The Vancouver Whitecaps have invited two Trail soccer players to join their elite training camp and tournament next week.
Paige Gattafoni and Nolan DeRosa of Trail are two of 28 soccer players from the Kootenay region who will be joining Kootenay Regional Head Coach, Brett Adams, in Vancouver on March 30 to hone some skills, but most importantly, to be noticed by colleges and universities from across North America.
The week-long event is called the High Potential Player (HPP) program, designed to give passionate soccer players a place to work their hardest on their game play. After five days of HPP training, the two Trail players will hit the soccer pitch for the 2015 Whitecaps FC Showcase.
Gattafoni, 16, has been invited to play in the U17/18 girls category and has been playing soccer for over ten years. She can’t wait to get to Vancouver to further her soccer career.
“It is a great opportunity to be seen by other coaches and scouts,” she said. “I am excited to meet all the other players and getting to work with high-up coaches. It is about getting seen by other players and coaches, seeing what other players are out there and improving on my skills.”
Adams has seen both Gattafoni and DeRosa play the game, and says the camp and tournament couldn’t have picked better players.
“The two particular players that have been chosen from Trail are very, very good at doing extra work, so it is exciting they are joining us,” he said, adding that soccer isn’t just about what happens on the field. “As much as it is a team game, it asks individual players to be able to go away and keep themselves fit and work on other things, not just rely on a training session a week.”
One of the biggest draws of the invite-only tournament is, just like Gattafoni mentioned, getting players seen by scouts. Adams says the Whitecaps scouting network is the biggest one out there.
“This is the best platform for any soccer player that has aspirations in college ball,” he said. “This is the best thing they could have. I think last year the Whitecaps recorded the biggest scouting network they have ever had and they expect even more this year. It is growing.”
Gattafoni and DeRosa will be training before hitting the tournament circuit on Easter weekend, playing against some of the best players in B.C. and will even have the chance to attend a Whitecaps game against the Los Angeles Galaxy.