Canadian basketball star Steve Nash trains with Whitecaps FC: 'I just love it' (with photo gallery)

VANCOUVER, BC – Steve Nash is 41 years old. He’s played over 1,000 games in the NBA. He’s an eight-time NBA all-star and two-time league MVP.

And on Tuesday, he felt like a little kid again.

The Canadian basketball star, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC part owner, hit the pitch with the ‘Caps at UBC as they kicked off their final week of training before First Kick.

Hear what Nash had to say after training with the 'Caps

“It was great,” said Nash, who has been dealing with a myriad of back issues that have kept him sidelined this season. “That was awesome ... for me, I’m still like a little kid out there. I just love it.”

“I’d stay out there all day and play if I could,” he added. “I’m just lucky. I can’t play in the NBA but I’m healthy enough that I can still have a fairly active life and do things like this once in a while. My back can be sore for a month now and it was worth it for me to play one day with these guys.”

Although Nash is a part owner of Whitecaps FC, he doesn’t quite see it that way.

He just seemed like one of the guys on Tuesday.

Before training, he enjoyed a few laughs with Kekuta Manneh and Matias Laba, who he spent some time with during the offseason. Nash trained with Manneh for a week in Los Angeles and met up with Laba and his family in Argentina, where they enjoyed a day of “soccer and sweetbread.”

“I’ve also known Russell since he was in the academy and same with some of the other boys,” Nash said. “It’s great for me to develop some relationships with the guys and follow their careers. I’m just a big fan of the Whitecaps. That’s how I feel. I don’t feel as much of an owner as I do just a massive fan.”

This isn’t the first time Nash has trained with Whitecaps FC. He took part in a session during Vancouver’s inaugural MLS season back in 2011 as well.

And he’s seen a lot of growth since then.

“The level has increased every year, I think the depth of the team has increased every year, and just the overall talent,” Nash said. “The skill level, the ability to think quickly, and athleticism every year has gotten better and deeper.”

So what does Nash expect from Whitecaps FC in 2015?

“I have really high hopes,” Nash said. “Not only do I think we have a really quality team, but the coaching staff is building an excellent culture here. We’re a young team but there’s a ton of talent and for our fans it’s incredible. We have a lot of attacking players who are creative and can stretch teams with their pace and skill and that’s a lot of fun for any fan base.”

CAN STILL KICK IT

Although he made a name for himself in basketball, Nash is a lifelong soccer player/fan. Soccer runs in the family as well. His younger brother Martin played for Vancouver during the USL days. Clearly, Nash wasn't out of his element on Tuesday. 

"It was great," said Whitecaps FC defender Steven Beitashour. "He's a great guy. Just looking at his resume from basketball and what he's accomplished, you can see it when he comes onto the field. He just knows where players are going to be. His touch might not be there, but his vision is. He's just a great guy to have out there."

Participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver! The 2015 Whitecaps FC season kicks off on March 7 versus Toronto FC at BC Place. Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are now on sale. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, Student Half-Season Tickets, and a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket. For more information on 2015 Season Tickets, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

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