Teibert CanChamp

Russell Teibert has been with Vancouver Whitecaps FC longer than the club has been in MLS.

He was an early member of the Residency program, coming over from Niagara Falls, Ontario as a 15-year-old in 2008.

He rose to the first team, making his debut in the USL. He signed an MLS Homegrown contract before the club’s inaugural 2011 MLS season.

He was in the lineup for the memorable debut against Toronto FC at Empire Field. He was there for the first playoff appearance at LA Galaxy, and the first playoff win at BC Place.

He’s played for five different head coaches, and helped the ‘Caps win two Canadian Championships.

He’s scored a brace in front of his family, and finished top-five in an MLS season in assists, alongside the likes of Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan.

He has represented his country 27 times, and proudly seen talented teammates move on to the highest levels.

He’s given his blood, sweat, and tears.

And through it all, he has always kept the same mentality.

“Keep fighting, no matter what. Keep your chin up and your head held high, no matter what challenges you’re faced with or adversity comes your way.”

Past to present

When it comes to the ‘Caps MLS life, Teibert has quite literally seen it all.

And he thinks highly of the current group.

“This team is one of the best we’ve ever had, and we’ve beat some of the best teams in the league. There is a confidence that we are better than what we showed this year.”

Wins over five of the seven Western Conference playoff teams backs that up, including a victory against eventual MLS Cup champions Los Angeles FC.

They also showed their ability in winning a Canadian Championship over a team that some considered would make short work of them “without breaking a sweat”.

For a player who has been in Vancouver for half of his life, it meant the world to Teibert to give that victorious moment back to the fans.

“There were 24,000 people lifting that Canadian Championship trophy with us. They drove us on to win that game. You heard them cheer us on and give the other team shtick. They make this all possible. It was for them, they’ve been through the ups and downs.”

But for a team that didn’t end up making the playoffs, Teibert knows that the team will be judged by the entirety of their results, and improvements for 2023 are needed.

“There wasn’t consistency. But there is a margin for growth and a potential within this group that is exciting for not only the players in the locker room, but for the fans who support us.”

He’s been around long enough to experience the rigours, and with that knowledge he also knows when the real work starts.

“Preseason builds that solid foundation, and when you have a strong foundation it holds you up in the toughest of times. You start to build that bond with new players, and we’re fortunate that we have a good core group of guys coming back and that sets us up nicely for next season.”

Moving ahead

In typical Teibert gritty fashion, he played through pain in his ankle last season without so much as a peep to the public ear.

He held off until the end of the season, and timed his operation to be ready in time for preseason.

Knowing that the ‘Caps will be playing in four different competitions in 2023, he is preparing for the grind.

“For me, it’s recovering from surgery and setting myself up to start off in the best way possible. We’re going to need a number of guys up to play to the team standard all year long. I think we do have that with a good core. It’s exciting to see who we’ll add and to know that we will get better.”

Entering his 13th MLS season, he realizes what a journey it has been.

“Looking back, I would have never imagined being here as long as I have been. I am who I am as a player. You always try to become better, and that’s part of the process day in and day out. For me, the consistent is that I will do anything and everything in my power to make sure this club gets better and continues to grow. It’s in my family, the supporters back home in Niagara Falls that wear this badge with pride. The club means so much to me because it’s shaped me into the man I am today and allowed me to live a great life, and I feel a real onus to give everything back.”

Moving ahead

In typical Teibert gritty fashion, he played through pain in his ankle last season without so much as a peep to the public ear.

He held off until the end of the season, and timed his operation to be ready in time for preseason.

Knowing that the ‘Caps will be playing in four different competitions in 2023, he is preparing for the grind.

“For me, it’s recovering from surgery and setting myself up to start off in the best way possible. We’re going to need a number of guys up to play to the team standard all year long. I think we do have that with a good core. It’s exciting to see who we’ll add and to know that we will get better.”

Entering his 13th MLS season, he realizes what a journey it has been.

“Looking back, I would have never imagined being here as long as I have been. I am who I am as a player. You always try to become better, and that’s part of the process day in and day out. For me, the consistent is that I will do anything and everything in my power to make sure this club gets better and continues to grow. It’s in my family, the supporters back home in Niagara Falls that wear this badge with pride. The club means so much to me because it’s shaped me into the man I am today and allowed me to live a great life, and I feel a real onus to give everything back.”