Where South Delta United has become known for its unique pathway for goalkeepers in recent years, leaning heavily on the principle of learning the skills important for all players, then specializing later through renowned club goalkeeper coach Helmut Wiebe, the local club can now boast its first non-goalkeeper to enter the prestigious Whitecaps Academy since the inception of the club in 2016.
Charlie Rogers, 14, has become one of 20 players in his age group from across the country to enter the fully funded Academy system with the Caps, after earning a spot through his performances with his BCSPL club side, Coastal FC, and the BC Provincial Team, where he captained both sides. The South Delta Secondary student has re-located to University Hill High School out at UBC, for training at the National Soccer Development Centre.
This makes three players from the same group that started out who have now progressed to the youth level within the local professional club.
The group, including standout goalkeepers Trystan Read (2007) and Sam Rogers (2009), originally began with the Tsawwassen Soccer Club Academy (later South Delta United Academy) training and playing together on Monday nights with guidance from long-time club coaches Doug Dyck, Tom Huggon, Stuart Neely, and Mike Frank amongst others.
“I was lucky to have great coaching and teammates here in South Delta and Tsawwassen to learn from before I had to move on to BCSPL at Coastal,” said Rogers.
The process to enter a professional youth club academy in Canada is a competitive one. With three MLS clubs running teams at the U15 to U19 age groups. That leaves space for roughly 60 to 70 kids per age group across the country.
“There are a lot of good players out there and it just depends on what the club and coaches are looking for,” said Rogers. “I’m glad they saw something in me that they value, and I did well when invited out.”
A typical week will consist of local training four to five times per week along with travel and matches mixed in.
Although his ultimate goal is to play as a professional for his family club, Everton FC, in England, Rogers has set his sights on settling in for his first year with the Caps and making steps to be considered for our youth national teams here in Canada.
“First and foremost, Charlie is a fantastic young person. He is respectful, kind and always willing to help out wherever he can. These amazing attributes he has, have translated onto the soccer field,” explained Mike Frank, South Delta United Technical Director. “His hard work and willingness to always try to improve and take on information has contributed to him being an outstanding young soccer player. I am looking forward to seeing what Charlie does in the future on and off the park.”