Kianz Froese is one of eight young Manitoban men who were selected to be on national soccer teams.
Playing soccer since he was just four years old, Froese, now 17, played in St. James for the Portage Trail Soccer Club for four years.
Originally selected for the U18 team, Froese, who grew up in the North End, is now on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s U23 team.
"I came in on a trial," Froese said from Vancouver during a phone interview. "They decided they wanted me to be part of the club. It’s obviously a great opportunity (to) continue to improve on your skills."
Technical director for the Manitoba Soccer Association Robert Gale has worked with Froese. Although Gale believes the teen has what it takes to make it to the big leagues, Froese still has a lot of learning and improving to do.
"Like any young player, he needs to develop his range. Shooting from distance, he could be better at. He needs to know when to release the ball," Gale listed.
So far, Froese has found the experience challenging but worthwhile.
"The game tempo was faster, and the plays were really good, better than what I’ve seen," Froese said of the six games he and his teammates recently played in Spain. "It was a good experience."
Froese is looking forward to improving his game rather than dwell on his mistakes.
"In soccer, you just need to get over it, because the turnaround is pretty fast, and if you dwell on your mistakes, it just brings you down," Froese explained.
While playing for the Whitecaps, Froese is living with a billet dedicated for out-of-town players.
"Everything’s worked around a specific schedule, so we can play (soccer) and go to school," Froese said.
"If all goes well he will eventually get offered a professional contract when he’s 18," Gale said. "(Froese will) be there for the next year for sure, and then we hope he gets offered a full-time professional contract."
Other Manitoban youth who were recruited to national teams include Alic Rasmussen, Ali Musse, Marco Bustos, Enrique Garcea, Joseph Melong, Dylan Carreiro, and Dylan Sacramento.
Héctor Vergara, executive director of the Manitoba Soccer Association, said in a press release, "We wish the players much success as they embark on new experiences that will give them more taste of the international game and no doubt will leave them hungry for more opportunities."
For more information about the Vancouver Whitecaps or for a schedule of upcoming games, visit whitecapsfc.com