The Whitecaps may not have a manager, but life must go on. Winter does not last forever. Spring comes. Snows melt. Decisions have to be made.
On Thursday, the club exercised their options to extend the contracts of 11 players, while declining eight others. That leaves 19 out of a possible 30 players under contract through at least the 2014 campaign.
“We're very excited about the core we have in place, and the opportunity to build around these players,” said Whitecaps FC president Bobby Lenarduzzi. “With the combination of young and veteran players in the fold, our 2014 roster is heading in in the right direction, and we will attempt to strengthen it even further this off-season.”
Joe Cannon, Jun Marques Davidson, Tom Heinemann, Corey Hertzog, Brad Knighton, Kobayashi Daigo, Brad Rusin, and Simon Thomas joined Greg Klazura, whose contract option was declined on Monday.
This does not necessarily mean that their days in Vancouver are over. But it’s a pretty good indication. The new manager, depending on when he’s appointed, may be able to negotiate with these players should he deem it necessary. And that’s only if they’re still available by then.
“Some degree of roster turnover is expected at this time of year, and although we have declined options on certain players, we will continue to have conversations with a couple players about opportunities moving forward," added Lenarduzzi. "We are thankful for the contributions that all of these players made to the club on and off the field."
Cannon, Heinemann, Hertzog, and Knighton are eligible for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft, which takes place over two stages after the MLS Cup Final. Davidson, Kobayashi, Rusin, and Thomas will go on waivers.
Aminu Abdallah, Bryce Alderson, Jordan Harvey, Erik Hurtado, Gershon Koffie, Carlyle Mitchell, Nigel Reo-Coker, Omar Salgado, Camilo Sanvezzo, Russell Teibert, and Matt Watson will all be Major League Soccer players next year, as Vancouver exercised its club option on them.
Presumably they will join Sam Adekugbe, Caleb Clarke, Johnny Leverón, Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, Kenny Miller, Andy O’Brien, and David Ousted, although changes will certainly be made between now and March 8th, when Vancouver welcomes Red Bull New York.
As it stands, Vancouver has nine international players under contract, and nine slots. However, Camilo Sanvezzo is in the process of gaining Canadian citizenship, so his slot may become available at some point.
This could prove to be a big year for the residency, with Marco Bustos, Marco Carduzzi, Kianz Froese, and Jackson Farmer likely to make the jump to MLS. They would all be candidates for home grown status, but clubs are limited to two home grown players per year, so expect the two Marcos, Bustos and Carduzzi, to receive the nod. Froese and Farmer can still be signed, but their contracts, if they occupy one of the first twenty roster spots, will count against the budget.
Although it’s far from certain, we’re going to project that Captain Jay DeMerit resigns with the Whitecaps. Assuming this happens, and there are no major changes in player salaries, the new manager can expect around three quarters of a million dollars to splash on as many as six new players to augment a squad that looks something like this.