Having brother as owner won't make it easy - The Province

Caps' captain doesn't expect any favours from his older sibling

BY MARC WEBER

Brother of an owner.

That might allow some to rest easy, but Whitecaps' captain Martin Nash isn't taking anything for granted.

"Nothing's going to be handed to anyone," said Nash, whose squad returned from their two-week Tanzanian tour on Thursday, a day after Major League Soccer tabbed Vancouver as its 17th franchise, to begin play in 2011.

Martin's slightly older brother Steve -- the NBA star, if you haven't heard -- is one of the Caps' MLS owners.

"It's quiet excitement," Martin Nash said of the team's reaction to the MLS news.

"You're thinking about what you have to do personally to be there. Obviously they'll pick up a few international players and create the team around them, but look at Seattle -- they've got four or five players who were on their USL team and a couple started [against New York on Thursday]."

Nash will be 35 when the 2011 season is set to kick off. He was one of the Caps' best players last season, especially in the second half of the campaign. He can still make passes that few in either the USL or MLS can pull out of their bags of tricks.

The chance to play in North America's top league, he said, serves as a little extra incentive for the off-season.

"It'll take a little bit more effort to stay in shape," he said. "Mainly, though, you've just got to keep going, keep working hard and improving.

"Hopefully my body holds up and I'll be able to play in 2011. It would be really neat to play for a team that [Steve's] involved in."

The brothers had been playing phone tag as of Saturday night and hadn't yet connected on the MLS topic.

Nash said the African trip exceeded his expectations.

The Whitecaps played three games, going 1-1-1 including a draw with the Tanzanian national team, and there was plenty of time for bonding.

"It was the experience of a lifetime, it really was," he said.

"I think we're stronger for it. We're fitter, more on the same page. We're not there yet, but we're coming together."

The team returns to practice Monday and faces the UBC Thunderbirds at UBC on Tuesday. They open their USL-1 title defence on April 11.

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