BMO Featured Players

Whitecaps FC and BMO share a commitment to developing young soccer talent through a coast-to-coast network of Whitecaps BMO Academy Centres.
With World Cup 2026 fast approaching, get to know below some of your future Canadian stars with our Whitecaps FC BMO “Ones to Watch” and “Players of the Month”

Ones to Watch

Ebalo Amuri – BMO Manitoba Academy Centre

Players of the Month – June

Name: Ava Hamilton
Birth Year: 2009
What her coaches say: “Ava has been a role model in her training group since coming into the Academy. Ava trains with a high level of focus and enthusiasm in each activity and sets the tempo in training for the other players to follow. Ava has been excelling in her passing ability especially short to mid-range with good accuracy and weight but needs to improve her longer range. Ava has also been noticeably effective when engaging in 1v1 defensive duels with good timing and anticipation skills. She also has good athletic traits as well. Keep up the great start Ava!”
Name: Shaun Pelemo
Birth Year: 2010
What his coaches say: “Shaun has been a terrific addition to our Academy since we started in Airdrie. Shaun particularly excels in the player tools of receiving the ball and 1v1 attacking. He has a high level of ball mastery which helps give him space and time on the ball. Shaun also has lovely balance and flow when he runs with the ball due to his athleticism. He is also a terrific trainer in relation to his work ethic and engagement throughout each session. I would still like to see Shaun be more ruthless in front of goal and finish his chances whenever he gets an opportunity to score. Keep up the good work Shaun!”
CMSA North
Name: Ashlynn Kane
Birth Year: 2007
What her coaches say: “Ashlynn has been a standout member of our Academy this season. Ashlynn consistently trains with a work ethic and intensity that sets the tone for the rest of the group. What has been impressing the coaches lately as well is her range of passes especially her ability to play disguised passes through the lines. She has also proven to be effective in 1v1 situations defensively in her group. Ash is improving and catching the eye each week. Keep up the great work Ashlynn!”
CMSA North
Name: Desmond Gulley
Birth Year: 2013
What his coaches say: “Des has been dazzling the coaches for the past couple of seasons with his intricate dribbling skills. He has turned it up another notch this season though in relation to his decision-making when passing off the dribble. Des also shows a huge appetite for learning as he practices what we work on in training at home. This is helping him excel really well in his training group by getting that deliberate practice in at home. Keep up the great form dazzling Des!”
CMSA South
Name: Emma Mehillaj
Birth Year: 2010
What her coaches say: “Emma has been a part of our Academy for a couple of phases now and has shown breathtaking ability in different player tools. Emma has great timing in 1v1 situations and also has a natural change of pace with the ball to help her evade recovering defenders. She displays great understanding as well as she releases the ball in the right moments to players in a better position to score as well as coming out of her dead-ends efficiently. An area of continued growth for Emma is to practice her finishing in different situations as goals are worth their weight in gold. Emma is also most importantly a player of great character and trains with high work ethic sun, rain or snow! Keep it up Emma!”
CMSA South
Name: Matthew Matjasic
Birth Year: 2011
What his coaches say: “Mattie has been a part of our Academy since it’s inception in 2017-2018 and could have been deserving of this accolade every month since! Mattie is the player that all the coaches want to coach every week because he always trains with a high work ethic, is competitive and is totally focused throughout each exercise. Not to mention, no shortage of skill! Mattie is a genius when it comes to manipulating the ball out of dead-end situations to protect and switch the point of attack. He relishes isolating his opponent as he has a lot of flair in 1v1 situations to get past them. Mattie has also been showing good awareness this season to release the ball off the dribble at the right time to a teammate. Defensively, he also works really hard to get back into position in moments of transition. Keep up the great work Mattie!”
Name: Abby Roach
Birth Year: 2010
What her coaches say: “Abby started with our Academy this Fall and has impressed greatly with her skillset and training habits. Abby’s strengths lie in her ability in the 1v1 attacking tool. Abby is very effective when running with the ball to imbalance opposition defenders. She has natural athleticism which helps give her a change of pace when she goes past someone. Abby also trains with a really high work ethic which helps her learn faster. An area of continued growth for Abby is for her to improve her spatial awareness when she has the ball to help with her decision-making. Keep up the great work Abby!”
Name: Thomas Jones
Birth Year: 2013
What his coaches say: “Thomas has come into our inaugural Academy in Cochrane and shown a real appetite for learning. He trains with great enthusiasm and energy and has impressed us with his skill set. Tommy is particularly effective in the 1v1 attacking player tool and has a natural change of pace with the ball which helps with his end product to assist or score. Tommy has also displayed good decision-making in situations where his teammates are in a better position to score. Keep up the great work Tommy!”
Kootenays East
Name: Liam Knipelberg
Birth Year: 2011
What his coaches say: “Liam is an athlete who gets better and better each day. With an eye for goal and fearlessness on the ball, Liam is shaping up to be an exciting player. His love of the game and dedication is infectious, and I am looking forward to seeing the places he will go in soccer as he continues on with the Whitecaps Academy. Well done Liam, keep up the great work!”
Kootenays South
Name: Ella Mohr
Birth Year: 2009
What his coaches say: “Ella is an awesome member of our Whitecaps Academy! She comes to every practice engaged, ready to work hard, and with a big smile on her face. She is fearless as a goalie and has really improved in her shot-stopping abilities recently. She is also very dedicated to getting better and listening to coach feedback. Congrats on a very impressive month, looking forward to finishing the season with you on a high note!”
Kootenays West
Name: Elysha Keyserlingk
Birth Year: 2009
What his coaches say: “Elysha has shown excellent training habits and work ethic over these last few months. She comes to each practice with a big smile on her face and is ready to learn. Elysha has improved her dribbling and ball control significantly over the last few weeks, as well as her ability to slow the game down when needed. Congrats on the job well done, Elysha, we are excited to be part of your development!”
Name: Cindy Li
Birth Year: 2007
What her coaches say: “Cindy’s commitment, attitude and passion for the game is fantastic. She has been a leader in the group performing different roles and helping the team achieve their goals. Over the past month, Cindy has had great performances in OPDL games, and especially during the Umbro Showcase Tournament. Cindy is very focused, willing to learn and always looking to improve her skills to become a better player. Congratulations Cindy!”
Name: Matthew Keeler
Birth Year: 2005
What his coaches say: “Matthew has had a great month for the U17 OPDL Boys team. Matthew has shown significant improvement over the last few months and is a constant threat to score goals. Matthew continues to work hard at improving his game and we look forward to working with him on his continued development and helping him achieve his goals. Congratulations Matthew!”
Mainland Academy – Girls
Name: Amneet Dhaliwal
Birth Year: 2012
What her coaches say: “Amneet continues to impress coaches on a weekly basis. Amneet regularly competes with older girls and demonstrates a positive attitude in all sessions. Amneet has continued to show excellent development in all areas of her game over the past phase. Well done Amneet!”
Mainland Academy – Boys
Name: Jared Hare
Birth Year: 2010
What his coaches say: “Jared has been working hard in our academy and his ability to protect and ball as well as receive and turn with speed and control has really improved. Keep working hard Jared, you had a great last few weeks”
Name: Nick Jones
Birth Year: 2004
What his coaches say: “Outstanding performances with the Canada Games Team at senior level. Nick has been part of Whitecaps programs since age 13 and moving on to a University scholarship this fall. Gifted with exceptional quickness and great crossing abilities”
Name: Lily Walsh
Birth Year: 2007
What her coaches say: “’Lily has been excellent in the girls REX program in recent months. A striker with the ability to receive under pressure, connect passes and finish chances, Lily is also a great trainer, always works hard and shows great character which helps her keep improving. She was part of the Atlantic girls group that competed in the Whitecaps Combine in April. We look forward to her continued progress and development”
Kamloops Academy
Name: Zachary Thurston
Birth Year: 2014
What his coaches say: “Zac is new to our academy this spring but has shown an amazing work rate, attitude and mindset in a very short period of time. He is showing good growth in his technical ability and willingness to learn and improve. As a coaching staff, we are enjoying working with Zac and being part of his development in the game of soccer”
Name: Scotia Kennedy
Birth Year: 2009
What her coaches say: “Scotia has been with us for a few phases now and has seen some really good growth in her ability and adapt to our training. She has shown a very good attitude and mindset to improve every day. As a coaching staff, we are enjoying working with her and continue her development in our academy and enjoyment of the game”
Kelowna Academy
Name: Gavin Tonita
Birth Year: 2018
What his coaches say: “Gavin has been participating in our programs with Kelowna City FC on Wednesdays. He never misses practice and, although being a young player, he is always focused on the coach’s instructions and works very hard to learn new skills. In addition, he is always in full soccer gear and a big smile on his face. If he continues practicing like this I am sure he will become a great soccer player! Keep up the great work, Gavin!”
Name: Lucas Oncea
Birth Year: 2011
What his coaches say: “Lucas has now won his second player of the month in his Whitecaps journey and this one is richly deserved. Lucas has been training with the same level of focus and energy as always but is now showing really strong leadership skills in the way he supports and encourages his teammates. Lucas has also been displaying ferocious ability when shooting from short and long range finding the target and the net consistently. What is more impressive though is his good decision-making in relation to shooting and slotting in a team-mate with a penetrating pass if they are in a better position on the pitch to score. Keep up the great work Lucas!”
Name: Airlie Matheson
Birth Year: 2010
What her coaches say: “Airlie has really improved with hard work and determination at every session. She demonstrates excellent composure on the ball when under pressure and consistently executes intelligent passing and movement. Airlie is a shining example of a team player and consistently gives her best every time she is on the field”
Name: Kieran Shipley
Birth Year: 2012
What his coaches say: “Kieran consistently displays confidence and composure on the ball. He has excellent vision and awareness and demonstrates good decision-making under pressure. He always works hard in practice and shows a great attitude to continually improve his game”
Name: Simon Funk
Birth Year: 2004
What his coaches say: “Simon has been consistently wonderful for the last 6 months, stepping into a leadership role within the team and maintaining his high standards. Simon has excellent ball control, and the ability to open up a team with a pass or dribble. He uses this regularly to pull our team further up the field. However, the main reason for his selection this month is the leadership and drive he is providing his team. At a time approaching his graduation, he could easily have taken it easy, but instead, he has stepped it up a level and has been an inspiration. Well done Simon, we are proud of you!”
Name: Lucas Evans
Birth Year: 2010
What his coaches say: “Lucas only joined the program at the beginning of this season and has taken a little bit of time to adjust to the new group and coaching styles. However, in the last month, we have seen a new energized Lucas who has jumped up an entire level. This has happened due to his hard work, efforts and attitude which have been wonderful over the past few months. Lucas’s hard work is finally paying off! Great work Lucas!”
Name: Henry Brett
What his coaches say: “Henry has shown improvement with all player habits. As a returning player in the virtual academy, Henry’s dedication to his ongoing development is evident in our weekly sessions. Henry is doing an excellent job and leading by example within our weekly sessions. Well done Henry!”
PLAYER BMO ACADEMY CENTRE
Addis & Semegn Atkinson Kootenay BMO Academy Centre
Alessandro Calado Manitoba BMO Academy Centre
Alesandro Comita Kamloops BMO Academy Centre
Alexis Tsaprailis London BMO Academy Centre
Anyang & Athiei Achiek Newfoundland and Labrador BMO Academy Centre
Brandon Tam London BMO Academy Centre
Camren Strang Newfoundland BMO Academy Centre
Ebalo Amuri Manitoba BMO Academy Centre
Elizabeth Hanson Saskatchewan BMO Academy Centre
Ellie Lancaster Nova Scotia BMO Academy Centre
Ire Awosokanre Nova Scotia BMO Academy
Isaac Boehmer Okanagan BMO Academy Centre
Joe Hanson Yukon BMO Academy Centre
Kimia Kassanda Alberta BMO Academy Centre
Kyle Steenstra Alberta BMO Academy Centre
Mihail Gherasimencov BMO Whitecaps FC MLS Academy
Molly Mertin Northwest BMO Academy Centre
Owen Antoniuk Alberta BMO Academy Centre
Riad Jaha PEI BMO Academy Centre
Sarina Tait Kelowna BMO Academy Centre
Senna Olivier Okanagan BMO Academy Centre
Taya Short Kootenays West BMO Academy Centre
Thomas Hasal Saskatchewan BMO Academy Centre

Click here and find a Whitecaps FC BMO Academy Centre program near you.