Oliver Mepham, 14, aims to score an MLS goal one day. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)

Oliver Mepham, 14, aims to score an MLS goal one day. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)

Maple Ridge striker on path to play in Major League Soccer

Oliver Mepham, 14, has been selected to join the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS Academy

Oliver Mepham is one step closer to the most important goal of his young sporting career.

The 14-year-old Maple Ridge soccer phenom was selected last year to train with the Vancouver Whitecaps pre-MLS program, and is aiming to move into the club’s residency program/ MLS academy at University Hill Secondary.

Since lacing up the cleats at the age of six, Mepham has known soccer was going to play a major part in his life.

“It was the best sport,” he said.

As a young striker, Mepham was gifted with both feet, which set him apart from the other kids, his father, Curtis, said.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Soccer welcomes former Whitecaps coach to club

READ MORE: Vancouver Whitecaps sign 16-year-old B.C. player

After playing his first few seasons in Maple Ridge, he wanted a bigger challenge, and tried out for the BC Soccer Premier League club in Coquitlam.

His dad said he was one of only two kids from outside the club to be selected, so Mepham had to make an impression on them really quick.

From there, he was asked to try out for the pre-MLS program, and was part of a group of 17 kids who were whittled down from more than 50.

The training has been heavy. Mepham is playing soccer five days a week, and has been doing strength work on top of that. Next semester he will join his team mates studying full time at University Hill Secondary, near UBC, and playing intensive soccer too.

Playing for Major League Soccer is his goal, and he sees himself reaching it.

“I just need to work harder,” he said.

Have a story tip? Email: ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

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