One of four Vancouverites on the Whitecaps residency roster, Ben Fisk is a promising example that fans of professional soccer in this city will soon be cheering for locals.
No Vancouver player currently dresses for the 'Caps first team, but 18-year-old Fisk was called up to the reserve squad and in August he came off the bench and in his debut match against the L.A. Galaxy reserve team, notched an assist.
"I think I am an example for kids that it is possible to come up through all the ranks and now I'm getting the chance to show what I can do at the highest level," said Fisk, an East Side resident who attended Van Tech secondary.
Residency program technical director and head coach Richard Grootscholten said the Whitecaps gave him a mandate to scout, train and prepare talent for the highest level of professional soccer in North America.
"That's the only goal they gave me: to develop players for the first team and maybe to other countries and other leagues in the world," said the tall Dutchman. "We absolutely want more players from B.C. ...You have to have fans who recognize players or names from the areas where you are living. It's always good to have players in our first team who are grown up in the city of Vancouver."
Major League soccer rewards clubs for developing homegrown talent and the Whitecaps have set the bar with their prospect and residency programs.
Fisk, whose first introduction to soccer came through neighbourhood clubs such as the Grandview Legion, I.C.S.F, Marpole Youth Soccer and eventually Richmond's Total Soccer System, is a measure of the development program's success.
A two-footed forward, Fisk played with the Vancouver Selects and was also recruited for the provincial team.
"One thing about Ben, first of all, I like his attitude," said his former Team B.C. head coach Sam Vakili. "As a striker, he loves to finish. This is one thing about him he really wants."
If Fisk is an example of the club's future, he'll be finishing for the Whitecaps first team. firstname.lastname@example.org