USL News Feature
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
TAMPA, FL – Former USL Super Y-League player Robbie Tice headed back to England recently to be part of his club, Nantwich Town FC of the Unibond Premier League, in its quest for a playoff position. The 19-year-old, from White Rock, British Columbia, was home for a short Christmas break, but returned to his club recently for the second half of the season as his club aims for promotion to the Blue Square Conference North League.
“I am very happy to be playing with Nantwich Town FC,” said Tice. “I am surrounded by quality players that have played at the highest level. It is another step up from my first season in the UK. Now I am playing First Team football, rather than U-19.”
Tice began playing soccer in British Columbia at the age of five with Peace Arch Soccer Club and developed throughout local teams, before joining up with Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy for the first time in 2004 as a 13 year-old, for the club’s USL Super Y-League U14 team.
The Whitecaps U14 side won the Northwest Division Championship that season, earning a berth in the 2004 SYL North American Finals. In the tournament, the U14 Whitecaps failed to advance from their group, with Tice scoring one goal against MLS side D.C. United. Tice finished his 2004 Super Y-League season with seven goals.
Tice had a successful season for the Whitecaps U15’s the following season, before enjoying a breakout season in 2006 with the club’s U16’s. Tice scored five goals in seven matches that season, before heading over the pond in July, to play for San Francisco Seals in the prestigious Northern Ireland Milk Cup. Following the tournament, Tice trained with Crewe Alexandra FC’s U18 team, earning an invitation to return on trial the following summer.
“It is not an easy path for North American born players, who want to play in Europe,” said Tice. “Being a part of the Vancouver Whitecaps youth system for four years helped me develop a tremendous amount as a player. The experience of playing in the USL Super-Y League, against the top players and clubs from across North America helped prepare me to make the step overseas and pursue a professional career in the game.”
Following his trip to the UK, Tice returned to his Whitecaps U16 team, which had secured a spot in the 2006 SYL North American Finals. Tice scored five goals in three group games to lead the Whitecaps to a semifinal showdown with Los Angeles Futbol Club (LAFC). Unfortunately, the Whitecaps fell to the eventual 2006 SYL U16 North American Champions, LAFC. Despite the loss, Tice was selected to the 2006 North American Finals All-Tournament Team, simultaneously earning himself an invitation to the 2007 SYL ODP National Camps.
Tice made the trek overseas again in July 2008, just days after graduating from Earl Marriot High School. The 17-year old was invited to tryout with Ayr United in the Scottish Second Division and was offered a spot on the club's U-19 squad.
After a successful year in Scotland, he ventured south to Northwest England for his second European season. In the summer of 2009, Tice was once again invited to train with renowned club Crewe Alexandra FC, of the Coca-Cola Football League Two, which is famous for its development of youth players. Crewe recommended Tice to neighboring club, Nantwich Town FC, of the Unibond Northern Premier League, where he signed with the first team in September 2009. Tice spent the first half of the season on loan, to gain first team playing experience in two separate spells, first with Kidsgrove Athletic FC and more recently with Biddulph Victoria FC.