Vancouver Whitecaps traumatic off-season: version 2014

December 8, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 1 Comment
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If learning the rules of Major League Soccer is enough to give you a headache, just wait to see what happens to your team during the off-season.

Last year’s off-season saw our best player use the MLS “option year” loophole to get out of Vancouver and off to Mexico. The Whitecaps had exercised their “option” on Camilo Sanvezzo without coming to terms with the little Brazilian. Camilo’s agent saw the whole thing as one-sided and took off with his wee client. As well as confounding everyone’s understanding of MLS contracts, the whole experience was one of disappointment and trauma.

Today we learned that Seba Fernandez was left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft. While Fernandez was no Camilo, he was a loved part of this year’s team. He is not protected because the team could not change his loan into a purchase; he was deemed too expensive and it is likely other MLS teams will feel the same way. Will we ever see Sebastian Fernandez again? Highly unlikely.

Two other much-loved players have been left unprotected (meaning expansion teams Orlando City and New York City FC could scoop them up): Andy O’Brien and Mauro Rosales. The club hopes they will prove too expensive and will be passed up and later re-signed by the Whitecaps at a lower rate. I believe we are likely to hold on to O’Brien, who has found a true home here in Vancouver, but my sad prediction is that we have seen the last of Rosales, a fellow who has been here too short a time to bond with our our city and who likely won’t stand for a large pay cut.

The one that really throws a wrench into things is the case of Johnny Leveron: the club has protected him but declined the option year in his contract. God help us all trying to understand that. How a guy can be surplus to requirements but protected during the expansion draft boggles the mind and illustrates the bizarre workings of MLS rules. I think this can only mean that that the Whitecaps want to protect him so they can trade him, (as might well be the case with Darren Mattocks). Why Leveron wouldn’t do a runner like Camilo is beyond me.

Being an MLS fan is rather like belonging to a cult: none of it seems to make sense, but if we just have faith and follow the cult leaders who appear to understand it all we hope we will be fine in the end. MLS expansion draft? Please pass the Kool Aid!

Lets hope our Coach Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff understand the rules even if we fans find them impossible to comprehend.


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  1. We can only hope that Robbo’s trip to South America produces fruit. Hate to see Mattocks still around. Unless he has found some footballing skills from somewhere.
    Next season looks like a crapshoot. The prospect of no Rosales, Fernandez, Morales and O’Brien is hard to contemplate. MLS is a weird and wonderful entity indeed. Get a nosebleed trying to figure it all out.


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