By NICHOLAS MURRAY – firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Alan Koch’s principle position with Vancouver Whitecaps FC is head coach of Whitecaps FC 2 in the USL, but on Thursday his insight as a scout and talent evaluator came to the fore at the MLS SuperDraft, as a player he had formerly recruited became the Whitecaps’ second-round selection.
Former PDL All-League selection Chris Hellmann was a former recruit for Koch when he was the head coach at Simon Fraser University, as the German player looked to continue both his soccer career and education in North America.
“He was actually one of the first coaches I had contact with when I was in Germany and going through the whole process of signing up for colleges in either America or Canada,” Hellmann told AFTN.ca’s Michael McColl. “At that time he was the head coach of SFU, so he was one of the coaches that tried to recruit me. Since I wasn’t academically good enough, I would say, to get into SFU, he still kept contacting me the whole time.
“We had a good talk and then he got promoted and got that job in Vancouver, so he was obviously a big part as well. He only told me good things about Vancouver, about the organization, about head coach Robinson, so he obviously played a major role as well.”
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The German ended up becoming a standout at the NCAA Division II level for Lynn University, but remained on Koch’s radar as he became WFC2’s head coach for the club’s inaugural season in 2015.
Now he’s looking forward to making the jump into the professional ranks in Vancouver.
“It’s going to be a big step but I think the style of my game suits for the next level,” Hellmann told McColl. “Or at least I hope it makes it a bit easier. PDL is the highest it gets at college to get prepared for the next level. I’ve played with some D1 players and against them. So I can produce at that level as well, so I think that was a big plus.“We also played against some USL, NASL teams, we played against Minnesota twice, so you can get an impression of how the next level would work, how fast it is. And we’ve done pretty well against those teams as well. I just hope I can make the transition. Obviously it’s going to take time but I can’t wait to get it started.”