Over the summer months, the club’s management has been hard at work behind the scenes, and we now have two exciting announcements to make regarding the upcoming Vancouver Metro Soccer League season:
Rino’s Vancouver SC and FC Tigers Vancouver have merged operations to field a team in the VMSL Premier Division
For the past several years, Rino’s Vancouver SC has fielded a Division 1 side in the VMSL which has been a perennial contender for promotion, but has never quite been able to achieve that goal. In the last two years, a new challenger has emerged, FC Tigers Vancouver, and in the 2014-15 season the Tigers successfully earned promotion to Premier by virtue of a 2nd place finish. Since the end of the winter season Tigers management came to realise the difficulty of the task at hand, and an idea sparked that if they combined forces with another well-established club they would be better suited to challenge the VMSL Premier division. A number of clubs were considered, with Rino’s being one of them.
While the two clubs have competed across multiple fronts in VMSL Div 1 League and Imperial Cup play in winters, as well as Division 1 of the RRSL in the summers, they have also shared a lot in common. The two clubs have shared the same training facilities, numerous players have pulled on both the blue jersey of Rino’s and the red of Tigers, and of course they have a shared passion for football. Finally, an approach was made, and after weeks of hard negotiations an agreement was reached, resulting in the combined club being the only one in the city set to field teams in the top three divisions of the VMSL (Premier, Div 1, and Div 2), the pinnacle of which will be the premier team playing as FC Tigers Vancouver Rino.
Former Swiss International Footballer, Blaise Nkufo, has been appointed Head Coach of the FC Tigers Vancouver Rino Premier Team
Once the ink dried on the Tigers/Rino’s agreement, the next task at hand was to find a suitable coach to lead the team in its first year of VMSL Premier play. Having a third party was preferred so as to not bring any biases into the equation with regards to player selection, and the leading candidate emerged as Blaise Nkfuo. Blaise should need no introduction, but for the uninitiated here is a rundown on his playing career highlights:
- US Open Cup Champion in 2010 (Seattle Sounders, Major League Soccer, USA)
- Honored with a bronze statue in 2010 (FC Twente, Eredivisie, Holland)
- FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa (Swiss National Team)
- Eredivisie Champion in 2009-2010 (FC Twente, Eredivisie, Holland)
- All time top scorer (FC Twente, Eredivisie, Holland)
- UEFA Champions League and Europa League Games (FC Twente, Eredivisie, Holland)
- Swiss Cup Champion in 1998 (FC Lausanne-Sport, Super League, Switzerland)
Since retiring as a professional player, Blaise earned a UEFA coaching license and founded two centres for the development of young footballers, N.K.U.F.O. Academy Sports in Yaoundé (Cameroon), and BlaiseSoccer Elite Training in Vancouver (Canada). Blaise is passionate about developing players into professionals, and with his expertise has already shown great results in a short period of time. In Yaoundé, N.K.U.F.O. Academy pupil Olivier Simo Kingue was selected earlier this year for the Cameroon U-23 National Team! Meanwhile in Vancouver, BlaiseSoccer Elite trainee David Genet attended open tryouts with 130 top local players, and was 1 of just 5 who earned an invitation to join the Whitecaps FC 2 in their inaugural pre-season preparations.
More recently, Blaise coached the Saudia Arabia team at the Nations Cup tournament in Richmond, BC. The team finished 2nd in their group, with their only loss coming to an eventual tournament finalist. What stood out most to the hundreds of spectators in attendance was the impressive style the team played, as well as the young age of many of the players, the youngest of which was just 15. For more information on BlaiseSoccer Elite Training visit www.blaisesoccer.com
We are extremely fortunate to have the privilege to work with Blaise this season, and we hope that our current and prospective players are ready to rise to the challenge and have a great Premier season under his direction. If you are interested in opportunities to tryout, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org