Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Moving On

I started this blog to cover the Vancouver Whitecaps.  It was fun first season despite the losing and turmoil.  I have been asked to write for some bigger publications.  You can find my work AFTN and Prost Amerika.  Thanks for the support.


Thursday, February 16, 2012


It was a position that was a need for the Whitecaps since the retirement of Martin Nash and it seems that the Whitecaps have finally filled it with the addition of Barry Robson.  The Scottish midfielder, who will count as a designated player, will join the club once his current season is over with Middlesbrough. However he will not be eligible to play for the Caps until the MLS summer transfer window opens in late June.

After starting his pro career with Rangers of the SPL, where he was unable to crack the lineup, Robson moved on to Inverness CT.  After six years with Inverness, where he helped the club earn promotion to the premier division, Robson moved on to Dundee United in the summer of 2003.  It was at Dundee United where Robson played with current Whitecap assistant coach Paul Ritchie for two seasons.  His final season and a half at United saw Robson score 24 goals which earned him a contract with SPL giants Celtic.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The Whitecaps alleviated the fears that most supporters suffered through the offseason when they announced that they had come to a contract agreement with the 2011 leading goal scorer and player of the year Camilo.  It was uncertain early in the offseason that Camilo would return to the Caps mostly due to the Brazilian’s comments through his twitter account and the rumours that there offers from clubs around the world.  The chances of his return seemed to diminish even more as Rennie continued to acquire forwards, from re-signing Harris, drafting Mattocks, and bringing in former RailHawk Barbara in for a trial.

The first signs that Camilo situation would be resolved was last Thursday when the striker arrived in Vancouver, after an excused absence, and it was revealed that there were ongoing negotiations between the club and the Brazilian’s agent.  When Sebastien Le Toux was acquired from the Union, once again Camilo was mentioned as a possibility of leaving through trade or transfer.  But the early morning announcement cleared up any concern as it was clear that the Caps were excited to be the only MLS club to have three players that scored in double digits last year.


The Whitecaps confirmed that there will be three new trialists who will join the club in their training sessions in Casa Grande, Arizona.  All three players are listed as being able to play the midfield, a position still considered a need by most MLS and Whitecap pundits. 

It was revealed a few days ago that Victor Turcios, 23, would be joining the Whitecaps in Arizona by newspapers in El Salvador.  Earlier in the year the midfielder/defender attempted to secure a contract in with several Eastern European clubs when it was revealed that there was interest from a Canadian MLS club.  The Salvadorian international has 25 caps for his country scoring once and was a standout in the 2011 Gold Cup for the surprising El Salvador who made the quarterfinals.  Turcios, while listed as a defender, has the pace and vision to play in the midfield as a holding midfielder for the Whitecaps.  While on his tour of Europe, Turcios suffered an ankle injury which will hold him out of training for the first few days.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


After a day of rumours on the internet, the acquisition of Sebastien Le Toux by the Whitecaps was confirmed by the player himself on his twitter account.  Soon the Caps confirmed the transaction as they sent allocation money to the Philadelphia Union for the two time MLS all-star.  Le Toux adds another piece to the Whitecaps attack and another striker to a large group already on the roster.
Early in the transfer window it looked as though Le Toux was heading overseas to Bolton of the EPL for a potential one million dollar transfer fee but the Frenchman returned after only a few days in training.  It was clear that the Philadelphia Union were looking to cash in on Le Toux who was in the final year of his contract. 

Monday, January 30, 2012


The Whitecaps wrapped up their first portion of preseason training in Burnaby and now move camp south to Arizona.  Martin Rennie has been impressed with the overall tempo in practice, especially the fitness level of the players, compared to the post season camp at the end of last season.  The club now moves to Casa Grande for 10 days, where they trained last season, to work on their defensive game and team bonding.

A couple of players were released today as 2012 supplemental pick Mark Fetrow and trialist Diego Oliverira will not be joining the club going forward.  Residency players Caleb Clarke and Callum Irving will train in Arizona with the first team while Ben Fisk remains in Vancouver despite impressing Rennie.  The coach felt he had seen enough of Fisk and with the possibility of trialists joining the club, there would be a lack of time on the pitch for the youngster.

Friday, January 27, 2012


It was the end of the first week and the Whitecaps players experienced the best and worst of preseason training.  The session began with a dreaded variation on the beep test which was called the yo-yo test and then ended with three 11v11 mini games.

The endurance test was won once again by Russell Teibert who beat out trialist Bilal Duckett with room to spare.  John Thorrington was the last veteran to be removed from the test while YP Lee surprised with his fitness on his second day as he outlasted many of the younger players.

After the grueling test the players were able to play 11v11 which were split into three 20 minute games and saw a rotation of players.  The first match ended in a 1-1 draw with Mattocks converting on Chiumiento free kick and then Lee Nguyen placing a shot over the outstretched hands of Brad Knighton.  The second game had the Blue team defeat the Yellow team1-0 as Camilo headed in a cross from Micheal Nanchoff.  The tired legs showed in the third match which ended in a scoreless draw and very few opportunities for scores.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


The Whitecaps enter their second preseason a much more different team than the one that ended the season.  Not only was there a major shuffling of players but the changes in the coaching staff and the person calling the shots could be the biggest factor when it comes to 2012.  Martin Rennie comes into this season bringing fresh ideas on how to run the club including player acquisition.  He brought in familiar players and has not been afraid to cut ties with high profile players of the previous regime.


There haven’t been many changes to the strikers group but the one that left gave major notice of the man who was in charge.  There were rumblings that Mustapha Jarju would be given an opportunity to prove himself in camp but Rennie pulled the trigger just before the weekend, departing ways with the Gambian DP.  Releasing Jarju confirmed that Rennie was fully in charge and that the Caps ownership was willing to pay for obvious mistakes.

His spot on the roster will most likely be taken by 2nd overall pick Darren Mattocks as Rennie hopes to utilize the Jamaican’s pace, something that is missing from the forward ranks.  The Whitecaps also made a deal to acquire the rights of 2011 NASL MVP and former Railhawk Etiene Barbara hoping he can duplicate what he accomplished playing under Rennie the last two seasons.

Friday, January 20, 2012


The Whitecaps took a big step forward in correcting a major error when they announced the mutual parting with their second designated player, Mustapha Jarju.  They did this despite the assurances from the club and Martin Rennie that the Gambian would be given an opportunity to prove he could play in the MLS.  This move also shows that Rennie is the one calling the shots and that Tom Soehn is becoming more out of loop when it comes to personnel decisions.

Signed during the summer transfer window, Mustapha Jarju arrived with much fanfare as the first African designated player in MLS.  Despite playing as a central midfielder for the national team as well as it being the Whitecaps greatest need, the club announced that he would play as a striker.  Unfortunately in his ten appearances (five starts), totaling 450 minutes, Jarju was unable to find the back of the net.  In fact it seemed like he had given up to the supporters and failed to make a showing in the last three home games at BC Place.


The Whitecaps made a minor non-player trade that will allow them to keep an additional international player on the roster for next year.  In the trade the Caps sent an undisclosed amount of allocation money to the Colorado Rapids for a 2nd round pick in 2014 and an international roster spot for the next three years.  Each team in MLS has eight roster spots for players that aren’t domestic which for Vancouver include Canadian and American players.  

All the teams receive the same amount of allocation with extra amounts going to expansion, non-playoff and CONCACAF championship league teams.  The Whitecaps only sent out allocation once last year in the Jordan Harvey acquisition and then picked some up in the Shea Salinas trade.  The Caps would have also received  the most due to being at the bottom of the MLS table in their first season.