VANCOUVER, B.C. – Check another box on the growing resume of Vancouver Whitecaps youngster Bryce Alderson.
The 18-year-old is ready to set off with club teammate Russell Teibert to Sunrise, Fla., linking up with Canada’s Under-23 squad for a training camp ahead of the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament.
The tournament itself takes place in Nashville, Tenn., from March 22 to April 2, and while Teibert has previously been involved with the U-23s, this is Alderson's first chance to play at that age level.
“So far it’s gone well, from after the Under-17 World Cup to now, and moving on to the Whitecaps first team,” Alderson told MLSsoccer.com before departing. “It’s gone really well, and I think it’s nice to get rewarded for that. Any time you get to put on the jersey it’s an honor, so it’ll be great to get another chance.”
For the central midfielder, who has captained his country at the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship and 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup and has won Canada’s U-17 Player of the Year award two years running, it’s a natural progression.
“It will be a leap, but at the same time I don’t think it’ll be much different than here,” Alderson said. “It’s a great team we have here with the first team [in Vancouver], so I don’t think I’ll see much of a gap.”
Alderson signed a Generation adidas deal with the Whitecaps on Nov. 17, and head coach Martin Rennie singled out the Kitchener, Ontario, native as one to watch during a postseason evaluation camp which immediately followed the 2011 season.
Showing composure on the ball and tenacity off it, Alderson has continued to impress in preseason, and even earned a spot in the 18-man squad for the club’s 2012 season opener, in which Vancouver defeated the Montreal Impact 2-0.
While he hasn’t made his professional debut just yet, Alderson still felt a bit of a sting in leaving his club – especially when things are going so well.
“With the season starting, there’s a lot of excitement, “Alderson said. “It would be nice to be here with the guys and supporting them, but at the same time getting a chance to put on the jersey and play for your national team is always great as well.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.