Vancouver could struggle to retain its homegrown core - The Province

Full-time training not an option for some

Marc Weber

Whitecaps' officials crowed this week about Canadian content. They are, however, facing a Canadian conundrum.

Head coach Teitur Thordarson, whose side had eight internationals as regulars last season, said Wednesday that one of the reasons for signing defender Justin Thompson was his North Vancouver roots.

"He's from here and I think that's an important thing," the coach said.

President Bob Lenarduzzi made similar comments on Tuesday when discussing signing players in general, but no doubt the biggest question facing management right now is what to do with its current homegrown core.

Midfielder Martin Nash (Victoria) is the only local veteran signed with one year left on his two-year deal.

Defenders/midfielders Jeff Clarke (Coquitlam) and Steve Kindel (Burnaby), midfielder Alfredo Valente (Vancouver), defender Geordie Lyall (Victoria) and forward Jason Jordan (Richmond) are all in contract limbo.

There are 54 years of USL experience in that group, 52 of those with Vancouver, not to mention two USL-1 titles in the last three seasons. But the Whitecaps are moving toward a year-round schedule and could begin training close to full-time as soon as January, with a possible trip to Africa in February.

That's likely not going to be an option for championship-game starters Clarke, Kindel and Valente, who are all head coaches with local soccer associations. Jordan coaches too and Lyall is a substitute teacher.

"We are going through all these things at the moment," Thordarson said.

mweber@theprovince.com
© The Vancouver Province 2008