• Michael McColl

      Editor

      Michael McColl started "Away From The Numbers" as a printed fanzine in 1989 for his Scottish club East Fife. It became a website in 2003 and added a general football blog in 2009. The focus has always been to mix serious articles with off-beat humour pieces. The Canadian arm of AFTN began in 2009 and is primarily focused on Vancouver Whitecaps.


      Currently a weekly columnist for Metro News Vancouver, Michael has also written for many UK publications including When Saturday Comes, Four Four Two and The Independent.


    • Steve Pandher

      Assistant Editor

      Steve has been a soccer fan since the early days of the 86ers at Swangard Stadium. He started The Whitecaps Beat blog on the instistence of his wife, as she was tired of listening to his ramblings about the club. When he plays, his two positions are goalkeeper and striker, mostly because of the lack of running involved. In addition to the Whitecaps, Steve also updates the play of Canadian players abroad with the @TrueNorthSoccer twitter account.

    • Jay Duke

      Writer

      Growing up as a casual soccer fan, Jay became a fervent supporter after a move to Vancouver and a rise in profile of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Since then, his summer road trips revolve around Cascadia Derbies, and friends weddings are only to be attended if they do not conflict with a Whitecaps match.

      Jay attempts to share his thoughts from the emotional view of a supporter rather than by advanced analytics or number crunching.

    • Aaron Campbell

      Writer

      Aaron Campbell is our new face to the soccer blog scene. He started following the Whitecaps seriously when they joined the MLS and has been hooked ever since. Not afraid to speak his mind and prove he is right in his opinions backing them up with the stats of the game.

      Yeah right. The only reason he goes to games is to get away from his small army of kids that he has populated the Fraser Valley with. One day the kids and wife will catch on!!!

      Supporter of Whitecaps FC and FC Barcelona.
      Follow on twitter @AaCamp81

    • Whitecaps End First Week Of Pre-Season In Buoyant Mood

      "Everybody's worked quite hard and got used to their surroundings, and the standard's been pretty good. So far, so good."

      That was the take of Whitecaps Head Coach Martin Rennie after the first week of Vancouver's 2012 pre-season wrapped up at a bitterly cold Burnaby Lake on Friday morning.

      It's been a long week for the players. Physicals on Sunday, then five straight days of training. Some are a little knocked up already, some have come out of the gates flying and some are still waiting to catch fire. All early days yet, but the overall feeling of the management, players and fans is certainly positive.

      Friday's session started off with the dreaded 'beep test', which is always a favourite of mine, as I stand and watch on the sidelines!

      One of the young 'uns claimed the bragging rights, as Russell Teibert became the last man standing, doing three laps more than second placed Bilal Duckett.

      The result was no surprise to many, including Rennie:

      "Russell's super fit. I would expect him to be the guy who probably came out on top, but I think everybody's fitness was actually pretty good. There were a few guys who did better than I thought they would."

      Mini games followed, and if the players were feeling ill effects from the beeps, it wasn't showing.

      There were goals from Darren Mattocks, Lee Nguyen and Camilo. That's three more than Rennie got in his first intrasquad match back in November.

      Nguyen and Mattocks have looked good all week. Were there any players that showed Rennie more than he was expecting from them this week?

      "Maybe the Carolina ones [laughs].

      Darren Mattocks did really well today. He just showed that pace and that ability to get in behind, so that was nice to see.

      It's hard. I don't try and judge things too quick. Everybody's just getting here and you've got to let them settle. Some guys you think, maybe they should do a little better than other guys, and others, oh they're doing better than I thought.

      You've got to give it time. Sometimes the young players coming flying out of the traps and you think, woah, they're outstanding. But then over a few weeks they maybe fade away.

      So far everybody's done well and everybody's put their best foot forward, so I feel comfortable with it."


      That said, with week one now in the bag, the new look Caps' management team already have some tough decisions to make, in deciding which players will make next week's trip down to Arizona. For some though, it will be the end of the road in their Whitecaps career:

      "There's a couple of guys who maybe aren't quite at the level that we're going to need. Most people will get time to show a little more."

      If you're looking at cuts, then the four draftees on trial would be the guys considered vulnerable. Although it's not that easy as one of them, Greg Klazura, has had a stand out week.

      Klazura was the Caps' second round pick in this year's Supplemental Draft, and the 21st pick overall. The 5'11" defender from Notre Dame has impressed many this week by with not only his defensive capabilities, but also with his desire to get forward and into some great positions.

      Klazura has spent the last five years with the Irish and although he didnít see game time in his freshman or sophomore years in 2007 and 2008, he made six appearances during his junior year and his senior year saw him establish himself in the side, making 20 appearances, all starts and all as left back, notching one goal and one assist.

      He came back to Notre Dame for a fifth year in 2011 to take courses to boost his resume for medical school, turning down an offer last year to go to the MLS combine. I like his character from what Iíve been reading about him. He has spent time volunteering at a health clinic for low income patients. Obviously that means nothing on the football pitch, but itís nice to see that community involvement all the same.

      His fifth year with the Irish saw him as one of three team captains and continuing as the starting left back, but he can also play the defensive midfielder role, which could be a position the Caps may want to look at developing him in.

      A lot of people, ourselves included, don't put a lot of stock in the Supplemental Draft, but as we said before, there are some gems to be found in there. Could Klazura be one of those?

      "I think with him, he was highly regarded last year and everybody expected him to maybe even be a Generation Adidas player. For whatever reason that didn't happen, and Notre Dame didn't do so well last season, so maybe he didn't get as much attention but he's actually a very good player and he has had a good week."

      Although some of the starters look to be a given, especially at the back, Rennie cautions about looking too far into things at this early stage, as a lot can still change with the squad:

      "There's still a couple of other guys to come in, that aren't here yet. So there's still work to be done to get better and it's up to everybody to show that they deserve to be starting."

      A central midfielder is still the missing link, everyone knows that by now. Rennie is wanting an all round player in that position. One who can tear forward, wins balls on the deck and in the air, but also tracks back, defends and controls the middle of the park. Not an easy find. I think every team would like such a player.

      We may not see this dream midfielder next week in Arizona, but he will be coming soon.

      For those players already here, the hard work is set to continue.

      Comments 6 Comments
      1. BCM's Avatar
        BCM -
        Good read, Michael. I've criticised parts of some of your articles on this site but no complaints here - keep it up, and I truly appreciate the camp updates.
      1. Soccerpro's Avatar
        Soccerpro -
        Good article. This type of Whitecaps coverage was missing on CSN last year. Unfortunately for Canadian fans, it seems like it's the same story every year: Teibert wins the beep test by a mile as the fittest player in preseason then spends half the season out injured.
      1. Drew Shaw's Avatar
        Drew Shaw -
        I know it's pre-season, when your team is top of the league, but I think there is warrarted optimism that this squad is stronger than last season. I still don't think we'll get into the playoffs due to the regionalised format, but we will be pushing for a place, and will have a great shot of winning the Voyageurs Cup which is more important than sqeaking into the playoffs unless we actually get to the MLS final.
      1. mallard2000's Avatar
        mallard2000 -
        I think what you are saying soccerpro is that you can predict very little from preseason training and I couldn't agree more. However, Tiebert's injury had nothing to do with football or fitness last year. He injured his foot riding a bike wearing flip flops.
      1. Soccerpro's Avatar
        Soccerpro -
        mallard2000: I didn't say Teibert's injury last year was soccer induced, nor was I stating that last year was the only year he spent a significant amount of time on the sidelines injured. In my opinion he's made of glass.
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        Michael Nanchoff's made of glass; Russell Teibert's made of stronger stuff.
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