportunity last year.
“It was a sweet experience, it was absolutely unreal,” Zator said. “We were playing with guys who did play in the Premier League and did play in the Championship and I honestly thought we did fit in pretty well.
“It just shows that there is qual- ity here, it’s just about getting that exposure and making the opportunity count.”
When their PDL season kicks off on May 13 — the first home game goes May 27 at Glenmore Athletic Park against the Portland Timbers U23 team — the Calgary club in- tends to keep the focus this year on developing young talent, even if that occasionally means that they’ll leave players in a close game simply to help them gain experience.
It’s a strategy that may not always pay off in terms of wins and losses, but as they’ve proved in the year since they first took to the field, it’s paying off when it comes to development.
And that’s the main goal, in the end.