The biggest test was one of patience.
When Terran Campbell pulled on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC2 jersey for the first time for a game in 2015, he knew there’d be an adjustment period.
Things have gotten a lot easier since then, but the Burnaby Central grad still recalls the difficulty that comes with sitting.
“My first year I didn’t get to see the field very much,” recalls Campbell of his United Soccer League debut. “Everything about it was (different). The speed of the game was faster, mentally you need to always be switched on.
“It was a real difficult time, sitting, (because) I was so use to starting every game. Sitting on the bench really got to me.”
Fast forward to now, and Campbell is part of a youth infusion with the pro club, which sits 0-1-1 to start the year. The ’Caps host the Seattle Sounders FC2 on Saturday, 3 p.m. at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley.
“I’m enjoying it, especially now,” he said. “I’m getting playing time and learning so much.”
Campbell said going up against men – with the club’s ages spanning 16 to 25 – as a teenager presents some interesting challenges, but his game has evolved under such scrutiny.
“I describe myself as a physical, speedy player who likes to go one-on-one, get the cross into the box,” the winger said.
The team has a heavy Burnaby flavour, thanks to Campbell and the Ballisimo brothers – Matthew, a 19-year-old defender, and 16-year-old Michael, a defender/midfielder.
Getting to the pro level -- and a step below the MSL Vancouver Whitecaps team -- is a great accomplishment, to add to another feather in his cap: that of playing for Canada.
Campbell represented Canada at the 2015 CONCACAF tournament, playing in five games. A few years earlier, he got picked up for the Canadian u-15 squad and debuted in Mexico City at the 2013 Copa Mexico de Naciones.
"That was really amazing," he noted. "Playing in an international scenario is completely different than anything else. It was a whole new experience."
A product of South Burnaby Metro and the Burnaby Selects before the Whitecaps chose him for their residency program at the age of 11, Campbell won’t let youth be an excuse.
“This season I want to be more of a leader on the field. It doesn’t matter how old I am, I’m always wanting to make my team better.”
For him, soccer is everything.
“It’s meant a lot to me my whole life. I just strive to go as far as I can with it.”