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Whitecaps bring community clinic to South Delta

Event attracts over 180 youngsters to Holly Park
Whitecaps Club Ambassador Carl Valentine talks to players and parents during the MLS club’s recent community skills clinic at Holly Park in Ladner. The event attracted over 180 youngsters.

The Vancouver Whitecaps and South Delta United Soccer Club teamed up to offer young soccer players a night they will soon not forget.
More than 180 youth ages seven to 12 came out to Holly Park in Ladner for an evening skills clinic hosted by the Whitecaps.
The young players got the opportunity to rub shoulders with members from the Caps’ MLS, WFC2, Residency and Girls’ Elite teams.
Following a warm-up, the youngsters were divided up into groups where the Caps players put them through various ball handling and passing drills, then mini World Cup games were held. The evening wrapped up with photos and an autograph session.
“We do between 12 and 18 of these clinics around the province. We come and put on a fun camp, do some autographs afterwards and really have a fun time and get connected to all the communities,” said Whitecaps Club Ambassador Carl Valentine. “I’ve done a lot of these clinics and when you have 180 kids a lot of them don’t know each other, but we break them up into groups randomly and they just connect and just start playing. It’s a special moment.”
Valentine said these clinics are an important part of community outreach for the club.
“I think it’s important because we want to be one of the best clubs in North America and you can’t do that on your own,” added Valentine. “You have to have great support with sponsors and partnerships and certainly in the community. When I played here in ’79 and won a Soccer Bowl and over a 100,000 people came out to welcome us back from that victory, I didn’t realize it then, but I do now. A lot of that was due to the Whitecaps being entrenched into their communities. So that’s why we do this as a club. It’s the only way you can grow by showing commitment and truly showing that you want to be a part of every community.”
Valentine said the clinics are also a way the Whitecaps can support the growth of soccer at grassroots levels.
“There is no doubt when we have these players come out and the young players and their parents can connect with them, it gives them a reason to go and watch all of our teams,” he said. “Soccer has always been healthy at the community level and these associations do a great job in the development of the kids and their enjoyment of the game is certainly much higher. They may not all be super star players, but soccer can play a vital role in their fitness and just overall development as a person and we pride ourselves on being a part of that.”
Rod Vandereerden, vice president of South Delta United said the camp has been run the last couple of years with great success.
“I think we are just trying to promote soccer as a whole. This is a new club since the merger bringing all the communities together and the Whitecaps play a big role in bringing communities together,” Vandereerden said. “The kids get excited to see their potential heroes or coaches, so it’s a big thing for them.”

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