Atiba 2012 BC Place
Photo by Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Whitecaps FC make roster moves to prepare for 2013

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC traded Atiba Harris to Colorado Rapids for an international roster spot, exercised the contract options on eight players and declined options for John Thorrington and Michael Nanchoff on Monday.

The international roster spot acquired from the Rapids is effective from January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2017. The move won’t have any immediate impact on the club’s international spot situation for 2013 – the club have 11 international spots locked up for next season, and 10 through to the end of the 2016 season.

Harris played only 12 games over two seasons with Whitecaps FC, mainly due to injury problems, undergoing three knee operations. But by the time he was back fit late in the 2012 MLS season, he seemed to be out of favour with Rennie, mainly appearing as an unused substitute down the stretch.

“He’s a quality guy, and a good team guy,” club president Bob Lenarduzzi told on Monday when asked about the decision to move Harris. “Never really caused any problems in spite of the fact it must have been very frustrating for him.

“I think at this stage, it’s probably a good move for both parties, for him to get a fresh start, and for us to acquire an asset that we feel can be beneficial for us.”

Eight players who look to be staying are goalkeeper Brad Knighton, defenders Jordan Harvey, Greg Klazura, Young-Pyo Lee and Carlyle Mitchell, as well as midfielders Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson and Matt Watson.

The ‘Caps exercised contract options for that bunch – but 35-year-old Lee still hasn’t made a decision after publicly pondering retirement, so Vancouver’s decision to exercise his option doesn’t necessarily mean the South Korean legend will be back.

The club opted not to exercise the options of Thorrington and Nanchoff – but Lenarduzzi says there’s still a chance both could stay if their contracts can be re-negotiated to a lower price tag.

“We’ve been speaking with [Thorrington]’s agent and continue to do so until Thursday and see if we can come to a mutually beneficial solution,” Lenarduzzi said, before addressing Nanchoff’s future. “What we’ll do over the next few days is analyze [Nanchoff’s] status with the club and see what his role can be moving forward – or if in fact a move is something that is likely.”

Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon