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Whitecaps hosting camp in Ladner

Vancouver organization's Play like a Pro soccer camp has both development and performance sides to it

Local kids will have a chance to "play like a pro" at a Vancouver Whitecaps FC summer soccer camp next week in Ladner.

"What we try to do is, for the kids when they come there, [is for them to] try and get a little piece of what the whole professional organization is like," says Sam Lenarduzzi, the Whitecaps' manager of camps and clinics.

Lenarduzzi, a former Whitecaps and Canadian national team player, notes a special curriculum was created a year ago for the Play like a Pro camp.

There's a development side to the camp where players focus on basic skills like passing, dribbling and shooting at different stations.

"Each day they'd go through the same stations, rotate from coach to coach, but each day the progression would get harder and harder."

There's a performance side to the camp as well where "select type players" would take their skills and use them in competitive situations like one-on-ones or two-on-twos, he explains.

A few current Whitecaps players will visit on the last day of the camp.

Lenarduzzi, a member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, has a long history of teaching camps with the Whitecaps. Some of his fellow coaches even nicknamed him the "Legend."

"The only good part of it is I'm a living 'Legend', I'm still around. When they started calling me the 'Legend' I thought, 'Oh my gosh.'"

He received a B.C. Community Achievement Award earlier this year for his contributions to soccer in the province.

The Whitecaps Play like a Pro summer camp, for kids from U-6 to U-14, runs from Aug. 22 to 26 at Holly Park in Ladner. Register online at whitecapsfc. com/camps, by phone at 778-330-1354 or in person at the start of camp. It costs $129 per person.

Whitecaps FC camps have been in operation for over 23 years and have reached more than 25,000 youth across B.C., the team's website states. Camps are led by Lenarduzzi and fellow past 'Caps player Carl Valentine.