After a stellar three years in the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency program, Nolan Wirth is ready to move on.
The talented Comox goalkeeper finished up his U18 stint with the ’Caps at the United States Soccer Development Academy playoffs, June 23-26 in Westfield, Indiana.
The ’Caps Whitecaps tied Solar Chelsea 2-2 in their opener June 23 and blanked Georgia United 4-0 on June 24. They needed to beat Bethseda-Olney on June 25 but fell 5-3.
The ’Caps were up 2-0 when goalie Marco Carducci was sent off for a controversial foul inside the area.
The game was tied 3-3 with 30 minutes to play, but Bethseda-Olney pulled ahead just minutes after the Caps’ equalizer and added a late insurance tally.
Bethseda-Olney advanced to the quarter-finals while the Whitecaps packed their bags for the final time this year.
Wirth enjoyed another successful – and busy – season with the Whitecaps. Training five days a week and playing games on the weekend, the team played 27 regular season games from September through May. Wirth also saw regular action with the ’Caps’ U23 United Soccer League Premier Development League squad.
He also trained occasionally with the Whitecaps’ MSL team and, “Whitecaps’ MLS goalkeeper coach Marius Rovde speaks very highly of Nolan,” a team spokesperson said.
While he continues to improve technically and tactically, Wirth says his personal growth was the biggest factor in his development this year. “It’s just maturing as a person and a goalkeeper,” the 19-year-old said, adding he’s also honed his leadership and game management skills.
With the USSDA playoffs in the books, Wirth plans to head to university in the United States to play soccer and take general studies for a couple of years. “The Whitecaps will still have my MSL homegrown rights,” Wirth said, adding that if the opportunity presented itself in a few years time, he would “for sure” like to play for Vancouver.
Wirth is also the number one goalkeeper for Canada’s U20 team. In May the national team was in Florida where, with Wirth between the posts, they drew with Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL and defeated Orlando City, a team going into the MSL next season.
“Overall it was a good camp,” Wirth said of the team’s initial preparation for next year’s CONCACAF U20 championships.
At the end of July the Canadian team is going to Ireland, as Wirth’s soccer career continues to carry him around the world. In 2013, he made national and international appearances with the Canada U18 team.
Wirth is a keen follower of this year’s World Cup. “I want the U.S. to do the best they can, just because if they do very well that will change soccer in North America.”