Jade Robinson lets fly with a volley as John Soares looks on at the International Futbol Scouting Academy pilot program last week.

Scouts study soccer standouts

International Futbol Scouting Academy brings top-class coaching to the North Island.

PORT HARDY—A small squad of soccer standouts got some top-class coaching last week as the International Futbol Scouting Academy kicked off a pilot project in search of the next Kevin Wasden.

Victoria-based program director John Soares and coach Carlos Almeida took a dozen youngsters through their paces at Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw school. And the group clearly made the grade, as the Academy will return to Port Hardy in early July, opening up to additional applicants.

Soares brings a wealth of experience from his years as a professional player in Europe, playing alongside the likes of Portuguese legend Luis Figo, 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year.

He also built up a slew of connections with coaching staff at some of the biggest clubs in the world.

His academy searches for the crème de la crème of young talent in western Canada and connects them with scouting programs at some of Europe’s football titans; clubs including Benfica, Barcelona, Porto, Sporting Lisbon and AC Milan.

But Soares was quick to point out that the program just opens doors for young players. “I want to make sure people understand that just because I’m a scout, I’m not an agent — there’s no percentage for me if they get picked up by a professional team.”

The program introduced the youngsters to a series of drills and testings, developed by leading coaches. Each participant received a personalized assessment highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

Soares uses these assessments to recommend players for development programs and tryouts with the European sides, with the hope of getting scholarship and professional interest for the elite players.

Each player at the Academy also receives a nutritional information package, advising them on food choices and hydration, again modelled off the professional standard.

Soares explained that he had been on the North Island 10 years ago, when he was involved with a program in Port McNeill. “Small places always produce great players,” he said, adding the pilot group had impressed. “They’ve worked so hard; it’s unbelievable.

“I saw it 10 years ago. I thought, ‘Wow, these kids are good.’ They just need somebody to give them an opportunity.”

Coach Almeida said that the academy focussed on improving the players’ technical ability while encouraging creativity. “We’re definitely looking for those players that can go on to be university standard and pro standard,” he explained. “But we want to get them to love the game.”

Almeida said the pilot scheme had gone well and they had lined up further programs in Victoria in the coming weeks.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “The community’s been great, these facilities have been perfect for us. I think this is a win-win for everybody.”

Both coaches and local organizer Scott Harris expressed thanks to the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations for facilitating the use of the school for the program.

The Academy will return to Port Hardy July 2-6. A registration of $250 per player for the five-day course includes a jersey and shorts, as well as the written assessment and nutritional package. The program is limited to 20 players per age group, with priority for players recommended by their coach.

For more information contact Soares at 250-590-1697 or jmsoares@shaw.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Court grants ‘Namgis appeal on fish farm transfer licence

Science on impacts of farmed salmon on wild salmon evolving; DFO must keep up judge says

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

Kwa’lilas Hotel wins award from TripAdvisor

The Kwa’lilas Hotel opened its doors to the public back in 2017.

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read