Atiba Harris signs on for more with WhitecapsNovember 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 4 Comments
One of the regrets of the Vancouver Whitecaps 2011 season was the injury of Atiba Harris after only five games of the season. He was out for the rest of the year with a knee problem. Today the Whitecaps announced he has signed a contract to play next year, which is very good news. Though he only played a small part of the 2011 season, he did score 2 goals. He also demonstrated a lot of heart and a great work ethic in the games he played in, which a lot of our guys were missing this season.
Atiba is tall, deceptively fast, and combative on the ball. What is more, he will add competition for places up front, which is key to keeping the other strikers in the squad hungry and sharp.
Atiba is listed as a striker/midfielder, though we have yet to see him play in midfield. Perhaps the Whitecaps have plans in that regard, although I don’t think he really fits the bill of the kind of midfielder we really need. I believe the plan is to have him compete for the strikers role to keep the presumptive starters, Hassli and Camilo, honest and sharp up front. Look for Atiba to come off the bench to replace Hassli later on in games since Hassli himself is getting a bit on the old side.
Part of the problem for the Whitecaps, and it is a good problem to have, is who to choose to play up front. With Hassli, Camilo, Tan, Salgado, Jarju and now Harris competing for two spots, competition will be fierce. Then again, injuries happen and we need coverage.
Optimally, a team should have four strikers who a team feels it can put in with confidence. It might also mean that the club thinks it will lose Camilo in the off season. No doubt Camilo is shopping his highlight reel all over the world in order to command greater money than the Whitecaps salary cap could afford, unless they make him a designated player. Or do the Whitecaps hope to unload Jarju, who misfired completely this season?
Whatever it all means, I am very pleased we have signed a solid player of good character on for another season. The first signing of the Rennie era looks like a good one. Now lets hope Atiba can stay fit.