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Whitecaps launch SFU residency program

May 17, 2007

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By Stuart Colcleugh

The Vancouver Whitecaps announced May 9 that the soccer club is creating a permanent full-time residency development program at SFU's Burnaby campus dedicated to developing North America's top youth players.

Designed for elite male soccer players in the under-17 to under-19 age groups, the program based out of the Whitecaps training centre at SFU will include an initial player pool of 16 to 20 prospects from B.C. and the rest of North America.

Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi says the program, scheduled to start Sept. 1, 2007, will serve as a development gateway to professional opportunities with the Whitecaps men's team and European clubs, using the European club model of identification, development and placement.

The prospects will have access to all of the resources available to university community members, including sports psychologists, physiotherapists and nutritionists, the new fitness centre, the two artificial turf fields and the pool.

The players will also be provided with a full-time education and accommodation options including billeting with a local family or housing in one of the campus residences.

To head up the program, the Whitecaps have brought in European coaching specialist Thomas Niendorf, who holds a German Soccer Federation professional coaching license and maintains an extensive network of contacts in Europe.

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