Whitecaps open 2009 training camp
Preparations for the 2009 Vancouver Whitecaps men's team season began this week with the start of training camp.
Though Teitur Thordarson's side do not begin the defence of their USL First Division championship title until April, the Icelandic tactician and his assistant, Todd Wawrousek, have set their plans in motion by getting the players into camp this month.
CLICK HERE to watch an exclusive interview with Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson and highlights from Tuesday's training session.
The Blue & White will have a new look and feel to their side in 2009, with several new faces being introduced to the squad. They include Haitian midfielder Kenold Versailles, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines international striker Marlon James, and former Minnesota Thunder, Atlanta Silverbacks, and Miami FC Blues winger Ansu Toure. Centre back Justin Thompson, meanwhile, is back for a second spell with his hometown club after spending the past two USL-1 seasons with Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers.
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The 'Caps will also look to the experience of defender Geordie Lyall and midfielder Martin Nash as key components to their side in 2009. Entering his 11th straight season with the club, Lyall will be keen to overcome the injury concerns that bothered him for much of last season, while Nash will hope to emulate his 2008 campaign where he started in all 39 competitive matches for Vancouver.
Several members of the Whitecaps Residency squad will also look to make their mark on the first team after progressing through the program in the past year. Goalkeeper Simon Thomas, defender/midfielders Philippe Davies and Ethan Gage, winger Alex Semenets, and strikers Randy Edwini-Bonsu and Dever Orgill may have important roles to play in the side, as the 'Caps aim for more success in USL-1 and triumph in the second edition of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
Thordarson and Wawrousek will also take a closer look at several trialists during the coming weeks. Canadian youngsters Keegan Ayre, Marcus Haber, Jacob Lensky and Michael Nonni are players that hope to impress the Whitecaps coaching staff during camp, while American midfielder Kenny Cutler is looking for a move to the Lower Mainland after spending the past three seasons with Major League Soccer club Real Salt Lake.
After an opening training session on Monday, players were then tested on their aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels by the club's strength and conditioning specialist Steve Ramsbottom on Tuesday. The likes of midfielder Navid Mashinchi and defender Luca Bellisomo scored well in the treadmill test, while second-year defender Mason Trafford performed well in the beep test at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.
With preseason now underway, Whitecaps fans and local media are encouraged to check out the new-look men's team on Thursday morning, as Thordarson's squad will be training at Ambleside Park East in West Vancouver from 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Whitecaps 2009 season tickets are now on sale. Season tickets include all men’s and women's team regular season and playoff home matches at Swangard Stadium, Nutrilite Canadian Championship home matches against Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, as well as priority listing for BC Place and the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. For more information on the 2009 season ticket packages, call 604.669.WAVE (9283) or CLICK HERE.