FRISCO, Texas – Don't be fooled by the stellar defensive record of the Vancouver Whitecaps U-17 academy team at least week's Generation adidas Cup. Whitecaps U-17s coach Rich Fagan has also assembled some special attacking talent, headlined by the brothers Massud and Kamron Habibullah.
The Habibullah brothers joined the Whitecaps Residency program from Mountain United FC in the local EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League. Massud, born in 2002, is deployed most commonly as the team’s striker, while his younger brother Kamron, born in 2003, supports him as a left winger.
The duo carry an amazing backstory. Their father Muhibullah hails from Afghanistan but emigrated to Tashkent, Uzbekistan at age 16, where he met his wife Gavkhar. The family relocated to British Columbia in 2005 and with Muhibullah providing daily tutelage starting at kindergarten age, the boys prospered after they began organized play at South Burnaby Metro Club.
Despite being only 15, Kamron joined Marc Dos Santos’ first team for preseason this past winter, making two appearances during the Pacific Rim Cup in Hawaii. He turned heads again in the spring when he joined the Whitecaps FC Development Squad on a trip to England and — competing against opponents twice his age — scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 exhibition win over men's side Merstham FC. Soon, he'll get the chance to do it again after being named to the Canada U-17 national team for May's Concacaf Championship, which doubles as U-17 World Cup qualifying, while Massud will travel with the squad as an alternate.
During GA Cup Premier Division play, both players shined brightly for the ‘Caps. Kamron bagged four goals and two assists in six appearances, while Massud pitched in with four goals of his own.
“Basically, [Kamron and I] don’t even need to talk on the field. We just know where we want the ball and what we like to do,” Massud told MLSsoccer.com after the team’s final GA Cup match on Saturday, a 5-1 win over Columbus Crew SC. “It’s pretty fun when I get to combine and break lines with him.”
Though the brothers are not yet signed to professional deals, both appear to possess the kind of special attacking qualities that could make them valuable to Vancouver’s first team.
“We still have the USSDA season to finish, plus the playoffs. I want our team to be able to go into the playoffs and show who we are as a team,” Kamron told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday. “But obviously it’s a goal of mine to sign a professional contract.”
With the U-17 team’s No. 10, Simon Colyn, having already signed a first-team contract while featuring alongside the Habibullah brothers, the future of the Vancouver Whitecaps attack looks to be in good hands.