Salinas, Leathers happily reunited in Vancouver

Former Furman U. 'mates eager to share field in Whitecaps kit

Jonny Leathers and Shea Salinas (Jeffrey Farrar)

Photo Credit: 
Jeffrey Farrar

Adjusting to a new job takes time. You have to learn your responsibilities, get comfortable in the environment and work hard to impress the boss. That process, though, is always easier when you know a co-worker.

That’s the case for Shea Salinas and Jonathan Leathers, two fresh faces on Vancouver Whitecaps FC who are quite familiar with one another, and happy to be re-united.

The duo first met in college when they arrived at Furman University as part of a talented freshman class. As seniors, Salinas led the Paladins in points and earned All-Southern Conference first team honors, while Leathers was named Southern Conference Player of the Year for anchoring a defense that posted a league-best 10 shutouts and an 0.77 goals-against average. 

 

“We had 11 guys in our freshman class and seven of us started at one point,” Salinas said. “We were really good our senior year. We were ranked 16th in the nation and were undefeated in conference and in the conference tournament.”

Participating in the Whitecaps FC recent offseason training camp reminded the pair of their time at Furman, not only because of their familiarity with one another, but also because of Wes Knight, who played at Southern Conference rival College of Charleston.

“I remember winning,” Salinas stated. “I think we won every game against Wes, while he was there.”

While they were adversaries with Knight in college, they’ll surely get to know him better now as a teammate, just as they once did through their mutual experiences at Furman.

“Shea is a great person,” Leathers said of Salinas. “I was fortunate enough to know him pretty well in college and I know his wife from Furman as well. He stays out of trouble and he’s a good guy.”

They both agree that their time together in college was time well spent, looking back at their school days with fond memories.

“We got our heads shaved together freshman year,” Salinas remembered. “All the freshman players had to do it as initiation.”

Salinas and Leathers have kept in touch since their Furman days. In fact, Leathers first found out that he’d been selected by Vancouver from a text message he received from Salinas.

 

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“He texted me saying, ‘It looks like we’re going to be teammates again,’" Leathers laughed. "So I said, ‘Oh, yeah? Nice, what happened?”

Leathers spent three seasons in Kansas City before being selected by Whitecaps FC in the 2010 Expansion Draft. The defender logged more than 2,000 minutes for the team.

“I liked Kansas City, I liked the organization, but at the same time, I’m excited to go to Vancouver,” said Leathers. “It’s a new city and I like all the staff and I loved playing with Shea at Furman. He’s a threat going forward and I’d much rather play with him than against him.”

Salinas reciprocated the praise for his college teammate and roommate during Vancouver’s recently wrapped training camp in Ventura, California.

“He was a great teammate and he was always one of the leaders on and off the field,” Salinas said of Leathers. “I enjoyed playing with him and I was excited when I found out that he was going to be my teammate again.”