Meet the Whitecaps in Ladysmith

Vancouver Whitecaps FC players and training staff are coming to Ladysmith Aug. 13-14 for the "Hope and Health" Soccer Event.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton and coach Martin Rennie will lead free sessions at Forrest Field Wednesday

Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton and coach Martin Rennie will lead free sessions at Forrest Field Wednesday

Local soccer players and fans will have a chance to meet the pros in mid-August.

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC are visiting Ladysmith Tuesday, Aug. 13 and Wednesday, Aug. 14 as part of the Vancouver Island Coast Salish “Hope and Health” Soccer Event.

The “Hope and Health” Soccer Event is being co-hosted by the Kwumut Lelum Child and Family Services and the Cowichan Tribes agency.

“It’s basically for First Nations players, and they’ll have a host club provide a technical director who does a Skills and Drills session for the First Nations players, and the Whitecaps players are on the field for that,” explained Mike Rankin, president of the Mid-Island Soccer Club (MISC). “Additionally, the Whitecaps players provide extra sessions.”

This year, those extra sessions are a coaching clinic and a goalkeeper clinic.

Whitecaps players and coaching staff will take part in an Evening of Champions Opening Ceremonies Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre. This event is free and open to the public.

“It’s a real cultural event and soccer event,” said Rankin. “The Evening of Champions ceremony is open to everybody, and it should be fantastic.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 13, the Whitecaps are offering a Coaches Clinic with Martin Rennie and a Keeper Clinic with Brad Knighton at Forrest Field.

The Coaches Clinic (from 9:30-11:30 a.m.) and Keeper Clinic (from 1:30-3:30 p.m.) on Wednesday, Aug. 14 are also free and open to the general public, but participants are asked to bring a registration form with them to Forrest Field.

Member Nations participants can also attend a Skills and Drills session from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, hosted by MISC technical director Bill Merriman and his Highlanders coaches.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Rankin.

Find more information and download the event registration form, visit the MISC’s website.