Vancouver Whitecaps left fullback Steve Kindel has enjoyed his first off-season as a father.
Along with wife and former Whitecaps women’s team member Sara Maglio, the Burnaby, BC, native has been closely tending to baby son Benjamin since his birth last April. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Kindel told whitecapsfc.com. “This may sound like a typical parent, but it’s hard to believe that once the season starts, Benjamin will be a one-year-old. Sara and I are cognizant not to shelter him too much, as we want him to be used to a lot of different environments. Even when he was about two months old, he got to see the U-20 World Cup match between Spain and Brazil at Swangard Stadium.”
The defender – who turns 31 later this month – has had to balance fatherhood with his roles as technical director of both the Dunbar Soccer Association and the Kerrisdale Soccer Club. The current campaign has posed some challenges for the two Vancouver-based clubs. “It’s been a rough season,” he said. “The City of Vancouver strike affected the playing fields into September, but once that got resolved, we were off to a good start to the season. Coming back from Christmas, we’ve had the horrible run of weather, so there were a few cancellations.”
Despite this season’s obstacles, Kindel considers himself fortunate to be in his current positions. “In general, it’s a fun job to have,” he revealed. “You get to work with a lot of different people from all different kinds of backgrounds. Some have soccer backgrounds and some have no knowledge of the game at all. You get to deal with kids and adults alike because they are the players and coaches in your organization. There are so many different aspects to the job, as you are not only on the field coaching, but you are also needing to do things behind the scenes like administration and planning for the future.”
With the Whitecaps announcing a second international friendly with David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy in Edmonton on May 13, Kindel hopes the Commonwealth Stadium clash will be a first-class contest. “Last November’s game was such an exciting event for the city of Vancouver and for the players on our team,” he said. “Unfortunately, the postponement of that game led to both teams being out of season and out of form. Hopefully, with this second game being in the middle of the coming season, both teams will be in top form when we meet again in Edmonton.”
Kindel is also thrilled at having the chance to play for the honour of Canada’s top club, with the prize being a place in the newly-formed CONCACAF Champions League in August. “To have the opportunity to play other clubs in CONCACAF is really exciting,” he said. “It may give us the chance to prove where we rank in the CONCACAF soccer world through that tournament, but in general, it’s very exciting for Canadian club soccer. Even if we do not qualify for the Champions League, we will still have a keen eye on how Toronto FC or Montreal Impact do. If we go, they will have an eye on us because we all want to see where Canada’s top professional clubs fit in with the soccer hierarchy in CONCACAF. We’ve never had the opportunity to have that measuring stick against other clubs in the region, but we will soon have that chance.”
The former midfielder has enjoyed the early stages of preseason training under new head coach Teitur Thordarson. “It’s gone pretty well,” Kindel said. “The core group that lives in Vancouver is pretty small now, but it’s nice to get a head start and meet Teitur. Some of the players haven’t seen each other since last November, so it’s been fun to be together again. We are waiting for the rest of the players to arrive, and once camp starts, will take it from there.”