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.

 

Just Posted

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

Shoebox Project: Local women in need to enjoy shoebox gifts

This year over 500 gift filled Shoeboxes were delivered in Campbell River and the North Island.

Trapped Vancouver Island crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of B.C. couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

Most Read