Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced that Martin Nash, Eduardo Sebrango, Wesley Charles, and Takashi Hirano have all been named in the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) All-League Teams for the 2008 season.
Nash was named as one of four midfielders in the USL-1 All-League First Team, while Sebrango, Charles, and Hirano all earned places in the USL-1 All-League Second Team.
For Nash, this season's honour is the third time that he has made an All-League First Team in the USL-1. In his eighth season with Vancouver, the 32-year-old first made the league's all-star first XI as a member of the Whitecaps (then 86ers) back in 1996, while the Canadian international's second selection came in 2007 after he set a new ironman record of 77 consecutive games played for the club. As a member of the Rochester Raging Rhinos in 2000, Nash made the All-League Second Team after helping the Upstate New York club to the USL-1 championship title.
This season, Nash was a constant in the Whitecaps line-up, as he started all 30 matches in the regular season for 2,626 minutes. That total saw him finish fourth among the league's minute leaders. The midfielder also registered one goal and three assists for five points, with his lone goal being a spectacular match-winner in Vancouver's 3-1 home win over Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers on June 7. Nash also earned a USL-1 Team of the Week honour in Week Eight.
Joining Nash in the end-of-season league honours is the club's leading goalscorer Sebrango. The Cuban forward was one of two strikers named in the All-League Second Team after finishing third among the league's top goalscorers with 12 goals. He also finished in a tie for third with Atlanta Silverbacks forward Macoumba Kandji with 27 points in USL-1. Having appeared in all but one match during the regular season, Sebrango was also third in the league with 67 shots in 29 games. In his fourth season with the Whitecaps, Sebrango made the USL-1 Team of the Week on no less than six occasions (Weeks One, Four, Eight, 13, 17, and 20). Sebrango's efforts in 2008 also saw him claim several of the Whitecaps end-of-season awards, with the forward receiving the Most Valuable Player honour, the Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot as top goalscorer, the Fan Favourite Award, and the Blue & White Award for outstanding team spirit and community involvement.
This is the second time in Sebrango's career that the striker has made an All-League Team, having been named in the 2002 USL-1 First Team as a member of Montreal Impact.
Two Whitecaps defenders in Charles and Hirano also made the All-League Second Team in their first-ever USL-1 seasons. Despite only signing for the club on July 11, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international Charles was a key figure in helping the Whitecaps to a second-place finish in the league standings, having filled the void at centre back left by the departure of Canadian international Adrian Cann to Danish club Esbjerg forenede Boldklubber (EfB) this summer. The 32-year-old made a total of 13 regular season appearances for 1,051 minutes. He also earned an assist on Luca Bellisomo's goal in Vancouver's 3-2 defeat away to Atlanta Silverbacks on August 5.
Hirano also makes the All-League Second Team after making a significant contribution at left fullback for Teitur Thordarson's side in 2008. After signing for the Whitecaps on March 12, the former Japanese international made 22 appearances during the regular season for a total of 1,682 minutes. The 34-year-old scored his only goal from an exquisite free kick during a 1-1 away draw with Puerto Rico Islanders on August 31. The former J.League star's performances during the season also earned him a place in the USL-1 Team of the Week on two occasions (Weeks Four and 20). The popular defender was also named as the club's Newcomer of the Year earlier this month.
CLICK HERE for the complete list of All-League Teams.
The Whitecaps will battle Canadian rivals Montreal Impact in the USL-1 semifinals this weekend. The series will kickoff in Montreal, Quebec at Stade Saputo on Friday, October 3, at 5 p.m. PT. The second leg will be played in Burnaby, BC at Swangard Stadium on Sunday, October 5, at 3:30 p.m. PT. Tickets for the Whitecaps USL-1 semifinal home playoff match are now available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at ticketmaster.ca, and by phone at 604.280.4400. For information on group tickets call the Whitecaps office at 604.669.WAVE (9283) or visit whitecapsfc.com.