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The under-23 Canadian international has joined the USL side on a season-long loan. He joins fellow Whitecaps prospects Ben Fisk and Emmanuel Adjetey in Charleston.

VANCOUVER – Vancouver Whitecaps academy product Bryce Alderson is set to play his first minutes as a professional – but he won’t be doing it in Canada.

On Tuesday, the club announced the 19-year-old central midfielder is joining United Soccer Leagues side Charleston Battery on a season-long loan in a bid to get first-team experience.

“It’ll be nice to get a fresh start, a new beginning,” Alderson told Goal.com. “And obviously play matches, because for me, that’s the most important thing and what I’m looking forward to most.”

In Charleston, the Kitchener, Ontario, native will link up with a pair of Whitecaps already on loan at that club – 20-year-old Ben Fisk and 24-year-old Emmanuel Adjetey.

“We’re good buddies,” Alderson said of Fisk. “We’ve known each other for a while with Whitecaps residency and Canadian youth national teams, so we know each other well. He should help me adjust and settle in.”

Alderson didn’t go out on loan along with those players two weeks ago because of a nagging knee injury he’s been dealing with for some time, but he feels better now for the most part.

“It still acts up a little bit, but the medical staff has done a good job here of treating it and giving it preventative exercises,” Alderson said. “I find as long as I stick to those [exercises], it’s not an issue.”

For Alderson, who has excelled at every level he’s played, he’s grateful of the chance to get some professional experience in Charleston before eventually trying to push for MLS minutes upon his return.

“It’s obviously difficult to make that step from the academy into MLS environments with a kind of underdeveloped reserve league,” Alderson said. “So it’s great to have this ability to go on loan to a team in NASL or USL and be able to play matches.

“That’s a big step for Canadian soccer and MLS as a whole.”

A fellow academy product, 20-year-old Russell Teibert, has played four of Vancouver’s last five matches in all competitions, and that’s something Alderson is taking encouragement from.

“It’s great to see him get that chance and obviously take it,” Teibert said. “And I think that bodes well for the young players in general [at this club].”

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