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Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Started on 17 December 2014 by dd10
Latest Reply on 26 December 2014 by shylax
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Vancouver Whitecaps FC is a Canadian professional soccer team that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS), which is the highest level of professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. The team graduated to MLS prior to the 2011 season, coming up from the lower tiers of the North American league pyramid.

Martin Rennie, who was the Whitecaps' head coach for the past two seasons, was sacked shortly after the conclusion of the 2013 season. Rennie's fate was probably sealed when Vancouver stumbled midway through the past season, but the Scot also failed to win the Canadian Championship in his two years at the Whitecaps' helm, which would have qualified the club for the CONCACAF Champions League.

The club's president was quoted as saying that "there's a fine line between success and, what would be deemed to be failure, and we just need to give ourselves the best chance possible to be on the right side of that." Lenarduzzi also added that "making the playoffs, and winning the Canadian Championship are benchmarks for us. We haven't been able to achieve that."

There were also questions about Rennie's squad selection, tactics, and the development of some of Vancouver's younger players. The Whitecaps have been on the hunt for his successor since the season was over, and an announcement is to be expected in the upcoming days.
Good luck, good start!
dd10's avatar Group dd10
5 yearsEdited
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Englishman Grimwood hired as new head coach


34-year-old Karl Grimwood who hails from Hastings, England has been named as the fourth head coach of Vancouver Whitecaps FC as they prepare to enter their fourth season of play in Major League Soccer. While fans have been quick to point out that Grimwood is even younger than the recently sacked Rennie, club management has urged the supporters to keep in mind that age is not directly related to experience. Some highlights of this morning's press conference to introduce Grimwood...

About the board's priority for the team to win the Canadian Championship:
Grimwood is equally if not more determined than the board to lead this team to be perennial challengers for the Canadian Championship. He understands the unique importance of this competition for the club, as it is the only way for the club to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, North America's top continental competition.

About squad selection and tactical issues that Rennie was known for:
Grimwood believes that the current team needs upgrading in certain key positions, and for more depth across the board in multiple positions. The new coach also stated that he would like to have the team be ready to play out of multiple formations and multiple playing styles so they are less predictable to the opposition and can mix it up when things aren't going as smoothly as planned.

About developing young players:
Grimwood is a strong believer that while purchasing players are a key part to building the squad, developing young players from our own system or acquiring them at a young age and continuing to develop them to first-team quality is the way to go in the long term. The Englishman has also stated that he will give plenty of chances for the current Canadians on the squad (Sam Adekugbe, Bryce Alderson, Marco Bustos, Marco Carducci, Kianz Froese, and Russell Teibert) to impress and stake a regular spot in the starting eleven.
Good luck mate!
Looking forward to an MLS story, somebody will have to tackle Orlando City soon
Ooooh, MLS, I have been waiting for an MLS story for a while now. Good luck, and I will follow!
Best of luck! :)
Thanks for the support everybody! Will be writing a post within the next few hours to introduce my squad.

2014-12-18 07:32#204032 J_Skinna_39 : Looking forward to an MLS story, somebody will have to tackle Orlando City soon
I was thinking about taking a shot at NYCFC or OCSC, but it seemed more appropriate for me to choose Vancouver as it is my hometown club and I would be more knowledgeable about it.
dd10's avatar Group dd10
5 yearsEdited
http://www.vancouversun.com/cms/binary/10179371.jpg

Squad Preview: 2014 Preseason


Goalkeepers

David Ousted is the incumbent having been brought in midway through last season after leading his Danish Superliga team to Europa League qualification. The Dane posted four clean sheets in thirteen starts last season and the starting goaltender position is his to lose.

Italian Paulo Tornaghi, a former youth player of Inter Milan, is the current backup, but I don't see a future for him after his contract runs out at the end of the season. He's lucky that he has American citizenship, otherwise he might not even be here by the time the season kicks off, as I don't need a valuable international player spot wasted on the backup goaltender.

Marco Carducci is the future at this position for both club and country, and there is a very strong possibility that he could see first-team minutes at some time during the upcoming season. Carducci has won the Canadian U-17 Player of the Year award for the past two seasons (2012 and 2013).


Burning Questions

With Tornaghi's contract expiring at the end of the season, do you think he can make the most of his opportunities to secure a contract extension?

Marco Carducci is such a promising prospect, and with the new coach publicly stating that he will more than likely be given first-team minutes, do you think he will usurp Tornaghi and take over the spot of the backup goaltender?
dd10's avatar Group dd10
5 yearsEdited
http://www.whitecapsfc.com/sites/vancouver/files/image_nodes/2014/02/training_casa%20grande.jpg

Squad Preview, Part II


Fullbacks

Steven Beitashour is the favourite to win the starting right back position after being brought in from San Jose Earthquakes to replace the retiring legend Young-Pyo Lee. The Iranian-American was named to the 2012 MLS All-Star Game and played the full 90 minutes as the MLS defeated Chelsea 3-2. Beitashour is a fantastic defender who also is able to chip in adequately on the attack, and some have called him the league's best right back.

20-year-old homegrown Ethen Sampson, who spent the past season with the U-23 team, will be Beitashour's understudy. Sampson previously served as captain for South Africa's ASD Cape Town prior to joining Vancouver, where he has since moved out right after signing as a centre back.


Jordan Harvey has been on the Whitecaps' roster for the past two-and-a-half season and has established himself as the starting left back. Harvey, who is entering his seventh MLS season, has also played for Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union. Similar to Beitashour on the opposite side of the pitch, Harvey is adequate defensively and also capable playing further up the left flank as well.

19-year-old Sam Adekugbe made his MLS debut in the season finale last year after Harvey was suspended for yellow-card accumulation. Sam is an attack-minded defender who has the natural skills to link up with the offense but still has work to do at rounding out his main duties – stopping opponents.


Burning Questions

With both Harvey and Beitashour established MLS starters, how much game time will Adekugbe and Sampson get this season?

Are they ready to step up to a starting role for and extended period of time if one of the starters goes down injured, or will the club be convinced that replacements will need to be brought in?
dd10's avatar Group dd10
5 yearsEdited
http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/cms/binary/10131736.jpg

Squad Preview, Part III


Centre Backs

Experienced Irish centre back Andy O'Brien was brought to the team halfway through 2012, starting 23 of his 24 appearances in just over a season. The no-nonsense central defender, who has 26 caps for Ireland, brings a veteran presence in the form of nine full seasons in the English Premier League plus spot appearances in three more, and four-and-a-half good years in the Championship/First Division. He's on quite an expensive contract that runs out at the end of the season, and his future with the club is currently unclear.

Kendall Waston is one of the newest additions to the team, having been acquired from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa as one of Rennie's last moves. Standing at six-foot-five, Waston is a towering presence in both penalty areas. The big, physical, aggressive centre back has scored 26 goals in 127 appearances in Costa Rica's top division, and he should offer the Whitecaps a different look on offensive set pieces.

Carlyle Mitchell had been used sparingly since signing with Vancouver in late 2011, but he was recalled from loan and pressed into action last season after a series of injuries at centre back. It was a pleasant surprise when he stepped in, providing stability to the defense, and helping the team record three of its six clean sheets. The Trinidadian's minimum salary contract runs out at the end of the season, but it is highly likely that the club will exercise their option for a one-year extension.

Johnny Leveron, who captained his country to a quarterfinals appearance at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, is a left-footed centre back who is very comfortable on the ball. Turning 24 shortly before the season starts, he's already played a number of games for the senior national team and has very big upside. Leveron has appeared in 25 games with the Honduran senior men's team, scoring three goals, and additionally had nine goals in 81 appearances with club side C.D. Motagua over five seasons. As a strong contender for the starting position at left centre back, the Honduran is on a relatively cheap contract that runs through the end of next year.

Christian Dean is a Generation Adidas player, which is a group of college players that the league has signed to turn professional. The program encourages early entry of American players into MLS, foregoing college graduation. As a result, Generation Adidas players are also guaranteed scholarships to continue their college education should their professional career not pan out, and also usually earn a much higher salary than the league minimum. Drafted just weeks ago as a player with substantial upside rather than a more MLS-ready college player, the six-foot-three American offers a unique blend of skill and athletic ability at centre back, or possibly left back if the club chooses to move him out wide.


Burning Questions

What will happen to Andy O'Brien after the season, and his contract, runs out? Will he offer enough this season for the club to consider re-signing him to another year, albeit definitely at a reduced price?

Could Christian Dean develop into another monster like Kendall Waston, and partner him to form a towering partnership in central defence?
Very nice two updates, well done, a lot of detail there! Can't wait for the season to start now :P
good start will be following
dd10's avatar Group dd10
5 yearsEdited

Squad Preview, Part IV


Central Midfielders

Gershon Koffie has been with the organization for over three seasons now, after signing for the final few matches of 2010 as a 18-year-old while the Whitecaps were still in the second division. Having acquired permanent Canadian residency prior to the start of last season, he has been a staple in Vancouver's lineup over the past three years, racking up seven goals and five assists while starting 77 of his 84 appearances. He has already publicly expressed his interest to play for the Canadian national team once eligible, which is expected to be near the end of next season. Koffie is set to make a big leap this year in his technical play, and if he can score more goals and work on that final pass, he will become a top class midfielder in MLS. Despite his contract running out at the end of the season and being one of the top earners on the squad, he is almost a lock to be extended as Koffie will be a part of the future.

Bryce Alderson is another promising homegrown player that has yet to feature for the senior team in an MLS match. A natural at both holding midfield and in the heart of the defense, Alderson is another player who is a two-time Canadian U-17 Player of the Year (2010 and 2011). On the international stage, Alderson captained his country to a runner-up finish at the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which in turn qualified them for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Under Grimwood, Alderson is expected to be a key player for the Whitecaps moving forward.

The extremely versatile Russell Teibert, along with Koffie, are two of three players that remain from Vancouver's initial MLS roster when they joined the league three seasons ago. The homegrown product was a mainstay in the first team last year, leading the team with nine assists. It remains to be seen where his best position is – as a central player or as a winger. His crossing ability and his ability to cut in on his left make him an attractive choice as a winger on either side, while his vision and passing ability are among a few of many assets that suit central midfield. Additionally, Teibert was the Canadian U-17 Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009, which makes it six consecutive years a Whitecap has been picked for this award.

Mehdi Ballouchy is an experienced MLS veteran who was picked up by the team recently in the MLS Re-Entry Draft, an annual event in which MLS teams select players who are out-of-contract or have had their options declined by their previous teams. MLS, as a single-entity league, does not have true free agency, but the Re-Entry Draft was created to provide an outlet of internal movement for veteran players. Currently recovering from ACL surgeries on both knees within the space of 11 months, Ballouchy is expected to be out of action for at least another three months.


Burning Questions

With only three healthy central midfielders, and Koffie being the most senior player at the young age of 22, it would be a wise idea to bring in at least another player at this position. What type of player do you think Grimwood will go out and acquire?

With both Alderson and Teibert able to play in other positions, and despite the shortage of holding/central midfielders, do you see them playing in other positions over the course of the season?
dd10's avatar Group dd10
5 yearsEdited

Squad Preview, Part V


Attacking Midfielders

Midfield maestro Pedro Morales was acquired from Spanish side Malaga as the club's newest Designated Player to become the number 10 that the team was so desperately missing last season. Although under contract for Malaga until next year, the Spanish side was having some financial difficulties which allowed Vancouver to acquire the Chilean playmaker on a free transfer. Brought in to become the team's offensive catalyst and driving force, his ability to feather long passes to the feet of his teammates will make him a player to watch in every game this season.

Argentinian Mauro Rosales joined Vancouver in a trade that saw Nigel Reo-Coker go the other way to Chivas USA. Rosales came to MLS in 2011, recording 12 goals and 34 assists in three full seasons with rival Seattle Sounders, en route to being named Newcomer of the Year. Well known for his crossing ability, Rosales has a wealth of experience having played for Argentina powerhouses Club Atletico River Plate and Newell’s Old Boys, as well as top-flight Dutch side AFC Ajax prior to coming to North America. The creative playmaker's Designated Player contract will expire at the end of the season.

Uruguayan creative attacking midfielder Nicolas Mezquida was picked up by Vancouver hoping he could make the number 10 spot his, but it all changed when Pedro Morales was signed shortly afterwards. Six years younger than Morales, Mezquida could be part of a group of younger players Grimwood will want to build his team around for the longer term. In the mean time, he could potentially see action in relief of Morales or out wide on the right flank.

Andre Lewis, a highly-skilled attacking midfielder with massive upside, will spend the upcoming season on loan with Charleston Battery as part of a pre-existing affiliate partnership between the Whitecaps and the third-tier side. Having previous only played in his home country of Jamaica, the 19-year-old will need to work on specific areas of his game before he makes it to the Whitecaps' first team.

Marco Bustos joined the organization's residency program in 2011 and will be on loan with our U-23 side this season. Named last year as the club's most promising player, Bustos is an exciting natural playmaker who possesses a quality shot from distance among many skills. His hard work in the residency program was rewarded with a professional contract having previously dominated the U-16 and U-18 levels.

A mere six days Bustos' senior, Kianz Froese will begin the season on the club's MLS roster. Having chosen to represent Canada over his native Cuba in numerous youth tournaments, Froese has been experimented at the U-18 level as an out-and-out striker, a false nine, on the wing, and as both an attacking and defensive midfielder. Some have speculated that this positional flexibility was why he had a slight edge over Bustos.


Burning Questions

Pedro Morales will indisputably be the starting number 10 come opening day, but will Mauro Rosales be happy playing second fiddle on the wing, or will his performances show that he should also be in consideration for the main playmaker role as well?

Although Lewis and Bustos are a bit further ahead on the depth chart when compared to Froese, could the fact that him being on the senior roster this season, as opposed to being on loan, help him overtake the other two on the depth chart?

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