Will midfielder John Thorrington be back with Vancouver Whitecaps FC next season?
Well, nothing is certain, with the 33-year-old out of contract – although the club does hold an option to bring him back.
But from speaking with both the team and the player, it’s clear both are happy to continue the relationship -- under the right conditions.
“We had two meetings which were positive,” Thorrington told MLSsoccer.com. “We need to iron out the details and provided those details are right and both parties are happy with it, I would see myself coming back.”
The former Manchester United trainee has been an important part of Vancouver’s core leadership group of original MLS Whitecaps along with captain Jay DeMerit and Joe Cannon, and he suggests the conversation about what sort of role he’ll be asked to play next season is of greater importance to him than cash.
“At this stage of my career, I want to be somewhere – and money is part of it – but I want to be somewhere I’m valued and what I bring to the table is appreciated and valued fairly,” Thorrington said. “As a player, if you say, ‘I’m in and I’m committed to seeing this team do well,’ you sort of give up your selfish ambition in a sense. You’re joining a team and no matter what happens, whether you’re playing or not, you’re committing to a team and have to want the best for the team and not for yourself.
“Most of the time I hope that aligns and that means I’m starting, I’m playing, that I’ve got a big role to play.”
But Thorrington also suggests he wants to continue playing a prominent role as a mentor for the club’s younger players.
While the midfielder is halfway through completing a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University and says he always saw himself as working on the business side of the sport upon retiring, he admits working closer with some of the players trying to break through to the first team this season has made him consider coaching at some point.
“I’ve always thought I’d get a business degree and do something more front office related,” Thorrington said. “But I’d say that the buzz I did get from working with the younger guys and the coaches being willing to allow me to do that and helping me in that role and talking to the coaches and having a good relationship with them, I’d say it opened my eyes to that possibility more so.”
That work he’s been doing beyond his duties as a player is something appreciated by the club’s head coach, and something that factors into the discussions about whether he’ll be back for a third year with the ‘Caps.
“There’s a good chance,” Rennie told MLSsoccer.com of the odds of Thorrington coming back during a recent interview. “We’re in discussions with a lot of players. It’s difficult to go into too much detail but I think John brings a lot to the club on the field and off the field, so I’m hopeful we can work something out that works for everybody.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.