Week four of Whitecaps FC's six-week offseason training camp is underway, with the Blue and White having moved inside to the warmer confines of Burnaby 8-Rinks following a spell of freezing weather on the Lower Mainland.
With head coach Teitur Thordarson working diligently with director of soccer operations Tom Soehn in preparation of Wednesday's Major League Soccer Expansion Draft, assistant coach Colin Miller and goalkeeping coach Mike Salmon have been putting the players through their paces.
Miller has been pleased with the squad's efforts since the camp began at the start of November. "The attitude of the players has been absolutely fantastic," said the former Canadian national team captain. "They've been a joy to work with and have put every ounce of effort into their training. We've been keeping the players ticking over in these past few weeks and having to manage their workload. The maximum session we have done has been no more than an hour and 35 minutes."
This week saw the return of three players in midfielders Philippe Davies and Ethan Gage, and striker Kyle Porter. The trio were recently training with Canada's U-23 Olympic squad in Sunrise, Florida, under the stewardship of former Whitecaps FC head coach Tony Fonseca.
A further boost to the squad has been the return to fitness of youngster Russell Teibert, with the promising midfielder coming through the past week of training unscathed. Trialist striker Long Tan, meanwhile, has also looked impressive in training since arriving from USSF D-2 Pro League outfit FC Tampa Bay. The Chinese attacker joined the 'Caps as part of the trade that saw midfielders Ricardo Sanchez and Jonathan Steele head to the Florida club last season.
Thordarson's squad also benefited from the coaching expertise of former Whitecaps FC players Dale Mitchell and Carl Valentine.
With the 'Caps adding new players to their roster from this week's MLS Expansion Draft, Miller is anticipating an interesting camp in Ventura Beach, California, starting this weekend. "We have a group of players here that have spent a year together, and all of a sudden, we'll be adding new players from other MLS clubs," Miller said. "From a coaching point of view, it's exciting to know that the level of our team will move up to a whole new standard, once the new players come in."
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