Back to business: Whitecaps FC return to pitch for first preseason training session of 2014

“They were switched on and the desire to train was there"

VANCOUVER, BC – It was a busy day for Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Monday, as the club announced the additions of assistant coach Martyn Pert, midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy, and right back Steven Beitashour before returning to the pitch for the first day of preseason training.

Monday’s sessions – the ‘Caps are training twice a day this week at the University of British Columbia – were the first under Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. Though it was only the first day, Robinson said he liked what he saw from the group in terms of attitude, energy, and application.

“They were switched on and the desire to train was there,” he told reporters after the session. “I think that has to be a must. One thing I’m going to focus on this year is that you train the way you play. You can’t be a tap or a light switch and turn it on and off when you want.”

Of the 37 players included on the 'Caps preseason roster, 25 of them were born in the 1990s. There's no doubt that it's a young group, but according to experienced midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, it's a highly talented group with great potential. 

"I'm excited about the young talent that we have," said Reo-Coker, who combined well with Residency midfielder Marco Bustos during the morning session. "I can't really put it across too well on the camera. I think it's going to be for you guys to see how talented these young guys are. It's a great core for the club to have. We've got a young exciting team who are going to play exciting, attacking football."

It was clear from the different possession drills and small-sided games on Monday that Robinson wants to play with an up-tempo attacking flair, which is part of the reason why the club acquired Beitashour on Monday. And the ‘Caps manager said he’s not done strengthening the squad just yet.

“I want to make the team exciting … I want to make it creative,” Robinson said. “I think with the players that we’ve got supplemented with some more creative players, I think it will be exciting. There will be additions coming in to help the rest of the guys.”

News and notes:

- Beitashour was slated to arrive in Vancouver on Monday afternoon and is expected to train on Tuesday.

- Ballouchy is currently recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee. Robinson told reporters he expects Ballouchy to be healthy in a couple weeks.

- Whitecaps FC midfielder Aminu Abdallah and draft pick Mackenzie Pridham will also arrive in Vancouver later this week.

- Recent Whitecaps FC draft picks Michael Calderon, Mamadou Diouf, and Andre Lewis will join the team in Casa Grande, Arizona, as they are awaiting their Canadian work permits and visas.

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Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.