Ethan Heavey, 15, was recently recognized as one of the Whitecaps FC Academy Centre Players of the Year. The program is about learning to play soccer the Whitecaps Way, according to Heavey.
“It’s about playing fast, counter-attacking soccer, putting advanced team formations into practice, such as 4-3-3, so that we learn how to play and move as a cohesive unit, and, equally important, demonstrating respect for everyone,” he said.
When Heavey found out that he won the award he thought it was just his dad pranking him.
“Last Tuesday on the way back from school I got a text from my dad, which I thought was a wind up so I ignored it. It wasn’t until later in the day I actually read the announcement,” he said. “After the initial surprise I was ecstatic. It’s a huge honour. The program is challenging and immensely rewarding, the award is just icing on the cake.”
Heavey believes he was chosen for the award because of his dedication to his team and the game.
“I play with passion, pace and power when I wear my Whitecaps jersey. Even outside of practice during our rep season, I continue to play the Whitecaps Way and seek to support and inspire those around me to become better players. Or perhaps it was for my good looks and charm,” laughed Heavey.
The teen travels to Cranbrook for the majority of his sessions. Luckily, his school – The Fernie Academy, has a dedicated Whitecaps soccer program so he can do some of his work locally. Players on his team hail from Invermere, Kimberley, Cranbrook and Fernie. Heavey has been playing with the squad for two years.
“Over the past two years the Whitecaps Academy has opened up the world of high performance soccer to me. The level of professional coaching and support provided by Brett Adams, Sam Heap and Drissa Bouare is outstanding,” said Heavey. “The Academy gives us the opportunity to be trained by the best coaches in B.C., play against the best players in B.C., and to be seen by scouts as we play in tournaments as far away as Vancouver.”
The Whitecaps mantra is “Our all. Our honour.” Two members of the Kootenay East Academy Centre, including Heavey were chosen for the award because of their embodiment of the mantra.
“Our All is about giving your best. I like to arrive early for training, games or when volunteering and be mentally prepared to push myself to excel, every time. Our Honour. It’s about being proud to represent the club, but not taking that for granted. When I wear the Whitecaps badge I interact with professional players, opposition coaches, supporters and junior players the same way, I do so with the highest level of respect.”
Heavey believes that he would not have received the award if it weren’t for the many people that have helped him.
“Coach Sam Heap has been brutal with his assessment of my weaknesses, which in hindsight has been a big turning point in the technical part of my game. There’s nothing like an honest chat from a fantastic mentor to set you on the right path,” he said. “I would love to thank a few people; Brett and his team for bringing the fantastic Whitecaps program to the Kootenays, my strength and conditioning coaches Jeromy and Dustin at Fernie Crossfit and my parents for being good taxi drivers.”
Heavey has been playing the sport since he was five-years-old and has no intentions of stopping.
“I love soccer. It’s a fantastic sport because it tests all aspects of your ability to perform effectively in a competitive team environment,” he said. “You have to be physically strong and fit. You have to be able to make the right decisions quickly. You need to be technically proficient, and you need to understand the ebb and flow of the game.”