Crafty wing player returns to roster
Whitecaps fans can start warming up their Moose calls.
Justin Moose, the crafty, feisty wing player who became an instant fan favourite in Vancouver last season, will be back, barring a monumental change in mentality for either him or the club.
With the departure of leading scorer Eduardo Sebrango, bringing back impact newcomers like former D.C. United players Moose and goalkeeper Jay Nolly is even more important.
Moose, 24, is entering the club option year of his one-plus-one deal and both sides are keen to continue what they started in 2008.
"I definitely love Vancouver and would love to be back," said the Statesville, N.C., native, who plans to move here with his girlfriend in January.
After a positive start, his season was thought to be in jeopardy when osteitis pubis forced him to the sideline. Moose missed nine games but returned down the stretch and played a key role in the playoffs, scoring a crucial goal against Minnesota and helping to create both goals in the USL First Division championship win over Puerto Rico.
"Obviously I wasn't at 100 per cent through the season, but now I've got a good chunk of time to relax," he said.
Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said it was easy to see why the crowds fell for Moose, the drawn-out 'Moooose' chants surfacing whenever he touched the ball.
"I love watching him play," said Lenarduzzi. "There's no doubt we want him back, I think he showed some great flashes. I love his tenacity and I think he can get better, more consistent." "I'd like to think [the fan appreciation] would be more my performance than my last name," added Moose, "but I think it might be some of the latter." Nolly, meanwhile, left the door for other opportunities more open, but also said he'd be happy to be back. The Whitecaps would have to receive an exceptional offer to transfer him, like they did with defender Adrian Cann, who moved to EfB of the Danish Superliga in June.
"I'm definitely happy coming back," said Nolly, who right now is focused on his Dec. 6 wedding day. "You never know if someone's going to come in -- my agent said there were teams interested throughout the year -- but I haven't explored much." The 26-year-old from Littleton, Colo., was 12-5-6 in the regular season with nine shutouts. He's previously had trials with Celtic in Scotland and Dinamo Bucharest in Romania.
© The Vancouver Province 2008