Camilo switches it up

Brazilian hopes to buck unlucky No. 7 trend in Vancouver

BURNABY, BC – After a downturn in scoring during the 2012 season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC attacker Camilo is hoping a switch to jersey No. 7 from his No. 37 will bring a bit of fortune in 2013.

“I like the No. 7,” Camilo said, adding that he used to wear it while playing club soccer in Brazil. “So, when I came back and nobody had it, I changed it.”

It’s not the first time Camilo has tinkered with his jersey. He also alternated between using “Sanvezzo” or “Camilo” on his back depending on form in 2011, when he hit 12 goals for the then-expansion side.

“I don’t really know how that came about,” head coach Martin Rennie said of Camilo’s number change. “That would be my chosen number if I could take it, too, so hopefully that helps him – lucky No. 7.”

While it’s known as a lucky number traditionally, it’s been a bit of a bogey shirt for the Whitecaps in MLS thus far. Terry Dunfield wore it in 2011 before being traded to Toronto FC, then Designated Player Mustapha Jarju wore it for his ill-fated 12-game stint with the club in 2011.

In early 2012, Sébastien Le Toux wore it for his abbreviated 19-game spell with the ‘Caps, and most recently Kenny Miller wore it for his 13 MLS games later in 2012, when he bagged just two goals in 13 appearances after arriving with much fanfare as a Designated Player.

Still, Camilo isn’t bothered by the struggles of the past men to wear the shirt – and is ready to get back to his best this time out.

“I hope this year I can score more goals,” Camilo said, reflecting on his five-goal 2012 season. “But, last season I think I played well – just Darren Mattocks had more goals than me and no one had more assists than me [on Whitecaps FC]. Of course I want to score more, I want to play more games, but I’m happy and now just focused on the season.”

Indeed, Camilo’s playmaking ability, which led to a team-leading seven assists in 2012, is something Rennie is hoping the diminutive attacker can develop even further. After all, at just 24-years-old, there’s plenty of room for growth.

“In the first year, teams didn’t really know who he was and didn’t know much about him,” Rennie said. “Last year, teams maybe marked him a little bit differently and that made it a little bit more difficult … Camilo’s obviously got quality in the final third and he’s still young.

“Camilo’s not a veteran player by any stretch so hopefully he can have a season where he scores a lot of goals and gets a lot of assists, and if he does that would be really important for us.”

Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.