By Bob Mackin
Early and often is the training philosophy of Vancouver Whitecaps' head coach Teitur Thordarson.
The club kicked off its winter training camp Tuesday with a conditioning session at Burnaby 8-Rinks, almost three months before it begins defence of its United Soccer Leagues' First Division championship. Thordarson said the club continues to seek a backup goalkeeper and another striker. Ansu Tore, a former Miami FC and Atlanta Silverbacks' striker, is at camp and could sign a deal. Defenders Geordie Lyall and Takashi Hirano were re-inked. Lyall, however, is on the mend from ankle surgery and Japanese international Hirano was listed as out-of-town.
The camp is notable for the absence of veterans Jeff Clarke, Steve Kindel and Alfredo Valente, who parted ways with the Caps for "philosophical reasons."
"These are players who had been a big part of the team for many years, players with many years of experience from the USL-1, but we are trying to extend the season," Thordarson said. "These players are all possibly in the last years of their career. The main thing was they didn't buy into our way of playing."
Thordarson is awaiting confirmation of the club's exhibition tour of Tanzania and is trying to arrange pre-season exhibition games with the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders, who debut in Major League Soccer on March 19. He said the African soccer safari would be "an opportunity to go abroad and play good games in good weather."