State of the Whitecaps part 1By: Felegy | December 12th, 2011
After a fairly long absence, I find myself with a bit of time on my hands. It won’t last long (more below), so I thought I would try to get in a few pieces while I can.
For starters, there have been major changes at the club in the past few months. I won’t pretend that I can cover them all in detail, but here’s a few notes on what has happened:
CEO Paul Barber quit
Earlier this week Whitecaps CEO announced that he would be leaving the club next February, two years to the day after he joined us. Everyone was duly shocked, questions were asked, and so on.
President Bob Lenarduzzi and Chief Operating Officer Rachel Lewis will be looking after Mr. Barber’s duties, as they did before he arrived.
It’s never a great thing when there’s Front Office turnover, but from a few sources, it sounds like it wasn’t working out for Mr. Barber. It could have been a control issue, or it could have been a performance issue. Here’s hoping this is a good move by the club, and that we’re a bit more settled going forward.
I’ll leave it to others who have thought more about it than me:
Next up we have some major changes to the first team. A whack of players were released, a few were re-signed, and we signed a new major star.
Jay Nolly was traded to Chicago for a first-round Supplemental Draft pick. I am quite sad to see Jay go, and thought that he would probably make an excellent back-up to Cannon this coming season, and challenge for the #1 shirt. I know he has struggled, but I thought he could have been coached to improve. He was always such a great ambassador for the club, always quick to salute the fans.
We traded Shea Salinas to San Jose for allocation money, and we waived Alex Morfaw, Jeb Brovsky, Bilal Duckett and Nizar Khalfan (boooo). Brovsky, somewhat surprisingly, was chosen by Montreal in the expansion draft, so we’ll see him back here on March 10th, our home opener. Good luck to him.
We re-signed Joe Cannon and John Thorrington, and we extended Michael Boxall and Atiba Harris’ contracts for a year. We also brought 17-year-old central midfielder Byrce Alderson into the first team after he had an excellent year with the Residency and the Canadian U-17 national team (named top U-17 player of the year).
Oddly enough, right before Barber left the club announced the signing of Korean legend Young-pyo Lee.
Lee has played at at the last three World Cups, as well as for PSV Eindhoven, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund. Most recently he was plying his trade in Saudi Arabia.
The highlight videos on Youtube aren’t that spectacular, but they show a fast, technical fullback who is happy to get forward, put in great crosses or cut inside.
Head coach Martin Rennie emphasized his skill, his leadership qualities, and said he’ll play at right back, a position we struggled to fill last season. Whether he succeeds there is dependent on his fitness: he’s 34 now, but hasn’t suffered from injuries and seems quite fit. Koreans have a reputation for hard work and great fitness; here’s hoping it’s not just a stereotype.
Right now the Southsiders forum is alive with speculation judgment about new contracts for Camilo and Long Tan.
A report on a Chinese news-site says Tan will be making $100k per year, a significant raise from the $32k he made last season playing for the reserves, and perhaps a bit much considering his limited contributions last season. He definitely has some talent, skill and energy, and showed that he can perform in the MLS, but I’m just not convinced we should be paying him that much after only a few games for the first team.
Camilo has taken his contract worries to twitter, a move definitely lacking in class. He made $133k last season, and he’s under contract for another year for sure, and perhaps two more after that depending on the exact terms (the club likely have the option), and seems like he’s publicly trying to force the club into improving his salary (which they say they are willing to do). Apparently he has two agents, one of whom is difficult to work with.
His salary is low, considering his production last season (12 goals, 4 penalties drawn). The median salary for players who scored 10+ goals last season was $306k; I would expect he’s asking for around that much and that the Caps are hoping to get him for less than $200k. Good luck to both parties.
MLS draft ridiculousness
Last week and today MLS held a few of their many, many drafts. Nothing happened.
Okay, one thing happened: we traded our first-place spot in the first round of the second stage of the re-entry draft to Seattle for a third-round pick in the 2014 regular draft (aka the SuperDraft). Awesome stuff. Let me go on record again and say that MLS needs to simplify their draft system. It’s ridiculous. I can’t even be bothered to say why, but it is.
Next post I’ll look at the state of our entire squad. For now, I’ll just say that I’m happy with the new signing, I think we kept our best players, I’ll miss Jay Nolly, and I hope we don’t break the bank on Long Tan or Camilo.
Oh, and I am now a member of the Southsiders Board of Directors, as Director of External Communications. We are holding our first meeting this Wednesday; should be an interesting year.