We knew it was coming, even without a manager; it was always going to be like this. And yet it still came with a twinge of sadness. Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that the club will not exercise the option on defender Greg Klazura.
The headband is gone, long live the... well, I suppose we’ll have to get Daigo or Jun a Hachimaki to wear, assuming either of them are back next year. In truth, the headband had disappeared long ago, but like the boom of the Cannon, the legend will long outlive the reality.
“During his two seasons with Vancouver, Greg was a hard worker on the field, and a great ambassador off the field,” said Whitecaps FC president Bobby Lenarduzzi. “We wish Greg the best of luck in the future.”
The 59th selection in the 2012 draft, Greg attended Whitecaps FC training camp and earned a contract by beating out Bilal Duckett, Chris Estridge, and Mark Fetrow. And he did it by playing out of his preferred position.
Ever since, the Whitecaps made a habit of bringing in trialists every few months, with the aim that it might be an upgrade on Klazura. But for one reason or another, Greg stayed on, the trialists walked on. He may have had a contract, but he had anything but job security.
During his two seasons in Vancouver, he played two league matches. In his debut, he managed 57 minutes against the Supporters’ Shield winning Red Bull New York, scored an own goal, and went off due to overhydrating.
He followed this up a week later by coming on for Andy O’Brien in Seattle. Vancouver was leading 2-1 at the time. Eight minutes later, he conceded a penalty, and the match finished 3-2. He also played 360 largely unremarkable minutes against FC Edmonton in four CSA Cup Semi-Final matches.
Taking to twitter, Greg said that “it was a wonderful two years Vancouver. I am forever grateful to the fans that support the players through thick and thin. Catch you on the headband side.”
The 24-year old Rockford, Illinois native spent five years with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where he played in 38 matches, and co-captaining them during his final year with the squad. He also spent two seasons with the Indiana Invaders of the Premier Development League.
Given his ties to the area, we would not be at all surprised if Greg Klazura joins goalkeeper Kristian Nicht, the first and so far only signing of the Indy Eleven, who begin North American Soccer League play in 2014.