Dozens of local soccer players got a chance to visit with the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Darren Mattocks this week during a five-day camp in Abbotsford.
It was the first visit to the city for Mattocks, who plies his trade as a striker for the MLS club and the Jamaican National Team.
“It’s great. I have no regrets about coming out here on my day off,” Mattocks told The News.
“Off-the-field activities are just as important for the club and we really look forward to doing things like this … [and] the kids know who I am, they know my number.”
The Whitecaps currently sit second in the Western Conference, just one point behind first-place L.A. Galaxy, and the strong season can only help the team’s popularity around the Lower Mainland.
Luanne Boulton drove both her kids, Kaitlyn, 10, and Jordan, 12, out from Langley to attend the camp, which kicked off Monday.
“The kids get one day with a pro and [can] get an autograph and picture so it’s great for them,” said Boulton.
The Boultons have been Whitecaps season ticket-holders for the past three years.
“It’s fun. We don’t mind the drive out to Vancouver.”
The Whitecaps have been hosting camps around B.C. and elsewhere in the country for the four years Mattocks has been with the organization.
“It’s really good for the club and for the players to spread the Whitecaps brand across B.C.,” he said. “I would like to think one day I could be an ambassador for this club.”
Vancouver plays Dallas FC, who sit fifth in the west, this weekend at BC Place.