VANCOUVER, BC – As Sean Franklin continues to get comfortable in his role with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, it’s his confidence that might be the best asset he brings to town.
The ‘Caps signed the 11-year MLS veteran in February with the expectation the right back would bring reliability and experience to the back line, but both the team and Franklin knew that it would take some time for him to get fully integrated.
“When I first got here, I was behind, not fully fit,” Franklin said. “I missed the first couple weeks of preseason, which is where most guys get fit. I knew I had to get fit quick. The staff did a great job of helping me get there. Now I feel good, feel fit, and I feel like part of the team.”
The 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year has an impressive resume, helping LA Galaxy win MLS Cup titles in 2011 and 2012, and the Supporters' Shield in 2010 and 2011. Individually, Franklin has scored 11 goals and added 37 assists in 289 starts and 312 appearances across all competitions.
Franklin did not play in Vancouver’s first seven matches this season, but still felt “welcomed and comfortable” from the outset. Eventually, Franklin made his Whitecaps FC debut as a sub away at Sporting Kansas City before getting his first start on April 27 vs. Real Salt Lake, helping his new team to a 2-0 victory in front of the ardent home crowd.
Franklin’s performance left a positive impression on head coach Carl Robinson, who has now started the defender in three consecutive matches.
“It’s all about being mentally prepared for when your name is called,” said the 33-year-old Franklin, who spent the last four years with D.C. United. “Everyone is going to be given a chance. I had to work my way into the 18, and eventually the 11.”
Franklin and the ‘Caps enter Wednesday’s match against San Jose Earthquakes fifth in the Western Conference with a 4W-5L-2D record. It’s been an up and down season so far, but Franklin sees a lot that he likes in this group of players.
“I know that when we’re on the same page, playing together, we can be unbeatable,” he said. “I try to be a voice out there for everyone … I know what it takes to get through the season, the grind of getting through losing a couple of games and bouncing back. We need to position ourselves to make the playoffs, from there we build on that. This group has that in them.”