Goodbye Martin…Hello Nash…

October 28, 2010 at 3:16 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps In MLS, Whitecaps Season 2010 | Leave a comment

The tough news to take today was that one of our greatest heroes is retiring.  Martin Nash, who has contributed so much for the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club over his three stints with the club, has decided to hang up the boots as a player and move on to a new stage of his football career as a coach in the Whitecaps residency program.

This was a wise move by both Marty and the Whitecaps.  Marty has had a brilliant career, and has been one of the defining players of the Vancouver Whitecaps second era, which began in 2001.   Marty returned to the club in 2004, and, for me, no player has been a greater benefit to the club than Marty Nash.    At the age of 34, while I am confident Marty would have made the Whitecaps MLS squad on merit, when you turn 35 it is a bit too much to expect to be chasing 23 year olds around in midfield.  If he was 27 or 28, fine.  At 35? No!

The MLS is a physically demanding league, and it is clear if Nash made the team he would probably be a squad player and not a starter.  I don’t think this would suit Marty, who seldom missed a match in his time here, usually playing out the entire 90 minutes of every game.   When you are not playing regular competitive football, you lose fitness, and then you are liable to pick up injuries when you do get to play.  This is not a cycle that Marty should have to go through, and he did the right thing to quit at the right time.

Marty commanded the midfield in his time with the Whitecaps and often carried the team and us fans on his shoulders.   A coaches’ dream, Marty never failed to give his all and lead the team.   Marty crashed in many a goal in his time with us, including a few spectacular long range efforts.  Marty racked up plenty of championships in the USL-1, including two for us in 2006 and 2008.  It is hard to imagine winning those championships without him. Marty provided great success and joy on the pitch for the Vancouver Whitecaps, but also honourably served the Canadian men’s national team, including winning the 2000 Gold Cup with Canada. In terms of the national program, it was the best moment in its history behind qualifying and playing in the 1986 World Cup.

It should be clear by now to all that the Nash family is a family of born leaders, who have and will leave a great legacy both in the field of sports and elsewhere.   Marty will now take his leadership skills and use them in coaching players in the residency program. I have no doubt he will be a tremendous success there; he will inspire young players who will excel in Major League Soccer.  I cannot think of a better leader and role model for young players than Martin Nash.

It is regrettable Marty had to retire when he did, just as the Whitecaps are going to gain a huge amount of exposure more than they did during Marty’s time with the club.   While all of the newbie fans in the MLS era may ask “who?” when the name Martin Nash is spoken, those of us who watched him play will be able to tell the story of a great player who gave so much football joy to those who had the honour of watching him.

Luckily for us fans, it is a case of goodbye Martin, hello Nash.  Nash is staying with the club, and the Vancouver Whitecaps should be praised for giving him a role with the club he so richly deserves.

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