Regional Training Centre - A chance to be the best

Earlier this year, soccer in our province made a huge breakthrough when Winnipeg was awarded a Regional Training Centre as part of Canada's National Training Centre program.

The premise is simple. The Canadian Soccer Association set up a number of the regional centres across the country where the best players from that region train as a group in order to move their games forward. The best players from these centres go on to national centres in hopes of earning sports on youth national teams.

It is hoped that this program will provide the kind of breakthrough that our national teams need to step up to that elite level.

Here in Winnipeg, the centre is run by Rob Gale (for more information on Rob and his work, check out an earlier post) and has been very successful in unearthing the top young players we have.

The 48 players in the program are from a wide variety of age groups and are judged on a number of things, from their soccer skills, to their teamwork on and off the field, to their intellectual and social skills.

When the program began, Hector Vergara told Free Press soccer writer Jerrad Peters that it was "a very exciting project" and he has recently told me similar things, saying it was a massive step forward for soccer in our province.

As of now, several Manitobans are involved in National team programs, including Alison Clarke who played for Canada's winning team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup recently. The win ensured the team a spot in the World Cup.

Clearly, the program has the potential to move Manitoba to the very forefront of soccer in our country and that can only be a good thing.

The centre has been running out of Glenlawn Collegiate but is moving inside for the winter and will now be held at the WSF complex on the campus of the University of Manitoba.

Stay tuned for a webisode on the centre coming up by December. To learn more about the program now and how you can get involved, check out these links:

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