[DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY] The Vancouver Whitecaps, who have been spending more than $1 million U.S. each year on their full-time, fully funded residency program launched in 2007, will join the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and begin competing during the 2011-12 season.
Vancouver, the first Canadian program admitted to the Development Academy, is expanding its youth program to include 80 elite athletes beginning at the under-14 age group and ranging through the U-17/18 age group.
When the Whitecaps launched their program, they recr uited players from across Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. They are now limited to Western Canada, parts of Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
Its former residents include 18-year-old Floridian Brian Sylvestre, who entered the Vancouver residency program in February 2010 and signed a homegrown contract.
U.S. youth stars Joe Gyau and Charles Renken were parked at Vancouver before joining German club Hoffenheim's youth system.