Every football club in the world dreams of having a goalscoring machine. A player that will find the net on a regular basis.
The top clubs pay mega millions for such a player, meanwhile Vancouver Whitecaps’ Residency program seems to be producing them in abundance at the moment.
It may be at a much lower level, but a goalscorer is a goalscorer and you can’t argue with stats like Caleb Clarke’s 24 goals in 23 regular season games with the U18s. Or Yassin Essa’s 18 in 24.
Go down one level further and you find one of the most exciting Whitecaps talents – 16 year old Brody Huitema.
Huitema has had a break out season, with 20 goals in 22 league games, and the potential of the Chilliwack native is truly exciting. He’s already added two goals in the Caps’ first USSDA playoff match down in Dallas and you know there’s just more to come from the 6’1″ striker.
As if his footballing talents weren’t enough, he also excels academically and has a GPA of 3.9 (just shy of the maximum 4.0), and when we chatted with him before he headed off to Dallas, he comes across as an articulate and bright young player that most certainly has his head screwed on and a very promising future in the game.
No wonder Stanford University have already secured his college commitment.
Brody has been playing football since he was four years old and the Caps have kept an eye on him for a long time. He was previously with the Whitecaps prospects side from 2006 to 2008, and has represented British Columbia at provincial level for the past four years.
Before making the move to the Residency program in September 2011, he was with Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Sparta, winning the Provincial Cup last year and being named the League MVP.
How does he feel his play has developed since joining the Whitecaps Residency program?
“It’s totally different,” Huitema told AFTN. “Last year with the Metro team we would have two training sessions a week and then maybe an extra one with the provincial team or the NTC [Ed- the CSA’s National Training Centre].
“This being five days a week, at the top level with the top players, it’s a huge development. It allows everybody to get much better and it shows. From the beginning of the year, everybody’s made leaps and bounds in their progress.”
As Brody says, it has showed and the Caps U16s won their Divisional title in their first year, getting stronger as the long season went on.
Brody is with the rest of the U16s and U18s down at the USSDA playoffs in Dallas just now and before he went, he gave us a little insight into how the team were preparing for the week and unknown opposition:
“We don’t know much about them as their eastern teams,” Huitema told us. “But you know what, teams like LA Galaxy, and higher level teams on the west coast, we have to take it like that. They’re going to be the same kind of quality teams and we’ll just take every game as a new one and go out there and show them what we have.”
With a win and a draw in their first two group games, the Caps U16s still have a great chance of making the Finals week in Houston next month.
After that it won’t be long until the new USSDA season starts in September.
For Brody that will mean a step up to the next level and he’ll be part of the Caps’ U18 set up. Is he ready and looking forward to the next challenge?
“I’m excited,” Huitema said. “This year was a good start. Going to these playoffs is going to be another huge stepping stone. I consider these top level teams going into the playoffs. Playing these teams will get me ready for next year and next year’s playoffs hopefully.”
For Brody, and all the current crop of Residency guys, when they see the likes of Bryce Alderson and Caleb Clarke making it onto the Caps MLS squad, that must give them a huge boost that they can make it all the way through the ranks themselves.
“It’s huge because Caleb and Bryce, I know them on a personal level, so it gives that little bit of it’s not too far away,” Huitema told us. “So I know Bryce and I know Caleb and I talk to them on a day to day basis and it’s cool to know that I’m not that far away and I can make those steps just like them.”
And if he keeps developing the way he is, then there’s little doubt that he’ll make it in the sport and do very well. Whether the Whitecaps can keep hold of him and have him play in Major League Soccer, is a whole other discussion.
For now, we’re looking forward to seeing him in U18 action come September, as Brody Huitema is definitely a Whitecap to keep a close eye on for the future.