With the inaugural season for Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Major League Soccer (MLS) now complete, many fans may ponder what a typical off-season looks like during the winter months. While the off-season may signal a time for fans to reflect on past memories throughout the season, MLS clubs around the league continue in high-gear in preparation for the next campaign. And for Whitecaps FC, there are no exceptions, as they build for their first full season playing on Bell Pitch at BC Place.
New Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie begins his tenure with a week-long training camp from November 2 to 9 at Burnaby Lake West turf to help determine roster decisions in preparation for the 2012 campaign. Hired by Whitecaps FC on August 9 while successfully coaching Carolina Railhawks to a North American Soccer League (NASL) regular season title, Rennie has determined his schedule for the upcoming training camp. The ‘Caps will train from November 2 to 4 and play an intrasquad match on Saturday, November 5. After a day off on Sunday, November 6, the ‘Caps will again train on November 7 and 8, before concluding with a final intra-squad match on Wednesday, November 9.
Currently, Whitecaps FC are in preparations to partake in four MLS drafts throughout November to January. Following the conclusion of the 2011 MLS Cup Final in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, November 20, the MLS trade window will open prior to the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft on Wednesday, November 23. The draft will require Whitecaps FC to protect 11 players from their roster, with Generation adidas and homegrown players also automatically protected. Whitecaps FC will submit a list of protected players on Monday, November 21. All other players not protected will be available for selection by 2012 expansion side Montreal Impact. Whitecaps FC used this draft last season to select striker Atiba Harris, midfielders Shea Salinas and John Thorrington, defender Jonathan Leathers, and goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
Before the conclusion of the calendar year, Whitecaps FC will also participate in the 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft. The two-stage draft occurs on December 5 and 12 via conference call, with the 'Caps holding the first overall pick in both stages. Teams will select players from an eligible list that functions as a traditional waiver draft for clubs to bring in new talent from fellow MLS clubs. In short, teams may select as many players as preferred in the draft, but will be unable to continue selecting after ‘passing’ on their assigned selection spot.
Entering 2012, Whitecaps FC technical staff will participate in the five-day MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in preparation for the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, which occurs on January 12 in Kansas City, Missouri. The ‘Caps have the second overall selection behind Montreal in the two-round draft that features mostly NCAA collegiate players, but also younger up-and-coming prospects. Whitecaps FC used their first overall pick last year to select striker Omar Salgado before drafting midfielder Michael Nanchoff in the first round, as well as the versatile Jeb Brovsky and defender Bilal Duckett in subsequent rounds.
Only five days later, the ‘Caps will take part in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft, which occurs on January 17. This draft functions as a continuation from the MLS SuperDraft – via conference – with Whitecaps FC also selecting in the second overall position of the four-round draft. Vancouver used this opportunity last year to select defender Michael Boxall with their first overall pick.
During the off-season, the 2012 MLS regular season schedule will also be released, including Montreal Impact joining North America’s top tier of professional soccer as the third Canadian team. Stay tuned for upcoming signings, drafts, schedules, and more news during this busy off-season.
Whitecaps FC 2012 Major League Soccer season tickets start at $329, plus applicable tax and a $10 processing fee per order. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, including loge seats and suites, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com/protect.