One of the hot topics amongst fans at Residency games is always which players do we think can go on and become professional footballers, either with the Whitecaps MLS squad or somewhere else in the world.
That got us thinking. Who are the top prospects in the Whitecaps Residency program and how would you rank them? So looking at only the current U16s and U18s (who have not signed a MLS contract), that’s what we’ve done.
We continue our top twenty countdown of Residency talent with a look at numbers 11 to 15.
The rankings are a snapshot of where the players are in their development combined with the potential they show to develop into professional footballers.
You can find Part One of the series HERE.
15 – Marco Carducci
HOMETOWN: Calgary, Alberta
2011/12 STATS: 14GS, 13GS
ANALYSIS: Carducci made an impressive debut at his first home game as a Cap, where he made a stop on a penalty early in the match which they won 1-0. The Calgary native is a smaller keeper who relies on his reflexes as well as his command of the box. While he is not afraid to go get the ball in the air Carducci will need to get stronger as he progresses to the next levels of development.
OUTLOOK: One of the younger players on the U16 side, Carducci is eligible to remain at that level where he will be the odds on favourite to be the number one keeper.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “Another up and comer for the organization. As one of the younger kids, it’s hard to predict where he’s going to be in a few years. He’s already come along leaps and bounds within the program and will need to continue working with the coaches to learn the game.”
14 – Adam Polakiewicz
HOMETOWN: Kitchener, Ontario
2011/12 STATS: 23GP, 20GS, 0G
ANALYSIS: A player who came to the organization as a midfielder/defender, Polakiewicz has exclusively been a left back for the Residency program. A three time starter for the Canadian national team at the U17 World Cup, he plays a solid physical game on the backline, showing good ability at distributing the ball going forward. Polakiewicz will need to work on his consistency going forward in attack and delivering crosses into the box.
OUTLOOK: While he is eligible to return to the U18 team for another year, we have heard that Polakiewicz will test his chances in Europe, starting in Poland where he holds citizenship.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “Another player among the U18s who has improved greatly since his arrival. Possessing a great left foot, Adam’s decision making has come along as to when to go forward and when to stay back. He’s not afraid to play physical and enjoys the game, giving him a future in the game.”
13 – Wes Cain
HOMETOWN: Guelph, Ontario
2011/12 STATS: 26GP, 16GS, 3G
ANALYSIS: Another native of Ontario, Cain possesses great pace down the right side of the midfield where he displays his athletic ability. He is strong on the ball and has decent finishing ability for a wide midfielder. The one part of his game that Cain will need to work on his distribution ability from the wide side, especially on his crosses into the box.
OUTLOOK: Cain is eligible to return to the Whitecaps residency program for another season with the U18 team.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “He’s a quick and athletic player who can finish at times, but shows those attributes in flashes. Wes needs to show more extended periods of him impacting the game than he does now.”
12 – Jackson Farmer
HOMETOWN: Edmonton, Alberta
2011/12 STATS: 24GP, 24GS, 1G
ANALYSIS: Named the captain of the U16 team from the beginning of the season, the coaches recognized the leadership ability of the central defender. Farmer is physically mature for his age with room to grow and is a gritty defender who excels at tackling and clearing the box. Having already played for Canada at the U15 level, as a Captain, he was recently called up to a U18 camp for the national team.
OUTLOOK: Farmer has graduated from the U16 level and will move up to the U18 team where he will be strongly considered as a starter on the backline.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “Jackson has a physical presence for a young kid. He is huge and still growing into his body. On the pitch he is a leader, is composed and comfortable on the ball and very effective at clearing the ball out of the box. Similar to all the U16s, it will be exciting to see how he develops in the next few years.”
11 – Alex Rowley
HOMETOWN: Maple Ridge, BC
2011/12 STATS: 25GP, 19GS, 1G
ANALYSIS: An all-around footballer, Rowley plays a balanced game as a holding midfielder in the U18 team. He does everything well on the pitch, including playing solid defensively, is strong on the ball and can distribute well in tight spaces. Rowley, who has trained in Europe, possesses many of the intangibles that clubs are looking for on their team.
OUTLOOK: Having graduated from the Residency program, he will be attending university at SFU where he will look to continue his development.
SCOUT’S TAKE: “I am very high on Rowley as he has a fantastic workrate, plays a blue collar type of game and is prepared to get stuck doing a lot of the dirty work required by the team. Having said that he has the ability to play but must work on his long range passing and decision making at times.”
Before we end part two of our countdown, we wanted to note that not every player could make the Top Twenty. Some missed out through either injury or not having seen them play enough for the Caps this season.
So we felt it was only right to have some honourable mentions and in the first two parts of our countdown. Last week we looked at the U16s who just missed out and today it’s the U18s.
U18 Honourable Mentions
There were three players who were unable to crack our Top 20 Residency players from the U18 squad for various reasons. We feel Tim Hickson was miscast as a central defender when he was converted from a midfielder. If he is looking to continue his work towards a pro career his option would be a holding midfielder. Jason Van Blerk, according to our scout, is one of the most athletically gifted player among the U18s but will have to work on his technical skills and avoid the injury bug as he continues his development at SFU. The U18 backup keeper Sean Melvin suffered a knee injury early this season and was unable to get on track but should return to the U18 team where he will be the number one keeper.