Roster moves create 'significant amount of cap space' for Whitecaps FC's incoming head coach

New coach will have "flexibility and freedom" to fill out roster

VANCOUVER, BC – The various roster moves made by Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Thursday create “a significant amount of cap space” for the incoming head coach, according to club president Bob Lenarduzzi.

Whitecaps FC announced on Thursday that they have picked up the contract options on 11 players from last year’s squad, bringing the total number of players under contract for next season to 19. A Major League Soccer team may have up to 30 players on its roster at any given time.

It was also announced that the club has declined the options on eight players, which will give the new head coach a real opportunity to put his stamp on the team, said Lenarduzzi.

“It’s definitely a positive opportunity for someone coming in,” Lenarduzzi told whitecapsfc.com. “The coach will have the flexibility and freedom to fill out the roster.”

With the club currently in the process of hiring a new head coach and the league’s Wednesday deadline for exercising players options, the roster moves were made by Lenarduzzi with input from the club’s director of professional teams Greg Anderson, as well as the assistant coaches.

The incoming manager will be responsible for any further player personnel matters, such as the decision on out-of-contract captain Jay DeMerit, Lenarduzzi added.  

“The new coach will obviously look at what he has to work with and then from there identify the areas we need to upgrade,” said Lenarduzzi, who told media that the search for a new head coach is at its final stages. 

As expected, the group of players retained includes the likes of Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo, Canadian international Russell Teibert, midfielders Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker and defenders Jordan Harvey and Carlyle Mitchell.

It also includes veteran midfielder Matt Watson and youngsters Aminu Abdallah, Bryce Alderson, Erik Hurtado, and Omar Salgado, who missed last season with­ a fractured right foot.

With the players whose options were exercised, as well as those who were already on guaranteed contracts, Lenarduzzi said he believes there’s a healthy balance of young and veteran players in the fold.

“I think we have a lot of young players who have either illustrated what they can do or have shown enough potential to push for the opportunity to earn minutes,” he said. “At the same time, with senior players like Reo-Coker, Andy O’Brien, Kenny Miller, and David Ousted, we’re excited about the direction of our 2014 roster.”

O’Brien, Ousted, and Miller were among the group of players who had guaranteed contracts heading into the 2014 season. The others are youngsters Sam Adekugbe, Caleb Clarke, Johnny Leveron, Kekuta Manneh and Darren Mattocks.

Whitecaps FC 2014 season tickets are now on sale and start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The club is also offering a flexible range of additional products, including half-season packs, 5-packs, student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets