Friday, January 21, 2011

Rochat Returns Home.....Sort Of

Six days into the winter transfer window there finally was a tweet from the Whitecaps organization that a new player signing would be announced on Friday.  Was this the striker that every fan in the lower mainland was hoping for or at least a midfielder with a scorer’s touch?  Hopes were dashed a few hours later when Marc Weber of The Province reported the signing was of a player that the majority of Whitecaps fans knew was a lock for the 2011 roster last summer.

During the summer transfer window the Whitecaps brought in 10 players for their second division squad, in the interest of getting a closer look to see if they were capable of playing in the MLS.  The only player of the ten that didn’t arrive in Vancouver was Alain Rochat as he was loaned back to his Swiss squad, FC Zurich, until January 2011.  While no one in the organization would admit it, it was a certainty that Rochat would be on the roster because there would be no reason to transfer a player in and then never offer him a contract.  After his transfer was confirmed it was also revealed that Rochat had a Canadian passport as he was born in Canada but moved to Switerland at a very young age.  According to MLS roster rules the Vancouver Whitecaps will be allowed to count Rochat as a domestic player and not use use one of their important roster slots.

The Quebec born Swiss international is a fan favourite of not only the fans of FC Zurich but also the management team having been part of two Swiss Super League Champion sides.  Rochat is described as being a positive influence in the locker room and gets along with teammates, an overall good team player.  On the pitch he has good technical skills, deceptive pace, and good at winning balls in the air and on the ground.  He played in Champions League as he helped FC Zurich reach the group stage where they produced a win and draw against heavy favorites A.C. Milan.

His move to the MLS has nothing to do with decreasing football abilities, as his old club would love for him to stay in Switzerland.  A few years ago the father of a four-year-old girl and two-year old boy, with another on the way, almost gave up football for a career as an electrician.  He has stated that he is looking for a challenge and a different type of lifestyle for himself and his family.  His former team thought so much of him that they allowed Rochat to leave for less than market value.  The video below shows how much he meant to the fans of FC Zurich as they gave him a rousing send off after his final appearance.

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