The 2011 season was a tough slog for Vancouver Whitecaps FC veteran John Thorrington. Injuries and expansion-year woes made it a long campaign for him, both individually and in a team sense.
But the former Manchester United youth player finished the season strongly, putting in some fine appearances alongside youngster Gershon Koffie in the heart of midfield, including a fine display in Vancouver's 2-1 win over D.C. United that earned him a nod to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week.
In some ways, the 32-year-old is fresher than some of his teammates, having been restricted to watching on the sidelines due to a series of injuries. Thorrington went 90 minutes only seven times this season, and three of those occasions were in the final three matches of this campaign.
Now he’s hoping to carry that form into incoming coach Martin Rennie’s postseason evaluation camp.
“For me, I’m actually upset the season’s ending when it is,” Thorrington told MLSsoccer.com following the conclusion of the season. “I’m stringing together 90-minute games and feeling good, but we’re professionals. If [the club] decides that to help prepare us for next year a training camp is in order, then you show up and give your best.”
Thorrington has been vocal about the impact made by Rick Celebrini to his return to fitness. The innovative physiotherapist has received rave reviews from the playing staff since the ‘Caps brought in the former Vancouver 86ers player, notably helping Jay DeMerit get over persistent groin and adductor issues.
While most teammates took a week off to rest weary legs, Thorrington continued treatment with Celebrini in preparation for Rennie’s 7-day camp.
“[Celebrini] has done a great job of managing me through these last couple of months,” Thorrington said. “But this issue I have with my back does need some extended, concentrated therapy away from the pressures of training and playing games.”
Rennie’s evaluation camp begins on Wednesday, will run for 7 days and include two intrasquad matches.
“He’ll be coming in and adopting a pretty talented squad,” Thorrington said. “Obviously the staff have some decisions to make about who has proven their worth this year. I trust that they know what they’re doing in terms of preparing this team for next year and we need to move into next season expecting to be a playoff team.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.