TELUS/Highlanders - Team Up for Player Development
2011 brought the launch of a very special program and relationship for the Highlanders' youth development programs. Telus has come on board to sponsor scholarships for up and coming players who have been part of the Highlanders' programs and show strong potential.
There are any number of players within our programs who demonstrate great ability and we look forward to the continued support by Telus which will help us acknowledge their abilities in future years.
The 2011-2012 Telus Scholarship recipients are:
Started with the Highlanders as an academy player in the summer of 2010. A former member of the Lakehill Soccer Association and the Lower Island Selects program Josh became a full time member of the Highlanders Prospects for the 2010-2011 winter season. Josh was a key part of the attacking threat offered by that team as they went on to win their league title, league cup, and provincial cup that season. Josh traveled with the Prospects to England in the spring of 2011 where he played against Port Vale FC and Sheffield Wednesday FC. In the Summer of 2011 Josh was recognized by PDL coach Ian Bridge and was signed by the Highlander first team playing in 6 games in 2011 and scoring once, all as a 16 year old. In the 2011-12 Prospects season Josh was again a key figure in the side scoring twice against the Seattle Sounders, and having solid matches against other US Academy League sides, notably the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. Josh has once again has been signed to the PDL team for the summer and has caught the eye of coaches at the Vancouver Whitecaps and University of Washington where he will look to attend school as a University freshman.
Soraya Rizzo started with the club in the inaugural year (summer 2010) of the Highlanders' female programs. After that summer, the Highlanders extended their programming into the Winter Prospects where Soraya joined at the age of 15. Soraya began her career with the Gorge Soccer Association before moving to the LISA Super Y League during the summer and Metro Selects in the winter.
Soraya has progressed from the Highlanders Winter Prospects and is now playing for the PCSL Reserve team in the Premier Division and has been a full-time member of the Club's programs for three years. Heading into Grade 12 this fall at St. Andrews, Soraya has been a consistent performer at every level. A tireless worker on the field and extremely coachable, Soraya has a tough purposeful approach to the game. Many of the Senior players in the W-League team have commented on her mental and physical toughness as well as her tremendous attitude, which will carry her through the next stages of her development.
Liam joined the Highlanders FC academy when it was first launched for his age at the start of 2010-11 and played at the time for Gordon Head u14 gold. Liam was immediately bumped into a u16 academy group and demonstrated the ability and mature to handle playing with players much older than himself.
Liam featured in several academy games for the Highlanders u16s and memorably scored two goals coming on in the late stages against a u16 club side in Victoria. He was 12 years old at the time. A regular standout in academy sessions the '98 born Mcmanaman was invited to travel with the u17 prospects to Seattle in the fall of 2011 and play against the Seattle Sounders and Seattle crossfire 95s. Despite the gap in age Liam was able to find his confidence and put on a solid performance over the two days in Seattle. Liam now plays full time for the VI Wave BCSPL program at u15 as an underage player and continues to train with the Highlanders u16 academy program. He has been identified by the BC Provincial team program and recently attended the first phase of their 2012 programming in Vancouver.
Jonah joined the Highlanders FC academy as a u13 at the start of the 2010-11 playing season and quickly turned the heads of the academy coaches. Despite his relatively small stature Jonah had the ability and intelligence to play along older academy players and often trained and played with the u16s. A savvy central midfielder, Smith is a play-maker and provides good decision making and distribution in the middle of the park when given the chance. Smith currently plays for the VI Wave u14 BCSPL program and is on the radar as a potential player for the Highlanders Prospects should he continue to show the progress that has been seen within the academy program.
Sachi joined the Highlanders program after several summer camp programs in 2011. Joining full time training as a 14 year old, Sachi demonstrated exceptional ability for reading the game. Her energy in every training session was contagious as she continued to challenge the older players with her constant movement. Sachi played with U20 and U18 teams during the winter as she trained three times per week with the Highlanders. Her progress as a player contributed to her ability to have success against regular senior competition. Now a student at Reynolds in the Center for Soccer Excellence, Sachi continues to show her love for the game and for her development. A player that has already caught the eye of college and senior coaches alike and one that is committed to further development within the Highlanders programs.