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Vancouver WhiteCaps – The Realists!

Vancouver Whitecaps Residency

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have made some headlines recently with the announcement of Dutchman Richard Grootscholten as technical director and head coach of their full-time residency program with the aim of developing players for Major League Soccer. To me, this is a very big move for the club and the MLS itself. MLS or even Dutch clubs will never be on the same level as clubs from the larger European Leagues and the sooner the MLS comes to terms with this idea, the better.

The Dutch have realized this and now they are one of the best countries at developing young talent. On a club level, the Dutch are not able to compete because of high player salaries created by the billion dollar clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester United. When was the last time teams like Ajax, PSV or Feyenoord were successful in the Europa or Champions League? This is simply because these Dutch teams develop young players and as soon as the players are good enough, it’s off to Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Man U etc for a healthy transfer fee. Also, didn’t the Dutch make the World Cup final? The players may be leaving the Netherlands but no matter where they go, they still remain Dutch. So when the World cup rolls around they are all in Oranje.

Even players who were not born in the Netherlands but were developed there come back and become naturalized. See Jonathan DeGuzman!! Oh how that hurts!

If all of the teams in the MLS foster this idea then it will be a win win situation for everybody involved. Young players will have a place to develop outside of the pressure and spotlight of the large clubs in a place where all of the attention is not on the beautiful game. They would also be able to develop in a country (Canada or US) where the standard of living is quite high and the educational system is good. The MLS would benefit from the regular revenue stream of selling young players as well as having players of high technical ability on display (instead of domestic “filler” type players) in the league. In addition, graduates of the system who have been sold to large clubs would be more likely to come back to the MLS to re-gain lost form or to even end their careers where it all started. The MLS would not be looked at as an inferior league but a league that is good at nurturing and developing players. Also, the CSA and USSF would benefit because our home grown talent would have better players to develop with making for better national teams.

I think Toronto FC is also on the right track with their academy but they need to have someone in charge that has experience with this type of a mentality. I like Jason Bent as head coach of the senior academy team but I pick Grootscholten to run my player development every time!

  1. guru
    November 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Definitely a good move. The dutch are well respected for their brand of soccer and the players they produce. The potential for soccer in canada is huge as it is unparalleled in terms of youth participation. The development of african teams which have employed a similar approach with hiring european coaches has been apparent with the performance of african teams at the recent world cups and the contingent of african players in europe. The only fear is a pipeline of canadian talent that may leave and not return ala de guzman. However improvement in the talent level of mls and the domestic teams will allow for a greater probability of canadian players staying to help the cause.

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