VANCOUVER, BC – It’s no secret that Carl Robinson likes his young players.
A quick glance at the Vancouver Whitecaps FC roster will tell you as much – if Robinson doesn’t himself.
But with so many young players on the squad, Robinson also knows the importance of having a good group of experienced players to lead the way. Call them the “glue guys.”
“On the field, everyone knows they’re top, quality MLS players,” Robinson said. “They both played a number of games for me last year. And they consider this place to be their home, which is important. What you don’t see is the leadership they bring behind closed doors and in the locker room.”
“The competitive edge that they’ve got to show in training every day has to be right because they’ve got young guns chasing them,” Robinson continued. “They handle that correctly and they encourage the younger players behind them. They’re two great role models I have in my locker room.”
Harvey, 31, has the most MLS experience on Vancouver’s roster, having appeared in 188 matches over the last seven seasons. Beitashour, 28, comes in at third on that list after Mauro Rosales with 114 appearances – all but one of them were starts.
You don’t stick around for that long without knowing a thing or two about being a professional.
We know what Beitashour and Harvey are capable of on the field. They often fly under the radar, but last season the fullbacks were two of Vancouver’s most reliable players, helping the ‘Caps finish the season with the fourth best goals-against record in MLS.
They also chipped in offensively – Harvey had two goals and Beitashour three assists.
But what do they bring to the table off the field?
“A little bit of everything,” Erik Hurtado, 24, told whitecapsfc.com.
“It’s the way they carry themselves and their professionalism,” added Kekuta Manneh, 20. “They’re never late, they’re always in early, and they work as hard as anybody in the locker room. They just do everything right.”
Case in point: both Beitashour and Harvey showed up to preseason camp as two of the fittest players – an impressive feat for both of them as Harvey got married in the offseason and Beitashour suffered an injury late last season.
They’re also both extremely vocal, but not necessarily in the yelling and screaming kind of way.
“They come talk to us individually between drills,” Hurtado told whitecapsfc.com “They don’t yell at us across the field. They talk to us and let us know what they want of us.”
And that isn’t limited to the training pitch.
Manneh said having Harvey behind him on the left wing has really helped his game.
“My first year was a bit difficult and then my second year I started playing with him,” Manneh told whitecapsfc.com. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot from him. Just hearing his voice … I’m really comfortable having him behind me, listening to him and hearing his directions. For me that’s something I need and he provides that.”
Fittingly, Beitashour and Harvey get along very well.
They didn’t know each other before Beitashour got traded to Whitecaps FC at the beginning of last season, but it didn’t take long for them to hit it off.
On one of Beitashour first nights in Vancouver last year, he went out for dinner with Harvey and Mehdi Ballouchy, who was a mutual friend of theirs. They’ve become quite close since that point, which isn’t a surprise considering all they have in common.
Both are from California – Harvey was born in Mission Viejo and Beitashour San Jose. Both are fullbacks – Harvey plays on the left and Beitashour the right. And they’ve both been around the league for a number of years. Their birthdays even fall within days of one another.
And while they’re always competitive on the pitch, which often raises the level in training, you won’t find two more personable and laid-back individuals away from the game.
“It helps that we enjoy a good fantasy football league as well,” Harvey laughed. “We’ve just bonded. It makes you feel like home. He’s like a friend I would have in Orange County growing up.”
"He's easy to get along with," Beitashour said of Harvey. "He's a hardworking guy, which I appreciate. So any time I see him working that much harder on the field, it picks me up too. And off the field, he's a cool guy, relaxed, and down to earth. I appreciate some of his characteristics and I think that's why we mesh so well."
They mesh pretty well with the rest of the team, too.
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