Whitecaps Arrivals, Departures & Hopefuls

Many moves made by the Caps during the offseason
by Jake Vendramin   |   Wednesday, February 06, 2013

All Caps - column on Vancouver Whitecaps FC (VWFC) & the British Columbia soccer scene.

The Vancouver Whitecaps have been busy with the new arrivals and departures in the MLS offseason, seeing many stand-out names join and leave the club.

The Whitecaps are coming off a historic season that saw them as the first Canadian team to ever qualify for the MLS playoffs. There is still much room for improvement this year and all of that begins with getting rid of what didn’t work.

Some of the notable players that left include Dane Richards, Atiba Harris, John Thorrington, Martin Bonjour and also Scottish midfielder Barry Robson. I’m happy to see Bonjour and Robson leaving the club because I think they were not what the Whitecaps needed to achieve their long-term goals.

Along with these players leaving the club, many new players were brought in, too. The Whitecaps took full advantage of their 4th and 5th SuperDraft picks by selecting Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado, who both double as strikers and wingers.

There are also many players on trial with the Whitecaps during this year’s MLS preseason, including standouts Crispin Olando and Jacob Lensky. Olando, who is rumoured to be the "next Gershon Koffie,” recently arrived in Vancouver and is reportedly on a six-month trial with the club. Lensky, who has made an appearance in the past for the U-21 Czech Republic squad, is on trial with Vancouver after he parted ways with Eredivisie side Utrecht in 2011.

Plenty of players have officially signed with the Whitecaps as well, including Corey Hertzog, Tom Heinemann, Brad Rusin, Paulo Jr. and Daigo Kobayashi.

Kobayashi and Rusin are two players to look out for. Kobayashi signed from Shimizu S-Pulse of the J League and is said to be the creative attacking midfielder the Caps have been looking for and so desperately needed. Rusin is an American centerback, who hails from the Danish club HB Køge. After Vancouver parted ways with Martin Bonjour, they needed a solid defender such as Rusin to fill the vacancy.

I also think Rusin and Kobayashi will make significant impacts on the pitch in the upcoming season and I suspect they will crack the starting lineup regularly.

I am expecting to see goalkeeper Simon Thomas sign with Vancouver as in his first start for the Canadian Men's National Team, he impressed in the scoreless draw with the United States by recording a clean sheet.

The Whitecaps will be kicking their 2013 MLS season off at BC Place on March 2 against Canadian rivals Toronto FC. Keep your eyes peeled for these players as they will all be trying to solidify their spots on the roster and even in the starting 11.

NEXT UP: The Whitecaps will be headed to Charleston to take part in the Carolina Challenge Cup pre-season tournament, starting on Feb. 16 against the Charleston Battery, Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire.


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Vancouver Whitecaps
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From the Langley area of Vancouver, Canada. An avid soccer player who is very passionate about the sport off-the-field as well. Absolutely loves writing about the beautiful game and sharing his opinions. Covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for Soccer Newsday.