This coming Saturday, June 15 is Alumni Night at BC Place, with approximately 75 members of the 'Caps family on hand to watch Whitecaps FC battle New England Revolution at BC Place (Tickets: ticketmaster.ca). Leading up to Saturday's match, we take a look back at a few of their careers and find out what they're up to now.
WHERE HE STARTED: Carlo Corazzin can still remember when several players from Vancouver 86ers visited his elementary school. He was 12-years-old at the time. From that day on the New Westminister native knew he wanted to become a professional soccer player.
“I was young and naïve at the time, but I’ve been very fortunate enough to have the opportunity and the people around me to get there,” said Corazzin. “I’ve had a great career.”
He began playing soccer at the age of five for the club Cape Horn in Coquitlam before they became Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club.
The Canadian striker got his first break as a pro soccer player in the summer of 1998 when he was on a family vacation in Italy. A young Corazzin was kicking a ball around on a church field when a scout from A.S.D. Giorgione Calcio was impressed by his technique, thus offering him a chance to practice with the squad.
“My dad was supportive of it, but my mom wasn’t too fond of the idea,” Corazzin recalls.
WHERE HE WENT: The local boy formally began his professional career with Winnipeg Fury of the Canadian Soccer League (CSL) in 1992. The following season, Corazzin was offered a chance to come back to his hometown to play for Vanocuver 86ers by Bob Lenarduzzi; an offer he graciously accepted.
In his first go around with Vancouver, he tallied seven goals in 24 appearances.
After one season with the Blue and White, he decided to take his talents over the pond where he would play for four English clubs in the span of eight years from 1994 to 2002: Cambridge United, Plymouth Argyle, Northampton Town and Oldham Athletic.
His most clinical season came in 1997-98 when he notched 16 goals in 38 appearances for Plymouth Argyle. He would go on to score 16 goals again the following year.
In Oldham’s 5-1 rout of Wrexham F.C. during the 2001 season, Corazzin scored four times in one of the most spectacular individual performances of his career.
In 2003, the hometown hero came back to Vancouver once more, this time to play for Lenarduzzi’s Whitecaps FC. The decision to return to North American soccer was a family-orientated one for the 41-year-old.
“My oldest boy was almost five-years-old by that point, and I had always told my wife I’d come home to play when he’d start school.”
The striker’s return to the ‘Caps marked an incredible season for Vancouver, where he contributed to the club’s 13-game unbeaten streak. Unfortunately, they were unable to win the United Soccer Leagues (USL) A-League championship that year, losing in the division final to Seattle Sounders on penalty kicks, 5-6; for the record Corazzin converted his penalty successfully in the shootout.
Despite everything he’s accomplished overseas and for the ‘Caps, Corazzin insists that contributing to Canada’s triumph in the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup is what he’s proudest of. Corazzin and the Canadians defeated Columbia 2-0 in the finals of the tournament.
The New Wesminister product was awarded the tournament's Golden Boot, leading all scorers with four goals. Among the other players representing Canada at the 2000 Gold Cup were current television personalities, Craig Forrest and Jason DeVos.
“Canada doesn’t win much on the international stage in soccer, so the highlight of my career was winning the 2000 Gold Cup,” he said. “Anytime you get to represent your country is an honour.”
In international play, Corazzin scored 11 goals in 59 caps.
He retired as a 'Caps player in 2006.
WHERE HE IS: The former Canadian goalscoring machine is now an analyst for TEAM radio, providing pre-game and post-game coverage for Whitecaps FC matches.
“Last year I did eight games for them, they liked my work and asked if I wanted to do it full-time this season.”
And his analysis certainly comes from experience.
“The radio station would like my opinion, from a former player’s point of view."
While Corazzin is still making inroads when it comes to broadcasting, it’s undeniable that he’s left his mark on Canadian soccer, both at the international level and at the club level, throughout his 13 year playing career.
Mission accomplished, one could say.