• 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

    • Keep, Trade or Release 2013: A Vancouver Whitecaps player analysis (Part One - Goalkeepers)


      The 2013 MLS season is all over bar one last shouting for Vancouver Whitecaps.

      There needs to be changes and there will be, of both players and management, and they will start happening from next week. Should these be wholesale or should the Caps keep a core and build around them?

      We got all of AFTN's writers for this season to take a look at the current Whitecaps squad and say whether they would keep them around for next season, trade them for more valuable assets or to fill positions of need, or just release them into the wild altogether.

      We start with a look at the goalkeepers in this first part.

      Here's our thoughts. We want to read yours below....


      Goalkeepers:

      Four keepers on the books is a luxury most MLS teams don't afford themselves. Bad management, hand tied by MLS rules or a bit of both? Whatever it was, you know they're not all going to be in Vancouver next year.


      Joe Cannon

      Steve: (TRADE) - There has been no official announcement from Cannon as to whether he will look to play another year but if he does then he can't return at his current guaranteed salary of $189,916. However, the starting keeper at the beginning of the season could return if he is willing to have his salary cut in at least half.

      Michael: (RELEASE/RETIRE but...) - Joe's stayed classy to the end, tweeting this week that fans shouldn't want him to play on Sunday but go with the future and Simon Thomas. Wherever the future takes him I hope he gets what he wants out of it. I have this sneaking feeling that he may still be around. If Yallop was to get the manager's job, he may want to keep Joe as goalkeeping coach. With his wage from that, he could then be on the books as a third keeper at a super low salary for emergencies.

      Jay: (RELEASE) - Let this old steed ride off into the sunset. He may wish to try again somewhere else, but it's likely time to move on to coaching for Joe.

      Aaron: (RELEASE) - His time is done in Vancouver. There is no way he will be back as a player in a Whitecaps kit. He would be a great addition as a youth development goalkeeper coach with this organization.

      Christopher: (RELEASE) - I don't think Joe's done yet. He'll probably take the biggest paycheque he can find, but I don't see it being in Vancouver. If I'm wrong, I'd have no problem with him backing up the starting goalkeeper.


      Brad Knighton

      Christopher: (TRADE) - He's made it clear that he doesn't want to be a backup, and that's the only job he's going to get in Vancouver. His time here has enhanced his value, but he may have to drop back down into NASL again. Sadly, this was probably his best shot at being a starter in MLS.

      Aaron: (TRADE) - He has a very small salary $68,600 but he wants to be a starter in this league. Has stated that he misses home and sitting on the bench might push him to move on with his career.

      Jay: (TRADE) - Holding on to Brad may cause dressing room division. Move him on if you can get a handful of allocation money to a team who could use a cheap keeper looking to challenge for a starting job.

      Steve: (TRADE) - Early in the season he was given the reigns to be the number one keeper and while he showed flashes, the Seattle home game, there was a lack of consistency. There is no way Knighton will be happy with staying in Vancouver as the backup and could prove to be a distraction so a move to another club or cutting ties completely would be ideal.

      Michael: (TRADE) - He's a good keeper but his weak points still don't make him a strong MLS starter for me. I'm not sure he wants to be a backup again anywhere at this stage of his career. His performances may make him tradable but I don't see too many takers and none as a starter in this league, although his low salary will appeal for what they are getting. I see him dropping back down to NASL level. I'm pretty sure he's also relishing a return to living in the US.


      David Ousted

      Steve: (KEEP) - He was their only summer window acquisition and while many don't feel he made much a difference, he was an improvement over what they had before. Ousted has already shown that he does well to challenge shots and will only improve with a full preseason where he can develop a better chemistry with his backline.

      Jay: (KEEP) - It's hardly been a smooth transition for the fiery Dane, but he appears to have the tools to succeed at this level. Although the circumstances surrounding his signing were not ideal, he should be kept around next season.

      Christopher: (KEEP) - He's had something of a rocky start in Vancouver, but few of the goals he's conceded could be attributed to him. No one can stop every goal. And unlike others in his profession, he doesn't seem to dwell on the ones he could have stopped. He simply moves on and tries to stop the next one.

      Aaron: (KEEP) - Starting keeper moving forward for this team. Will benefit with a off season and training camp in Vancouver. Don't know if he is a long term solution. He has stated he has EPL dreams in the next 3-4 yrs.

      Michael: (KEEP) - I'm a fan of his and I think we will see this prove to be a great acquisition in the long run and for $166,156, it's pretty good money. I like how he comes off his line and, on the whole, his kicking and distribution. I do feel he should have done better with some of the goals this year however and worry that we may not see the best out of him if he isn't feeling challenged for the number one spot.


      Simon Thomas

      Aaron: (KEEP) - With the salary cap crunch the team is in he may have to step up and be the back up next season. With a salary of $35,125 it would open up money to make a move shoring up the midfield.

      Jay: (KEEP) - Simon has looked decent in PDL and Reserve league games. For his own sake, he'd be smart to stick around and try and land the backup keeper position. If he's unable to find some minutes next season, perhaps it's time for him to find minutes elsewhere.

      Michael: (KEEP) - I agree with Jay and I think he will make the backup position his own, but he needs to rise to the occasion and challenge for the starting spot. When we spoke with him at the start of the year, he said he wasn't here to just play second fiddle. Now we need to see that desire and see him rise to really challenge Ousted preseason.

      Steve: (KEEP) - The current staff seems to have confidence that Thomas has the ability to be a keeper in MLS and he showed it when he played in Reserve matches and shutout the United States in an international friendly. With his low salary he would be an ideal fit as a backup to Ousted where he will be the regular starter in Reserve matches.

      Christopher: (KEEP) - It's only a matter of time before he's replaced by Marco Carducci, but until then, his continued presence will be mutually beneficial to player and club. In an ideal world, he'll develop into a senior backup by then.

      **********

      So that's the end of the first part of our 2013 player analysis. At least one goalie will move on, but you have to think it will be more.

      In part two, we'll take a look at the defenders. Out with the old and in with the young, or will some of the old guard still be hanging around for a while yet?

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