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Whitecaps running soccer skills camp

Young soccer players look to their coach at the beginning of a drill during at a Vancouver Whitecaps FC skills camp at Moir Park. The camp will run Monday to Wednesday, capped off with an appearance from Whitecaps FC forward Omar Salgado and Canadian soccer legend Sam Lenarduzzi. - Trevor Crawley photo
Young soccer players look to their coach at the beginning of a drill during at a Vancouver Whitecaps FC skills camp at Moir Park. The camp will run Monday to Wednesday, capped off with an appearance from Whitecaps FC forward Omar Salgado and Canadian soccer legend Sam Lenarduzzi.
— image credit: Trevor Crawley photo

Local soccer players are getting some professional coaching at a soccer camp organized by the MLS's Vancouver Whitecaps this week at Moir Park.

It's a three day event, with kids from U7-U14 learning new skills in morning sessions that will be capped off by an appearance from a professional player and a Canadian soccer legend on Wednesday.

Brett Adams, a regional head coach for the Whitecaps, is impressed with the number of young soccer players who registered and the support in Cranbrook.

"Currently, we've got 62 kids on the course, which, for a first-time effort, is an unbelievable turnaround. We've got five groups of kids and five coaches working. We're excited about it for the amount of kids we've got for a first try.

"...We've got a technical program. The first day today, we worked on passing and running with the ball. Tomorrow, we're going to be working on shooting and dribbling. The last day is kind of a recap of all along with a mini-World Cup."

Occupying the upper fields at Moir Park, Adams and his assistant, Sam Heap, were able to get the camp going with some help from player-coaches both locally and abroad.

"We've got somebody from Nelson who's come across who is actually a qualified coach and we also got two younger guys who have played at a decent level and we've got Peter [Black], who is in our program and is shown good promise to become a coach."

While the kids get the chance to learn and improve their skills, they will also get the chance to meet Omar Salgado, a forward currently on the roster with the Whitecaps, as well as Sam Lenarduzzi, a Canadian soccer legend who played professionally with the Vancouver Columbus, the predecessor to the Whitecaps. Lenarduzzi represented Canada in the country's only appearance at the World Cup in 1986 and is a member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.

"It's unbelievable to get him to come out to an area like this," said Adams. "His background—obviously, he's played for the Whitecaps for 10 years and has been a professional soccer player, but not only that, he was captain of the Canadian team that went to the World Cup.

"For these kids to meet somebody who's captained a country at the World Cup is phenomenal."

Salgado, a first overall selection in the MLS SuperDraft in 2011, is in his fourth year with the Whitecaps and is a promising young professional talent, according to Adams.

"It's really, really exciting for them to meet these type of people because it's not everyday you get to meet a professional soccer player and another who's played at the World Cup," Adams continued.

Salgado and Lenarduzzi will be at Moir Park on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

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