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  1. Clarke became the Whitecaps' sixth homegrown player to be signed to a MLS contract in April 2012, after an exemplary few years in the 'Caps Residency program. The 2011/12 USSDA season had seen Clarke play a key role in the Whitecaps' U18s run to the Championship game, scoring 24 goals in 27 games over the course of the campaign. Those of us who had watched him play the past couple of seasons knew what an exciting attacking talent he was and were excited to see what he could bring, and how he would develop, in the first team. Things didn't quite pan out as planned however. Clarke didn't get
  2. THE GOOD: Ability To Work With Younger Players With the Whitecaps wanting to ideally field a USL PRO team that will consist of mainly players between 17 and 24 years old, Koch's history and experience will make him a good candidate for this job. These players are going to have to be pushed just right, there will be times when Koch will have to be brutally honest when they are struggling but there will also be times where he will have to be more of a friend that encourages the player than a coach. With young Canadian players like Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, Caleb Clarke, Marco Carducci, Ben
  3. Koch's talents have been in demand before from professional clubs, so what was it about the coaching job with WFC2 that finally tempted him away from the Clan after seven years at the helm? "I've a lot of respect for the club. I've a lot of respect for the people that work for the club," Koch told AFTN. "I definitely have a very similar philosophy to Robbo. To move to the pro ranks when you don't have to leave home, or my adopted home, is obviously a lot easier. "I've had a lot of opportunities to go away and go live in another country and all that type of stuff, but those weren't the right
  4. "In all honesty, when it came to Alan, we didn't necessarily pursue him because we assumed he's in a good job, he's got security, would he want to take that chance and jump into the professional ranks where that same type of security isn't necessarily there? "But as a result of the work that he did on our college recruiting, he got to know our guys and we got to know him and it was a natural evolution. We were always looking at other candidates, but as time went on, it became clear that Alan was interested in the job and we were interested in him." Koch is well respected in the BC soccer com
  5. You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all that, you could ju
  6. McKendry's Junior NCAA season with New Mexico Lobos had caught the eye of several scouts. He was being rated highly and looking MLS ready. The midfielder loved his time in Albuquerque, but from a solely footballing perspective the time to make the move to the pro ranks with the Caps was now. "Obviously it's my home city, so I know the club pretty well, and that kind of made the decision a whole lot easier," McKendry told us. "If it was another club or another country it would be kind of a harder decision because I don't know exactly what I'm going in to. "The big part for me was coach Carl
  7. Robinson told AFTN last year how highly he rated McKendry and indicated that there was a MLS contract waiting for the defensive midfielder whenever the player felt the time was right. That time is now. McKendry becomes the eighth homegrown signing on the current MLS Whitecaps roster, and the 27th player on the squad in total. As a homegrown signing, McKendry is likely to have signed a two year guaranteed deal with options and although he will get most of his minutes in USL PRO this season, he will be entrenched with the MLS squad and with the number of games facing the 'Caps this year, he is
  8. The 'Caps have 30 USL PRO roster spots available to them. With the ability to move players up and down from both the MLS squad and the Residency, they won't be carrying a full squad and the initial roster number will likely be in the low 20s range to allow Carl Robinson more flexibility. In terms of these loan deals between Whitecaps teams, the process is quite simple. Each player has to be registered as a USL PRO player to be able to play for WFC2. All loan deals have to go through the necessary paperwork and everything has to be ratified like a normal registration or transfer. A player c
  9. Having graduated in the fall after studying molecular biology biochemistry at SFU, Blagojevic's plan was always to attend medical school, as he told us when we spoke to him back in December 2013. But as he also told us in that interview, playing professional football was always his "childhood dream" and one he was prepared to put a guaranteed career on hold to chase. Blagojevic's move to MLS comes after another stellar personal season with the Clan last year in NCAA Division 2. He decided to head back to SFU for his senior year and although the Clan may have struggled overall as a team compa
  10. The Good: Long term stability I know this is a new concept for Canadian MLS teams, but having a coach stay more then one or two seasons can only be good for the team. Robinson came in last season and laid out a long term plan for the club that involves a big effort from producing regular talent from the Residency to building talent from South America. This plan isn't a one to three year plan. This is a long term five to six to ten year plan that should make the team and Canadian soccer better over the long term. By signing Robinson, Forrest, Pert and Rovde to extensions, it gives the player
  11. LA have splashed out on Steven Gerrard, New York City on Frank Lampard (they think), Orlando on Kaka and Toronto like to be linked to every player under the sun as the perennial losers try and find someone that can lift them out of their eight year slump. All big names, all coming to MLS on big money. They're probably not big risks in bringing success, but you never know and as Robinson addressed last week. "Money doesn't guarantee you success, as you've seen with a number of clubs," Robinson told reporters, whose minds obviously started to think of TFC. It's a Pavlov's dog scenario I think.
  12. One month later and Banjo is in the pro ranks with the Whitecaps. It's quite the story and turnaround for the 22-year-old and one he didn't think he'd ever see coming. "It's a dream come true," Banjo told AFTN. "I've been working at this for years and it's a great feeling for it to finally come true. Banjo still remembers the shock and heartbreak of the meeting that broke the news that Towson were axing their soccer program. Staying on and finishing his degree was the only option he seriously considered, even if it meant no soccer. A meeting with UMBC head coach Pete Carinji Jr convinced him
  13. "That was part of my plan coming in to the draft," Robinson admitted during a conference call to local media on Thursday afternoon. "To try and get the best player available, of course, but it had to have some substance and I needed to know what positions I was slightly weak in. Obviously losing two centre backs was an area, and we addressed that. The wide areas, Kay can fit into that if need be or if we're able to bring someone else in. It was a very promising draft for us." You never know how players are going to adapt to the professional ranks. Can they make the grade? Can they hack going
  14. Parker was keen to impress at the combine and he did just that. "I went down there with kind of a chip on my shoulder and a statement to make to coaches of the league and the league itself that I wanted to be a first round pick," Parker admitted in a conference call on Thursday afternoon. "I really wanted to make coaches happy with the way I played and overall I think I am happy with the way I played. I think I performed well and I showed up fit and tried to be as sharp as I could every day." It worked for Carl Robinson and the 6 foot 2 defender, who has never even been to Canada before, com
  15. Rodriguez comes to Vancouver as an unknown quantity. He spent three years with La Liga side Malaga, making 42 appearances for their reserve side and scoring five goals, before returning to play with Uruguayan Primera Division side Juventud last season. He's not exactly a household name in Uruguay, never mind Canada, but his highlight video (which we'll put at the end of this article), experience and his obvious skillset certainly seems to indicate that he has what it takes to be a success in MLS. The proof will come on the pitch of course. Robinson identified Rodriguez on his scouting trip t
  16. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all th
  17. THE GOOD: 5 out of last 7 games at home BC Place has become something of a fortress since they moved from Empire Field. With how competitive the West will be this year, the Whitecaps can't afford to drop any points at home. The past three years have come down to the final weeks of the season for a playoff position push. This year should be no different. With games versus Houston, Dallas x2, San Jose, Seattle and NYCFC it will be a great chance to cement their playoff place. THE AVERAGE: A September 26th visit from New York City FC or Man City B Who will be in their line up? Will Frank L
  18. While others in MLS go down the route of bringing in big name and big money signings, to varying degrees of success, the Whitecaps have gone with a lower key and in-house development approach. Some critics accuse them of being cheap. That was an accusation surprisingly levelled by some out east following the signing of young DP Octavio Rivero last month. But if we're being honest, you're not going to get the likes of Kaka, Frank Lampard, or Steven Gerrard coming to Vancouver to play on a horrendous fake pitch week in and week out. You might not even see them coming here when their teams actua
  19. Have a listen and re-live some of the highs and lows of 2014 in Whitecapsland. You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your d
  20. Scrooge gazed upon the spectre. He was dressed differently to the Ghost of Football Past, who wore a flat cap, had scarves tied around both wrists, had a giant rosette pinned on him and carried a wooden rattle. This spectre was better dressed and kept checking his smartphone for twitter updates. The Ghost of Football Present rose, waved his smartphone in the air and transported Scrooge to an office in Toronto on Christmas Day. It was at BMO Field and a man sat alone at his desk wearing a red scarf and a frown. "Where are we spirit?" asked Scrooge. "You are at the office dwelling of Tiny Tim
  21. Rivero has been playing his football in Chile's Primera Division with O'Higgins FC for the past six months, where he scored 10 goals in 16 Torneo Apertura appearances and his performances had reportedly been attracting interest from top Chilean sides Colo-Colo and Universidad. You can see some of what was generating that interest, and what the Whitecaps have added to their squad, in the highlights video below: The striker came through the youth ranks with Uruguayan club Defensor Sporting before making his pro debut with Central Espanol in the 2012-13 season, scoring three goals in his 1
  22. "A Merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!" cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge’s nephew Fred. "Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!" "Christmas a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge’s nephew. "You don’t mean that, I am sure?" "I do," said Scrooge. "Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry?" "Well I am a Vancouver Whitecaps supporter uncle. We have a lot to be thankful and merry about this fine year, with the hope of much more to come." Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, "Bah!” again; and followed it up with "Hum
  23. Nonsense? Festive fun? Sexist claptrap? Have a listen and decide for yourselves! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your
  24. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all th
  25. And there's still time to continue my Carlton Cole rumours and start a new Robbie Keane one. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen
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