Over the course of the history of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, a number of players who have played for the club at one point or another have also represented their country at the FIFA World Cup. As we approach the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we will feature players of years’ past who made it to soccer’s pinnacle event.
The native of Harrogate, England played for six different clubs during his 19-year professional career. He began with Bradford City in 1996, and played in the club’s two seasons in the English Premier League. He would then spend four years with Newcastle United, followed by Portsmouth FC, Bolton Wanderers, and Leeds United before joining the ‘Caps in 2012.
“Don’t sell O’Brien, Andy O’Brien, I just don’t think you understand. Because if you sell O’Brien, Andy O’Brien, you’re going to have a riot on your hands.”
O’Brien was a fan favourite during his three years in Vancouver. In total he made 50 regular season appearances for the Blue and White, starting 48 of those matches. He also made two playoff appearances for the 'Caps, including the club's first ever MLS playoff match in 2012.
Born and raised in England, O’Brien originally played for the English U-18 national team. However at the senior level he elected to represent the Republic of Ireland through his heritage, and played for Ireland at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. In total he made 26 appearances for the boys in green, and scored his lone international goal to give his side a 1-0 over Portugal in February of 2005.
FUN FACT: After retiring from playing, O’Brien has worked as a scout for English Premier League club Liverpool FC.