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carl valentine

31 January 11:07 am

Last week, Whitecaps FC kicked off their 2012 preseason camp and included in the squad are three young Canadians from the club's Residency program in Caleb Clarke, Ben Fisk, and Callum Irving. This is in addition to program grads Russell Teibert and Bryce Alderson.

It was also confirmed prior to the start of training camp that Philippe Davies has left the club. Now, don’t for a second think that everyone at the club doesn’t wish the best for Phil – he’s a great person and a bright young soccer player who has a strong future to look forward to in the game of soccer – but I know from experience that it’s about being in the right situation at the right time.

My career took off when I came to Vancouver to play for Whitecaps FC from Oldham Athletic in England. I was fortunate enough to come into the right situation. The ‘Caps had a great team – they made the playoffs the year before – but I was able to provide something that the team may have been missing at the time. Phil, meanwhile, developed through our Residency program. Whitecaps FC invested in his soccer career and have been very proud to do so, and I’m certain he’ll tell you that he benefitted from being a part of the Residency program. Unfortunately, Phil came into a tougher situation once he graduated through the program, and he may have had more chances in the first team if the results had been kinder on the field last season. It’s nothing personal, and of course it’s disappointing to lose a young Canadian, but sometimes as a player you need to move to a situation that may be a better fit for you at the time. In my opinion, Phil has the talent to make it as a professional, all he needs is a fresh start to jumpstart his career.
With that being said, our goal as a club remains – as it always has – to develop Canadian talent. That’s why our owners have invested millions of dollars into our elite development programs. They wouldn’t do so if they didn’t care about the welfare and future of Canadian soccer, because as you know, money doesn’t grow on trees.
The Residency program is still young in itself. With how far we’ve already come in recent years, sometimes people lose grasp of how much Canadian soccer development still has to grow. But who says we haven’t already had some success? Teibert started several MLS matches last season with great success and Alderson is coming into his own now that he's making the jump to the first team. Furthermore, the three Residency youngsters in camp are making quite an impression on the Whitecaps FC coaching staff.
Richmond, BC, native Clarke is a striker that has shown a lot of maturity; he makes intelligent runs, holds the ball up well, and is very cool in front of goal.
Vancouver, BC, native Fisk is what I call an’ impact player’ – not the Montreal kind though, Ben is a 'Caps man through and through. He is very comfortable on the ball with very quick feet and he loves to take players on, and he also has a keen eye for a good pass.
Caleb and Ben have both recently been called up to the Canadian U-20 national team camp. Each of them impressed during Martin Rennie’s mini-camp in November and were rewarded by having the chance to train with the first team and again show their stuff in preseason.
The third player is Vancouverite Callum Irving, a goalkeeper that has been called up to the Canadian U-18 national team and is highly rated by Whitecaps FC goalkeeper coach Marius Rovde. He will have a great opportunity to gain some valuable experience training with the first team, especially having veteran Joe Cannon as a mentor.
I am excited by the future of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and that’s largely because of our Residency program. Players such as Alderson, Clarke, Fisk, Irving, and Teibert are the next batch of youngsters knocking on the door, looking to make their mark at both club and country. And there are a number of other players not that far behind.
With young talent like this coming through, who says the future is not bright – for Whitecaps FC, and for each and every one of our Canadian players.
Since 1979, Carl Valentine has been an integral part of the soccer community in Vancouver. A club legend, Carl was a key player for the Whitecaps FC team that won the 1979 North American Soccer League (NASL) Soccer Bowl, as well as the 86ers squads that won four Canadian Soccer League (CSL) titles. Now, Carl represents the 'Caps as club ambassador. Make sure to check back regularly for his columns and videos as part of 'The TWO ONE'.
23 January 11:12 am


I was going to start off this column by saying that I would love to be participating in preseason now, with all of the scientific advances on the medical side of things. But then I gave myself a slap across the head, because that is not true. I hated running – as funny as that seems for a professional athlete to say – and preseason was a nightmare that I did not look forward to.
Don’t get me wrong, I was always excited to be starting a new season and to meet up with my teammates old and new, but you have to remember that in my day preseason was a real slog. We would not see a soccer ball for the first two weeks. Instead, we had to do many long runs with lots of hills, and if the manager was in a foul mood he would even make us run in the sand. All the while I’d be thinking “let’s get this over with and get the ball out and play!” With that said, I know our current ‘Caps players are reared and ready to go. I can feel the anticipation building quickly as we look forward to a new Major League Soccer season.
Fresh start
Things certainly look a lot different than last year. We have a new coach in Martin Rennie, a revamped squad, and we’ll play the whole season in one stadium this time around, the beautiful BC Place. Most importantly, we now have the experience of a full season in MLS.
We also have physiotherapist consultant Rick Celebrini on board to complement our excellent medical staff. His contributions have been instrumental in getting players such as Jay DeMerit and John Thorrington over their lingering injuries.
Yes, our players have been away from the game since mid-November, but they went away with a fitness program designed to keep them ticking over the course of the off-season. In the modern game, there is more of a science to sport – as we know a lot more about our bodies then we used to – and the medical staff can monitor a player’s fitness more easily.
My how things have changed
I remember going to England for preseason with the Whitecaps back in the day. I had a fun off-season, eating lots and having a few drinks, but when I returned I was in for a bit of a rude awakening.
John Giles was the coach then and we were two days into training when he called me over and told me to lose 10lbs in the next two weeks – and when the coach tells you to shed a few, that’s exactly what you’ll do if you know what’s good for you. I did that by wearing a garbage bag under my training gear – a trick I got off ‘Wee’ Willie Johnston, the great Scottish international that played on the opposite wing from me for the ‘Caps.
The next off-season I worked out in the gym and came into camp in much better shape, or so I thought anyway …wrong! Two days into camp, coach Giles pulled me to the side and hammered me for putting too much muscle on, which he said would slow me down. He may have been right, but there was definitely no science to his reasoning.
Round 2!
The players will come into preseason with mixed emotions. For the first few days, they could very well be nervous and apprehensive, as they hope that they’re in decent shape so they do not get injured, which would set them back and leave them having to catch up. They’ll also be excited though, as they get to meet a number of new teammates. For those new players such as Martín Bonjour, Jun Marques Davidson, Brad Knighton, Young-Pyo Lee, Darren Mattocks, Lee Nguyen and Matt Watson, this will be the first step in making Vancouver their new home. On the field, meanwhile, some will be fighting to make the roster, but all will be trying to impress the new coaching staff led by Rennie.
Yes, it is a time for optimism amongst the players and staff as we head towards our second season in MLS.
The squad will come into camp a lot fitter than in my day, and the boys will see the ball a lot quicker than I ever did.  But I imagine the emotions will remain the same, because the thrill of a new season never gets old.
Since 1979, Carl Valentine has been an integral part of the soccer community in Vancouver. A club legend, Carl was a key player for the Whitecaps FC team that won the 1979 North American Soccer League (NASL) Soccer Bowl, as well as the 86ers squads that won four Canadian Soccer League (CSL) titles. Now, Carl represents the 'Caps as club ambassador. Make sure to check back regularly for his columns and videos as part of 'The TWO ONE'.
20 January 11:16 am


In February of 1979, as a young 20-year-old lad, I arrived in Vancouver to begin an exciting journey but I never could have guessed just how exciting it would be. The years that have passed have seen me win a North American Soccer League (NASL) Soccer Bowl championship with the Whitecaps in 1979, four Canadian Soccer League championships with the Vancouver 86ers, become a Canadian citizen, and represent this great land at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.
My fondest memory over the 32 years that I have lived here, however, was being named most popular player and most popular athlete in a Vancouver Sun poll. I say this not to pump my own ego, though I was certainly flattered. I say this because it showed the special relationship that I have been blessed to have with the fans here in Vancouver.
Another historic moment for me was the day I had my jersey retired, as it meant that Carl Valentine and number 21 would always be connected to the Vancouver soccer community – hence the launch of my new brand, The TWO ONE. I am hoping this is going to strengthen my relationship with fans old and new.
I have always felt very fortunate to be able to play and coach soccer for a living and it’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for the rest of my life. Now, as I embark on the next chapter in my role as Whitecaps FC club ambassador, I could not be happier.
So what can you expect as you join me in The TWO ONE?
  • Updates on everything about the ’Caps.
  • Regular columns on featuring opinions on hot topics in soccer.
  • Fun videos (with my partner in crime, videographer extraordinaire Zac Ratcliffe), including behind-the-scenes footage.
  • And of course – most importantly – interaction and feedback from fans. Because in the end, nothing is more important than you the fans.
  • Soccer has been part of my life since I can remember, and I am obviously biased when I say that this is the best sport in the world. It’s awfully hard to argue that point though when you see the devotion and passionate opinions of the fans.
My hope is that The TWO ONE will bring out that passion and we can share our opinions of the game we have come to love. We will not agree on everything we talk about, and I am OK with that. After all, I will probably always be right. Well, that last part may be a stretch, but I look forward to debating different topics in soccer and hearing your views on the most popular sport in the world, especially about our beloved Whitecaps FC.
So without further ado, let’s kick off The TWO ONE!