VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Darren Mattocks is back, and he hopes to bring goals with him.
As preseason began on Monday, Mattocks faced the local media for the first time since his offseason comments on Jamaican TV.
“We all discussed it privately,” Mattocks told reporters of his conversations with head coach Carl Robinson and president Bob Lenarduzzi upon his return. “Obviously it wasn't done with harm or intention behind it, so I totally accept the blame for what I did but I just have to move forward and get past that.”
Last season, Mattocks endured a challenging sophomore campaign, scoring just three times from 20 appearances.
This, after a rookie season in which he scored seven goals from 15 starts and was named the No. 1 player in MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24 series, which ranks the top players younger than age 24 in the league. In the player's defense, the Jamaican international never started consecutive matches beyond the first four outings of 2013.
“It's a really good opportunity,” Mattocks said. “But at the end of the day, it's all up to me working hard and staying focused.”
As for Robinson, who took control of his players for the first time in front of the cameras on Monday, he's happy to let bygones be bygones if the 23-year-old recaptures the form he showed in his rookie season.
“He's obviously apologized and we've drawn a line under the matter,” Robinson said. “I've spoken to Darren at length about it, and at length about what I see him doing in this next season. It happens in football, but it's important you move on quickly and we've moved on quickly.
“His energy around the place today was fantastic and I've said to the lads, everyone makes mistakes, things happen, but we move on. If Darren scores a couple of goals in the early part of the season, everything will be forgotten.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.