Over the last few weeks, we’ve brought you our top twenty countdown of the players to watch in the Whitecaps Residency program.
The rankings are a snapshot of where the players are in their development combined with the potential they show to develop into professional footballers.
Having looked at the current U16s and U18s who have not signed a MLS contract, we conclude the series today by having a look at the top three prospects.
These are players we really feel can go on from the Residency and make an impact in the professional game, and it’s only fitting to run the top three today with the U18s about to take part in the USSDA Championship game.
After having some scouts views for the whole top twenty, we decided to do something a little bit different with the top three and also see what some of their veteran peers in the Caps MLS squad make of them.
Here’s what we, and they, think…
3 – Callum Irving
HOMETOWN: Vancouver, BC
2011/12 STATS (USSDA INC PLAYOFFS): 25GP, 24GS, 6CS
ANALYSIS: Callum Irving is a lively goalkeeper who has excellent reflexes and a very solid command of the box as well as the defenders in front of him. While not overly big, he is not afraid to mix it up with larger players in order to get up and snatch the ball in the air. He will need to continue to get stronger but the Vancouver native is starting to get noticed by the organization as well as the national program.
OUTLOOK: Irving has accepted a NCAA scholarship offer from University of Kentucky where he has been assured of being the number one keeper.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “Technically sound keeper who does a good job of communicating to his teammates. How far he goes in the game will depend on how he deals with the physical elements of the NCAA and pro leagues.”
JOE CANNON ON CALLUM: “Callum loves goalkeeping and is a student of the game which is a good start for him. Marius and Reagan have done a great job in helping him become stronger and quicker and he is a much different keeper compared to when I first saw him. One of the things Callum can improve on is being even more physical, which he can learn playing regularly in the college game. Size will only be an issue if he makes it one, so his potential is whatever he wants it to be, he could be Canada’s number one.”
2 – Daniel Stanese
HOMETOWN: Pitt Meadow, BC
2011/12 STATS (USSDA INC PLAYOFFS): 30GP, 30GS, 3G
ANALYSIS: Another player who made a big jump from last season, Stanese seems to have grown into a physical central defender. He already possessed very high technical skills and is very comfortable with the ball at both of his feet and distributes the ball accurately from the backline. The U18 captain, and starter for the U17 World Cup team in Mexico, has the highest upside amongst the senior residency players.
OUTLOOK: Stanese is eligible to return to the U18 team for another season but will most likely move to Europe, as he holds Romanian citizenship, through a loan or a transfer.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “Calm and composed, Daniel is a great defender to have at the back as he keeps everything and everyone organized. He does a great job of communicating and is a presence but has room to be more physical and improve his already impressive speed of play.”
JAY DEMERIT ON DANIEL: “He has the physical size for a centrehalf and uses it to his advantage. For a big guy he is pacey, good in the air and calm on the ball, which makes him good with his distribution. All he needs to learn is his positioning, which is normally the last thing you learn for a central defender, and hone the skills he possesses.”
1 – Ben Fisk
HOMETOWN: Vancouver, BC
2011/12 STATS (USSDA INC PLAYOFFS): 32GP, 29GS, 14G
ANALYSIS: Already a fan favourite, Fisk is arguably the engine that runs the U18’s attack whether he plays centrally or on the left wing. He shows good attacking ability with pace and likes to take on defenders, either to break them down to score a goal or deliver the ball into the box to set one up. In addition to those attributes his work rate and underrated toughness will help him reach the next level professionally and with the national team.
OUTLOOK: It has been rumoured that Fisk has officially signed with an agent, which makes him ineligible for the NCAA and will mean he will certainly go the professional route.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “Highly skilled and dynamic player who is very attack minded but will need to raise his level of consistency to another level in order to breakthrough and become a top professional.”
JOHN THORRINGTON ON FISK: “He’s got great ability and pace. There aren’t many guys that can attack 1v1, beat people and is a threat to goal. He also serves a decent ball into the box. For him, the question will be consistency as he shows in flashes what he can do and if he can do that on a consistent basis he has the potential to have a great career.”
So that’s out top twenty all listed for you.
Want a quick reminder of who they all were? Then here you go….
Do you agree? What changes would you make? Let us know below.
We might do it all over again next year.