Martin geared up for new season

With 2008 well under way, Vancouver Whitecaps defender Lyle Martin is excited by what lies ahead in the New Year. The 22-year-old proved to be a bright light in what was a disappointing 2007 season for The Blue & White, as Martin earned the club’s Newcomer of the Year honour following an impressive rookie season at right fullback. The Bakersfield, California native made 24 appearances for the Whitecaps last term, with 19 of those games being in the team’s starting line-up. His growth as a professional was evident during the campaign, as Martin made a successful transition to the USL First Division following two seasons in the USL Premier Development League with hometown club Bakersfield Brigade. With one season under his belt, the former California State University - Bakersfield standout is making sure he is prepared for his sophomore year. “I’ve been doing a lot of jogging and playing on my own right now,” Martin told “I’m definitely working on that left foot of mine and making sure that is up to par, and I’ve been also working on my crossing with my right and left foot. I’m just trying to work on the little things to tidy up my game before I come back to Vancouver.” Martin’s second season with the Whitecaps will look far different from what he experienced in 2007, with the men’s team now under the direction of experienced Icelandic tactician Teitur Thordarson. The defender admits he is keen to get the new season started after speaking with his new coach this week. “I’m really excited about what Teitur will bring to the team, as he has experience of playing and coaching in Europe,” Martin said. “It’ll be nice to have him bring that European feel over to Canada and Vancouver. I feel his appointment is a great opportunity for me and all the other players in the team who are looking to advance themselves. We have a couple of months to go before we get back into the swing of things, but I’m really excited and I can’t wait for the new season to get started.” Whitecaps fans still have until Thursday, January 10, to take advantage of our Early Bird pricing when they renew or purchase their 2008 season tickets. Those that purchase or renew by next Thursday will also be entered in a draw to win a Whitecaps VIP Experience for 10 people. Click here for more information on our 2008 season ticket packages.