Rosenlund blue

After learning from those around him, Tyler Rosenlund returns home to captain WFC2

 
On Sunday, before Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2) won an exciting 4-3 preseason match over Seattle Sounders FC 2, head coach Alan Koch named his team captain for the coming season. To no one’s surprise, midfielder Tyler Rosenlund was given the armband.
 
It’s a natural fit for the 28-year-old native of Port Coquitlam, BC. After all, Rosenlund has been surrounded by great leaders throughout his career.
 
The journey begins
 
A number of WFC2 players are at the start of their professional career. Seven years ago, that was Rosenlund.
 
After winning an NCAA national championship at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2006, the young Canadian began his professional career in Sweden with Åtvidabergs FF.
 
Following a half-year abroad, the then 21-year-old returned to Canada to play with second-year MLS club Toronto FC.
 
The captain of that team? None other than Carl Robinson.
 
“He was a great guy, very easy to talk to,” recalls Rosenlund of Robinson. “He definitely helped all the younger guys, I remember that about him.”
 
After battling for a spot on the roster, Rosenlund pushed for playing time.
 
“He worked his socks off,” remembers Robinson, a 31-year-old at the time with experience in the English Premier League. “He wanted to get better and wanted to learn. He was continually asking questions, which is always a good sign.”
 
Lessons from Robbo
 
Work ethic. As captain, Robinson drove every player on the team to work hard, a lesson that was not lost on young Rosenlund.
 
“I remember Carl saying even though it’s training, every day is vital. You can’t go in there and go through the motions. Every day you’ve got to show what you can do and you’ve got to give 100 per cent.”
 

Rosenlund (15) played with Carl Robinson (33) at Toronto FC

Like Robinson, Rosenlund is a central midfielder. Under his captain’s advice, Rosenlund also kept a close eye on the team’s other central midfielders, including talented attacking player Amado Guevara.

“He’d say how he was always in pockets and able to turn forward so easily,” remembers Rosenlund. “He’d tell me to watch him and try to replicate that. There you had the captain of Honduras who made that look so easy. Watch good pros and try to learn from them.”

Learn he did. On September 6, 2008, Rosenlund became the first Canadian player to score for a Canadian MLS team, earning Man of the Match honours for Toronto FC against Chivas USA.

Being an answer to an MLS Canada quiz is a fact that he’d only recently been informed about, but one that he now thinks back on with pride.

Being held accountable

While Rosenlund was in college, he would spend his offseason training in Vancouver with Whitecaps FC. The ‘Caps were in USL at the time and coached by Bob Lilley, who led the team to the 2006 USL First Division Championship.

Rosenlund played five seasons for Bob Lilley in Rochester

Lilley later moved on to coach Rochester Rhinos, and when Rosenlund became available he invited him to join the team.

“The biggest thing I learned from Bob was just being professional day in and day out,” said Rosenlund of his coach at Rochester. “He comes from a military background and he held everyone accountable. He says it the way he sees it, which I definitely respect. It didn’t matter if you were the most skillful player on the park, if you didn’t put in the effort during the game, you were on the bench.”

Last year, in his fifth season in Rochester, Rosenlund took on the role of captain for the first time in his career.

“I’ve definitely learned over my career to be more of a leader, just from being a young guy watching,” says the former Rhinos captain. “Now I feel that I’m the guy on the field who tries to talk, tries to give the younger guys as much information as I can. This is a pivotal time in their careers.”

Captain Rosenlund

“You know exactly what you’re going to get from Tyler Rosenlund,” said Koch. “He’s out there to get his job done.”

Rosenlund was team captain for the first time with the Rhinos

Naming Rosenlund as captain was an easy decision for the WFC2 head coach after seeing his leadership right from the start of training camp.

“The first day you could see him starting to talk to some of the young guys, very informal conversations,” added Koch. “He may not even know he’s doing it, but he’s guiding the young guys every single day.”

For Rosenlund, after learning from others, being captain is an honour that he fully understands.

“That comes with responsibility. People are expecting your play to be high. You can’t be taking shortcuts or not performing.”

So far, the captain likes what he sees from WFC2.

“Being in this league now for five years and looking at the talent that we have, I genuinely believe that we do have a chance to do well if we can gel together. No one is taking shortcuts, and that’s definitely the first step.”

Come and see the next generation of Whitecaps FC stars as USL arrives in Vancouver. With Season Tickets available for as low as $118, WFC2 matches will be a unique and affordable experience for fans, families, students, and supporters. Flex packs are also available to fit your schedule - get seven tickets to use any way you want, to any matches you want. For more information on all WFC2 ticket options, call 604-484-7862 or e-mail wfc2@whitecapsfc.com