By Marc Weber
The Vancouver Whitecaps were looking for another experienced central defender. They didn't expect one to fall into their lap.
Canadian international Marco Reda of Woodbridge, Ont., became available last week after Vancouver's USL-1 rivals, Charleston Battery, released him.
Reda, 31, was Charleston's captain last year. He was told he was coming back and all set to pack up until an e-mail explained otherwise. The Whitecaps jumped at the chance to invite him to camp.
"I was surprised at the news," said Caps head coach Teitur Thordarson. "He was very good in the games against us last year, so when I heard he was available I wanted to get him in here and see how he fits in.
"We've been looking for more alternatives at centre back. We have Mason [Trafford] and Luca [Bellisomo] but we don't know yet what way that will develop and I feel we need to have one more proven centre back in the squad."
Hulking St. Vincent international Wesley Charles is back, and the Caps have added another two-by-four in former Portland Timbers standout Justin Thompson of North Vancouver.
Reda played 1,730 minutes in 21 games last season, picking up one assist for the 11-12-7 Battery. He spent 2007 with Toronto FC but injuries limited him to eight appearances.
Prior to his TFC stint, he played in top-flight leagues in Norway and Denmark, and he's been capped seven times, the last in January 2008.
What can he bring to the Caps?
"I'm old," he said, laughing. "'Experienced', I guess that's what they say now.
"I bring a voice at the back, a little leadership. And it's good playing with these younger players who can do all the running for me."
Reda will play in today's game against Trinity Western University (3 p.m., Burnaby Lake) and it sounds like negotiations could be swift.
© The Vancouver Province 2009