A native of Abbotsford

A native of Abbotsford

UFV goalkeeper going pro with the Whitecaps

Abbotsford’s Mark Village signs with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2

UFV men’s soccer goalie Mark Village has saved the best for last. The fifth-year graduating goalie has signed with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.

“It’s a little bit surreal,” Village said. “It’s a nice transition from university soccer to be playing for a pro club.

Village signed a pro contract with the Caps FC2  after receiving a training camp invite from the club. FC2 is the Caps’ new United Soccer Leagues (USL) side, which will be the bridge between its youth residency program and the MLS first squad.

“I kind of went into camp hoping to enjoy myself, because you don’t get those opportunities every day. I ended up enjoying myself so much that I played really well. I was nice and relaxed, trying not to succumb to the pressures of being on trial with a pro team.”

WFC2 begins its inaugural campaign with a four-game road trip, starting Sunday in Seattle against Sounders FC 2. Their home opener is April 19 against Toronto FC II at UBC Thunderbird Stadium.

“We’re very pleased to add three more promising young players to the roster ahead of our inaugural match on Sunday,” said WFC2 head coach Alan Koch. “Mark and Sahil are both talented local players and Victor is a very skilled Spanish player who grew up playing in the FC Barcelona academy. Each of them have worked hard to earn this opportunity.”

A native of Abbotsford, Village played five season for  his hometown Cascades, and developed into one of the top keepers in Canada West.

Village was a conference second team all-star in 2012, and backstopped UFV to its first-ever playoff berth and a Canada West bronze medal in 2013. He missed the first half of the 2014 campaign due to a concussion, but returned to help the team to its second straight post-season appearance.

“I’m delighted for Mark – he’s a smashing kid,” said Alan Errington, the longtime Cascades head coach, who is set to retire at month’s end. “His foot’s in the door (with the Whitecaps), and he’s just got to kick it further open. No pun intended – his kicking is second to none. When he’s got the ball at his feet, he’s amazing. And he’s a good goalkeeper, too. I’m very happy for him.”