OXNARD, California – Vancouver Whitecaps FC offseason training camp is an exciting time for players looking to impress the coaching staff, something that’s been frustrating for the injured Wes Knight.
The fan favourite has had to sit back and watch while he recovers from a fractured shoulder that he suffered during the first round of the USSF D-2 Pro League playoffs last season.
“It’s coming slower than I had anticipated,” said Knight. “As a competitor, you want to be out there, but you have to think longevity. There’s really no reason to rush back, so I’m just preparing for January.”
Though Knight remains in good spirits, he’s found it tedious sitting on the sidelines.
“Especially when you have all these trial players in,” said Knight. “There’s guys that are wanting to take my spot and there’s not much I can do about it.”
Knight, though, need not worry about his place on the roster. The 24-year-old signed his first MLS contract with Vancouver two weeks ago after spending the last two seasons playing with the Whitecaps D-2 side.
“This has been the goal all along,” said Knight. “Some place that I could become familiar with the coach, with the city, with the organization, then to make the jump up with them and to be prepared. I think that that’s going to be the best way for me to make an immediate impact in this league.”
After seeing friends such as Blair Gavin make it into the league, Knight is pleased to finally get his chance.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Knight. “I can remember the gutter, how terrible it felt when I didn’t get picked in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. It’s great to be on the other end of the stick now, to see how it feels to be secure at this point in time. Now it’s just time to refocus and to look at the other goals that I placed for myself.”
The South Carolina native was an MLS fan as a youngster and hopes to follow in the footsteps of players that he grew up admiring, like Clint Dempsey.
“I watched him at Furman (University) and I was close to playing against him, had he not left early,” said Knight. “Clint was such a great player and was able to go on and play overseas, and I think that that would be something that I would like to do as well.”