The Canadian Men’s Soccer team plays Mexico tonight at B.C. Place in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match slated to be in front of a record-breaking crowd.
David Haber, the Chair of the Vancouver Youth Soccer Association, says while soccer has always been a high participation sport at the amateur level, there’s a deepening respect for professional level soccer.
“One of the things that has happened at the national and provincial level in the last five to eight years is a greater understanding in terms of what it takes to develop players of distinction.
Haber is also a soccer parent – the father of national team stiker Marcus Haber.
He says his son’s soccer journey was one the entire family ended up going on.
“Actually, it was most difficult when he was a youth player, when really the tough decision as a family was you know, acknowledging you wanted to be a professional athlete, you had to leave the country. While he was in high school, he spent his last two youth years in Holland.”
Haber says there are more opportunities now for young soccer players to develop professionally right here at home.
He says there are about 100,000 registered amateur soccer players in B.C.