Eric Hassli Arrives

March 11, 2011 at 1:57 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps In MLS, Whitecaps Season 2011 | Leave a comment

When Major League Soccer invented the Beckham rule some four or five years ago, they allowed clubs to sign star talent on top of the leagues strict salary cap.  Such players are deemed “designated players”.  In addition to Beckham, designated players such as Henri, Marques, and Lungberg have signed on with the league.

In approaching the 2011 season, the names of Robbie Keane and Robbie Savage were bandied about as possible designated players for the Whitecaps, but no such signings were made.   The fact that such well known players were being discussed led us to believe a big name was coming to town.  Quite the opposite has occurred.

I imagine you could count the number of Whitecaps fans who had previously heard of Eric Hassli on the fingers of one hand.  Yet, he is the Vancouver Whitecaps first designated player.

He has come accompanied by YouTube footage of him scoring a spectacular long range effort in the Swiss League for FC Zurich.   He is a big lad which will help us in the rough and tumble world of MLS, with its physical style and unsophisticated referees.

Training footage on the Whitecaps site reveals a very big man indeed, and scary looking to boot.  He could afford to lose five to ten pounds, and even if he does that, just try knocking him off the ball!

I, for one, will forgive him his anonymity if he performs well for the club.  The fact the Whitecaps have signed a no-name player suggests signing known strikers is very difficult in the world of football.  It also shows the difficulties MLS teams have in competing for known strikers with rich European clubs, even with the designated player rule.  There is also the problem of trying to buy players out of their existing contracts, as the Whitecaps had to do with Hassli.

In any event, our problem of a lack of an experienced striker  is now solved.   In spite of the fact that Hassli is not a famous player, it takes a player of serious quality to knock about European football leagues for as long as Hassli has.

Lets hope he settles in well, and that Rochat, Chiumiento and Hassli form a strong Swiss spine for the new Vancouver Whitecaps.

Get your cowbells out!!!

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