Whitecaps tap Winnipeg soccer stars

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:01 AM ET

WINNIPEG - A local soccer phenom is getting a crack at pursuing his dream in Vancouver.

Both Marco Bustos, who was invited to a 10-day tryout with the Liverpool Football Club last year, and Ali Musse, who played for the WSA Winnipeg last season, have made the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency Academy team, which means they will be attending high school there while training.

“I have mixed emotions,” Bustos said Tuesday. “I’m excited I got recognized but I am leaving home and all my friends. I’ve always been around my dad (Alex), but I am excited to play in Vancouver.”

The Whitecaps cover the costs and both Bustos and Musse will billet with the same family in Vancouver.

“It will be a lot more fun staying with someone I know there,” said Bustos, 15.

Bustos knows the move will help him achieve his soccer dreams.

“My goal is to get experience in Vancouver, but my goal is to play professional in Europe,” said the attacking midfielder. “But first, I want to play Major League soccer for the Whitecaps.”

It is a one-year program to start, but Bustos could be sent home at any time if he does not keep up, Alex said.

“It’s a very good opportunity and I think it will open some doors for him,” said Alex, a former member of the Winnipeg Fury. “He is on a new adventure of his young soccer life. We all know Marco will take full advantage of the opportunity to make this experience a very rewarding and successful one.”

The Academy team plays against 10 other sides along the West coast all year long.

Both Bustos and Musse leave Monday but first, a farewell soccer friendly will be played at the Winnipeg Soccer Complex (Waverley Street) on Saturday at 8 p.m. Bustos and Musse will play for the U20 Winnipeg All-Star team against Hellas. Admission is free as the game is not a fundraiser.

Bustos is also hoping to get picked for the Canada U17 team that will play in a tournament in Spain come November.


Videos

Photos