sstackho Posted June 28, 2004 Share Posted June 28, 2004 Valente could see time with Nationals: Whitecaps captain providing injury-riddled team with leadership Dan Stinson Vancouver Sun 644 words 25 June 2004 Vancouver Sun Final G7 English Copyright © 2004 Vancouver Sun Alfredo Valente's stature in Canadian soccer is growing in leaps and bounds. Recently appointed Vancouver Whitecaps captain after the A-League team struggled for consistency under former skipper Oliver Heald, Valente might also be pulling on a Canadian national team jersey this summer. Whitecaps' head coach Tony Fonseca elevated Valente to the captain's role in mid-June when the team was riddled with injuries, coming off an embarrassing 3-0 home-field loss to the Montreal Impact, and facing a challenging three-game road trip. The Whitecaps responded by defeating the Western Conference-leading Portland Timbers 1-0 at Portland, Ore., and splitting two games in Alberta, losing 3-0 to the Calgary Mustangs and defeating the Edmonton Aviators 1-0. The Whitecaps are 6-4-1 and third in the conference heading into tonight's match against the Toronto Lynx at Burnaby's Swangard Stadium, which marks Valente's home-field debut as captain. "I was looking for someone to take a leadership role with the team and Freddie has done that," says Fonseca. "He's been with the team for a long time, knows all of the players and is a great leader. We definitely need to be more consistent if we want to have a great season this year and I believe Freddie is the player who can provide the leadership we need." Count national team head coach Frank Yallop as another Valente fan. Yallop said this week that Valente is among a handful of Whitecaps being considered for selection to the Canadian team that will play a six-game CONCACAF zone World Cup semi-final qualifying series against Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica from Aug. 18 to Nov. 17. Canada kicks off its series schedule Aug. 18 against Guatemala at Swangard Stadium. "I'm particularly interested in Alfredo Valente because he's such a crafty player on the left side of midfield," Yallop said. "He gives the Whitecaps plenty of width of the left side and can be a nuisance to opposing teams from that position. The left side of midfield is an area where we're not particularly strong, so he's definitely in the over-all scheme." That's all heady stuff for Valente, who at 23 has not yet reached his prime in soccer. He was drafted by the Vancouver 86ers as a 17-year-old high-school graduate in 1998 and is now in his seventh season of professional soccer. "It's an honour and privilege to be considered on both counts -- Whitecaps captain and the possibility of playing for Canada," says the 5-foot-6, 145-pound Valente, who was born in Vancouver and raised in Burnaby. "My objective as a player has always been to help the game grow in Canada. The most immediate job is to try to help the Whitecaps find the right mix and play with more consistency. "Injuries have been a big factor in our inconsistent season, but I also think that the players are trying too hard and not relaxing enough. Now, we're like a hockey player who isn't scoring because he's squeezing his stick too hard." A starter in each of the Whitecaps' 11 games to date, Valente has scored one goal and earned one assist. His offensive production will have to improve quickly considering that the 'Caps will be without two strikers tonight, injured scoring leader Carlo Corazzin (hamstring) and Davide Xausa, who serves a one-game suspension for accumulation of yellow-card cautions. Corazzin is expected to be sidelined for another 10 days. A third Whitecaps' striker, Jason Jordan, will serve a one-game suspension July 2 against the Timbers in Portland for his ejection in last Monday's game in Edmonton. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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