It’s never too early to think about the future and when you’re the Whitecaps, who possess one of the best run academy systems in MLS, there are plenty of young’uns coming down the pike to get excited about. Here at 86 Forever, we decided to start taking a look at some of the top young talent plying their trade for Vancouver Whitecaps 2 in USL, as well as in the Whitecaps Residency. Some of these guys won’t be taking the pitch at BC Place for many years but these profiles will hopefully give you an idea of what they have to offer when they do.
Today we start our profiles with one of the most consistent members of VW2 the past couple of seasons: right back/winger Kadin Chung. A Port Coquitlam, British Columbia native, Chung was signed in August of 2015 from the Residency program after a productive four year stint on the U-16 squad. Over the course of three seasons with the U-16s, Chung started all but eight matches and helped guide the squad to back-to-back Northwest Division titles in the U.S. Soccer Developmental League, the top youth soccer division in the U.S./Canada. He signed for VWFC 2 in August of 2015 and made his debut at the tail end of that season.
So what does Kadin bring to the Thundercaps (and hopefully soon the senior squad)? Mixing a blend of pace, flair and defensive awareness, Chung is the prototype of the modern fullback. He has no qualms about going forward and contributing offensively and has a strong crossing ability that seems to make him a good fit for the type of player Carl Robinson likes using at fullback. While he has not tallied a goal in USL play, he is not shy about moving forward--his assist against Tulsa in May of last year was a particular highlight.
But Chung is not one-dimensional--he is willing and able to contribute defensively as well. Often he has been matched up with attackers much more experienced and physically developed and Chung has used his pace and positioning to hold his own. While his tackling is not elite and his 5’9 frame puts him several inches shorter than most of his adversaries, he has been resolute in 1v1 situations and has a skillset that belies his young age.
His talent has earned him accolades and attention, both for club and for country. Chung checked in at number 18 in the USL’s “20 under 20” list highlighting the best young talent in the league, joining Marco Bustos and Alphonso Davies as the only Caps prospects to make the cut. The TopDrawerSoccer.com report included in his profile notes he offers “everything you’d want from an outside back in the modern game” and praises his crossing and defensive abilities. He also earned a USL Team of the Week appearance after his sterling performance against the Roughnecks mentioned above.
Chung also has gotten multiple youth caps for the Canadian National Teams, earning a total of 15 call-ups for the U23s, U20s and U17s. After a strong showing in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, Chung took home the Canadian U-17 player of the year honors after starting every match of the tournament at left back. He also featured on Canada’s team in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in February.
Among the brightest stars in the Thundercap galaxy, Chung seems well positioned to compete with Jakob Nerwinski to serve as Sheanon Williams’ heir apparent. And while he has been used at right back in USL, the fact that he has played left back for both the Canadian Youth National Teams and in over 50 Residency appearances means that he could have utility in that position as well. While his lack of size could be a potential issue at the MLS level, all other signs point the Chung being a real asset for the Whitecaps for many, many years