It was just another June practice for the Langley United Strikers, or so it seemed.
Then, out of nowhere, Vancouver Whitecaps player Ethan Sampson showed up. The U11 boys were beside themselves.
A 20-year-old defender from South Africa, Sampson answered questions on life, training, childhood idols and, of course, World Cup favorites. Sampson then proceeded to participate in drills with the boys.
â€œIt was interesting to see how quickly the boys picked up on Ethanâ€™s technical ability to defend,â€ United coach Adam Woelders said. â€œRight away, you can see their adjustments in technique just by watching Ethan.â€
Woelders took a step back to watch Sampson lead by example.
As the practice progressed, Ethan was â€œooohhingâ€ and â€œaaahhingâ€ the kids and parents with his ball mastery.
After one-versus-one and two-versus-two drills, Sampson participated in a scrimmage with the coaches and Strikers.
â€œIt was really cool to see a real professional player,â€ Striker Lucas Woelders said. â€œSome of the stuff he said was really interesting. Like he said , ou need to play every game and practice like it was your last because you never know who is watching you. It was also fun to play with a real professional and to experience how good you need to be.â€
After the practice Sampson signed autographs on jerseys, shoes, and cards.
â€œIt was a great experience for Ethan and the kids,â€ coach Woelders said. â€œHis genuine show of passion and dedication for the game will definitely have a lasting impression on the boys.â€