Injuries open door for Burnaby native to go to Africa
By Marc Weber
Gordon Chin was owed a good break. It came in the form of a bad one for Lyle Martin.
Martin, the Whitecaps' speedy right back, is out at least eight to 10 weeks with a broken right foot, so he'll miss the start of the USL-1 season and also the Caps' two-week tour of Tanzania, which kicks off with an exhausting flight tonight.
Enter Chin, the bite-sized Burnaby midfielder recently left in limbo after a botched contract in China.
The one-time Whitecap from 2003 joined Teitur Thordarson's current Caps squad in mid-February as more of a favour to keep fit, but he's worked his way up to "trialist" status and now he's filling Martin's roster spot in Africa.
"Things were looking kind of down," said Chin, 25, "but with this news, things are looking like they're on the up and up again. Being able to train with Vancouver was a great opportunity and now going to Africa is unbelievable." The former Portsmouth youth player spent last season in the Chinese second division and returned to China this January where he had a deal in place to play for Super League side Changsha Ginde. But the man who'd agreed to the contract had since resigned without telling Chin or his agent.
The team took a look at Chin, but after a month sent him away. He stayed with his agent in Beijing for a few days but a subsequent second division deal couldn't be worked out.
"It was terrible," said Chin. "Two days before training camp I got the news they were sending me home. It was a cool experience to be in Beijing for Chinese New Year -- that was like Halloween times 10 -- but from the professional side of things it was a huge disappointment." He could certainly log some time in Tanzania, where the Caps play the national team -- 103rd in the FIFA rankings -- on March 8, followed by matches against top club sides on March 11 and 14th.
Caps' captain Martin Nash has been cleared to travel but he's coming off a concussion and three Caps' forwards are away at the U-20 CONCACAF championship.
"I was prepared to do anything to come and train with the team," said Chin, who played 27 games in USL-1 with the Charleston Battery in 2007. "I've been playing left back, I've played up front. Preferably I'd like to play in the middle of the park, but I'll do whatever it's going to take to play."
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