VANCOUVER, BC – Most people involved in Major League Soccer – or any professional soccer league, for that matter – will agree that confidence is the foundation to success for any young player.
Though not impossible, it’s hard to build confidence without consistent playing time.
That’s why Vancouver Whitecaps FC deemed it necessary to loan Corey Hertzog to North American Soccer League (NASL) side FC Edmonton last week.
The ‘Caps see a lot of potential in Hertzog, but with their current forward depth it was going to be tough for the 23-year-old striker to see regular time on the pitch.
Hertzog scores in his FC Edmonton debut
The loan to Edmonton proved fruitful almost instantly, as Hertzog scored the game-winner for Edmonton in his first appearance with the club. For his efforts, the young American was named to the NASL Team of the Week for Week 2.
“We’re really happy that he got that goal … I think he can do more of that,” Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie told whitecapsfc.com. “I think he can really help their team.”
Player loans don’t often garner the most attention, but it’s hard to ignore how beneficial they can be to a club. Just consider the recent emergence of Whitecaps FC centre back Carlyle Mitchell.
The Trinidad and Tobago international joined FC Edmonton on what was supposed to be a season-long loan at the start of the season, but was recalled on two separate occasions as a result of injuries to centre backs Jay DeMerit (ruptured Achilles tendon), Andy O’Brien (right hamstring strain) and Brad Rusin (right ankle sprain).
Though he’s happy to be back in Vancouver, Mitchell said he understands why he was sent down in the first place.
“I was very excited, because at the same time, it’s about playing time and I understand that’s the reason they sent me down,” Mitchell told whitecapsfc.com. “Getting the minutes in Edmonton was very good for me.”
In recent weeks, the 26-year-old defender has formed a steady partnership with fellow centre back Johnny Leveron and the ‘Caps have posted a 4W-0L-1D record with the duo together in the starting lineup. Some of Mitchell’s success should be attributed to his time in Edmonton, according to the ‘Caps manager.
“We wanted to have him play first team games in a competitive environment, where there’s a crowd and where there’s points on the line,” Rennie said. “We wanted him to be training leading up to a game playing for that team, so he’d be match-fit and so that he would improve. I think that worked for him.”
The ‘Caps are hoping the Hertzog loan will have a similar effect.
Although the transfer window closed August 8 – thus preventing any transfers with any U.S. NASL or United Soccer Leagues (USL) clubs – the ‘Caps are still able to recall Hertzog from FC Edmonton up until the September 13 roster freeze if they choose to do so.
“He’s someone, if he’s playing games, we feel as if he’s going to score some goals,” Rennie said. “From that, he’ll gain more confidence and then if we need to recall him, he’s someone who can come in and play for us.”
Corey Hertzog isn’t the only ‘Caps player on loan. Here’s an update of the team’s other players currently mastering the craft elsewhere:
*Emmanuel Adjetey – Charleston Battery (USL Pro)
After signing a contract with Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s U-23 USL PDL side in April, the 24-year-old fullback joined Charleston Battery on loan and has been become one of the team’s most consistent defenders. Adjetey, a native of Accra, Ghana, has started 18 of his 21 appearances this season. He has also chipped in with three assists in 1,648 total minutes.
Bryce Alderson – Charleston Battery (USL PRO)
One of Vancouver’s three Generation adidas Homegrown players, Alderson has played 705 minutes in 13 appearances for Charleston this season. The 19-year-old midfielder claimed an assist as Charleston handed Richmond Kickers their first and only defeat of the season earlier this month. He also started their most recent match – a 1-0 victory over Phoenix FC Wolves.
Caleb Clarke – FC Augsburg (Regionalliga Bayern):
The 23-year-old striker is currently playing with FC Augsburg’s reserve side in Regionalliga Bayern, the fourth tier of the German professional soccer system. Clarke, who was a member of Whitecaps FC’s inaugural Residency squad, has scored a goal and added three assists in four appearances with FC Augsburg II, which also serves as the club’s U-23 side.
*Ben Fisk – Charleston Battery (United Soccer Leagues Pro)
The Vancouver native has been an offensive force for the Battery in limited time this season. A knee injury has kept Fisk on the sidelines for much of the season – he has played just 234 minutes – but the 19-year-old winger has still scored two goals to go along with a pair of assists. He had a goal and an assist in his professional debut.
*On loan from Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23.