A trio of Nelson players in the Whitecaps 'Caps 2 College” soccer program recently landed spots on college and university varsity teams.
Twin sisters Semegn and Addis Atkinson have been selected to play for the Langara Falcons of Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) while Kieran Dehnel committed to play for the University of Lethbridge of the Canada West USPORT division.
“We couldn’t be prouder of the girls,” said Marinos Papageorgopoulos, BMO Academy Centres director for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“It really is a tremendous achievement for them and a testament to the work they’ve put in throughout the years.”
The Atkinson sisters, born in Ethopia and adopted to Nelson at age six, have been standouts for the Vancouver Whitecaps academy in Nelson since its inception in 2012.
Both girls help out the next generation and give back to the community by working as coaches for the Nelson Soccer Association.
Semegn has decided to pursue a degree in design formation while Addis will study massage therapy.
Langara plays in the PACWEST against Douglas of New Westminster, Capilano of North Vancouver and Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.
Kieran Dehnel committed to play for the University of Lethbridge of the Canada West USPORT division. — Submitted photo
Dehnel decided to commit to the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, which competes against some of the best universities in Western Canada.
Dehnel will join the school’s Bachelor of Science program with a focus on kinesiology.
“(Kieran) has been a very exciting prospect for us and has been on the radar of university coaches for a few years,” Papageorgopoulos explained.
“The dedication Kieran has put in is second to none and we are thrilled to see him make a move to the next level.”
Dehnel joins two of last year ‘Caps to College graduates, Nathaniel Riemer and Cadel Goertzen.
The ‘Caps to College program is a select team made up of players from the entire Kootenay region that travels to showcase tournaments in Canada and the U.S. with the express goal of earning scholarships to colleges and universities across the country said Ryan Clark, Collegiate Transition for Soccer Development for Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“All three players have been with the program since it began three years ago,” Clark said.
“Over the three years, the program has seen 13 players sign for college and university teams, with more 2021 grads expected to add to that total in the coming months."
About Kootenays 'Caps 2 College
Led by Kootenay head coaches Brett Adams, Brenden Teeling and Reynold Stewart supported by Whitecaps Manager of Collegiate Transition Ryan Clark, the Kootenays ‘Caps 2 College (C2C) academy provides players with the best opportunity to play in college and university with Whitecaps head coaching staff and college transition experts. U15 to U18 players are selected from East, West and South Kootenay BMO Centres for specialized training, Showcase events, and Scholarship strategy planning. Programming is based out of Nelson, Cranbrook and Creston.