The PROSPECTS UNDER-18 programs provide the platform for top U17-U18 players to train and compete at the elite level in the Highlanders System. The Highlanders PROSPECTS programs are in the hands of coaches Steve Simonson and Dave Dew. Highlanders PROSPECTS Program is the pinnacle of the Highlanders FC youth development system and serves as a Reserve pool for the men’s Premier Development Team and the women’s PCSL Team.
The Highlanders FC, alongside the club system, will help to develop players from 9-15 years of age through its L2T Centre (in partnership with Vancouver Island Wave) and the Club Prospects Program. From this group, the club will select a handful of the players to join the Prospects program on a full time (year round) basis at U17.
Players who join the Highlanders FC Prospects program will undergo a 2-3 year soccer apprenticeship with the Highlanders FC with two major goals in mind:
- Prepare the players to play in our PDL and PCSL teams or possible professional career in the game,
- Prepare the players for a University soccer opportunity upon completion of their final year of secondary school.
Steve Simonson and Dave Dew serve both as the PROSPECTS Head Coaches and the PDL/PCSL Head Coaches. Consequently they have a hand in the development of the players who will feature in our future first teams. It is critical for our first teams’ successes that there continues to be home grown talent pushing its way into the top tier of the club. This will only come from a solid focus on our youth development programs, especially the full-time PROSPECTS.
VHFC PROSPECTS ANNUAL PROGRAM
Running from August through to late July, a four month general preparation period proceeds, a four month specific preparation period, quickly followed by a main competitive period (Pacific Coast Soccer League Premier Division) and culminates in a transition period for the final few weeks of the program. This transition period is used as a recovery period for players at the end of a competitive summer phase, as well as a transition point into university programs should the players choose that path. The only difference between the boys and girls program is the inclusion of the boys in U21 VISL competitions (league and cup), whereas the girls play in the LIWSL Premier Division. Both boys and girls establish an extensive exhibition schedule both on the island and on the mainland.
The Preparation Period will last from August through to January. The purpose of this phase is to develop the overall soccer and physical abilities of the players. New entry players are brought up to speed with standards of the training environment, and work to prepare themselves for full involvement within the team’s competitive structure. The main focus of the Preparation Period will be player technique, movement skills, strength and physical preparation, playing philosophy and position specific training.
A Specific Preparatory Period will last from February through April with the Competitive Period taking the teams through to the end of July with the PCSL. This final period of the program is where the games' results become meaningful and the focus switches to the competitive side of the performances. With the bulk of the developmental preparation being completed in the Preparation Period, the emphasis can switch to a competitive preparation needed to finalize organizational details for highly competitive matches.
The training volume and intensity will change throughout the year depending on the phase of training and the competition schedule. In general the players should expect to be part of a full time training, education, and development program consisting of the following:
- On field practices (average 3x per week),
- Individual or small group technique sessions,
- Team and small group strength training sessions at PISE,
- Individual strength and conditioning programs,
- Team and small group seminars for sport science and tactics,
- Team and small group physical testing protocols,
- Individual player assessment and feedback sessions.