A player works out with the TOCA machine at the Urban Soccer Centre at 9339 200A Street. (Supplied)

New Langley soccer facility offers high-tech practices

Robotic trainer is close to to the real thing, but not a substitute, CEO says

A new soccer training facility in Langley allows players to work on their skills indoors, using a robotic trainer that can fire ball after ball, faster than any human.

In September, the Urban Soccer Centre opened in September at 9339 200A Street.

It uses the TOCA Touch Trainer, a computer-controlled machine developed by a California company that fires multiple balls at speeds of up to 50 miles and hour in rapid succession.

It provides an indoor training experience that is as close to the real thing as a player can get without setting foot on a field, according to USC CEO and co-founderAlexander Elliott.

“It’s really like a video game come to life,” Elliott commented.

He would know.

Elliott is a former Vancouver Whitecaps and Team Canada soccer player, who most recently played for the German Club Sportfreunde Siegen.

After retiring in 2012, Elliott went on to become head coach of the men’s soccer team at Capilano University and assistant coach of the U15 Whitecaps FC team.

As deployed by USC. the TOCA system can provide four or five virtual opponents and teammates, and can run a sequence hundreds of times to allow a player to work on their weak points.

According to the manufacturer, TOCA is an trainer that has no personality, and therefore no emotion that might disrupt a practice.

Elliott is careful to add the system is no substitute for on-field training with real, live players and a coach.

“We are an [addition to training] not a replacement,” Elliott cautioned.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Former TWU soccer player Paul Hamilton named to Canada West Hall Of Fame

READ ALSO: Former refugee turned Langley soccer star heading from LSS to TWU

When the first USC centre opened in North Vancouver a year-and-a-half ago, people came from as far away as Langley, Coquitlam and Surrey to practice, Elliott said.

Now, they have less of a trip.

Elliott describes the Langley facility as a place “where soccer culture and technology meet.”

Elliott observed that in a typical 90-minute soccer practice, players only get a few minutes of ball time, about six minutes on average, and about 30 drills where they run through different on filed scenarios.

With the TOCA machine, those numbers take a big jump.

A player can go through as man as 400 situational repetitions and game situations, everything from receiving and passing, receiving and shooting, cutting out a pass and securing a pass, to cutting out a pass and beating a player.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Young players practice at the Urban Soccer Centre at 9339 200A Street. (Supplied)

Just Posted

Cancellations of plant orders prompt advent of pop-up garden shops

A Langley nursery is partnering with local eateries to sell 40 acres of veggie plants and flowers

Aldergrove man battles ‘really scary’ stage four cancer diagnosis amid COVID-19 crisis

Luke Harris and girlfriend Ashley are out of work and in self isolation, due in part to the pandemic


Let’s show the world that Langley is a united community filled with love and hope

Painful Truth: No baby boom coming out of coronavirus quarantines

Deferred births and lower immigration are likely outcomes of COVID-19

Human rights complaint over Langley Pride flag tossed out

Kari Simpson’s attempt to block Langley City’s flag raising has failed

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

Most Read