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Whitecaps week in Prince Rupert

Youth soccer summer camp sees its biggest turnout ever
The Vancouver Whitecaps youth camp is in Prince Rupert from July 29 to August 2. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Major League Soccer is back in Prince Rupert, as the Vancouver Whitecaps Development Camp makes its summer stop in town.

The camp at Charles Hays Secondary lasts for a full week, and looks to fit the experience of the usual 10 week Whitecaps academy centre program into this time. All kids are eligible to take part as they receive professional instruction that would usually not be available to them.

Adam Glass, head coach of the Northwest Academy Centre based in Terrace, and organizer of the camp, stresses however that scouting the next Alphonso Davies is not the main goal of the camp.

Adam Glass is the head coach of the Whitecaps Northwest Academy Centre, and runs the camp. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“The priority for me being in this area isn’t to search for talent, it’s to help local communities,” Glass said. “My job is to provide a service to the local kids and get some extra training to keep them engaged.”

“The goal for the local clubs — the Terrace, Prince Rupert or Kitimat youth soccer associations — is to give them some advice and helpful ideas to run even better programs, which then hopefully encourages more kids to turn up,” Glass added. “At the end of the day if we can get these kids involved long term as adults for the rest of their lives, that’s the crucial part.”

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The effort is already taking hold, with camp numbers soaring this year. Glass said that while last year saw 32 kids sign up in all of the northwest region, this week’s session in Prince Rupert has 40 participants.

“From me and from the Whitecaps, sincerely we want to say thank you to the community for embracing us and thank you for giving us a chance to be here with you,” Glass said.

Kids take part in a number of unique activities meant to grow their enthusiasm for the game. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

During the week the kids will take part in a series of activities meant to introduce them to the game while increasing their soccer IQ.

“We do a lot of games based coaching methodology,” Glass explained. “We’re not big on players working around cones or standing around waiting.”

“Decision making is huge, so every game we try and put a decision making component in there. So not just a two versus two, but a two versus two with a question of should I be dribbling, am I passing, what’s the best space to occupy?”

READ MORE: KURIAL: The more sports camps the merrier

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Glass is also trying to shift the focus away from what he says is an older coaching style that emphasizes repetitive drills to learn a skill or technique. Instead he wants to instill a game plan of “guided discovery” in this generation.

“It’s a case of here’s the problem, what’s the solution? Because there can be many solutions,” Glass explained. “The more we make them problem solvers, the more we make them the process involved in solving the problem. And it’s better for them long term, because there’s so many problems in a game of football.”

The camp will wrap up on Friday, at which point Glass hopes that the experience will have left a mark on youth soccer in Prince Rupert.

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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