Club legends return to Whitecaps FC training

Whitecaps

Photo Credit: 
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

BURNABY, British Columbia – Vancouver Whitecaps FC preseason training camp kicked up a notch this
week as two of the most prolific players in club history were welcomed back into the
fold.

No, Dale Mitchell and Carl Valentine won’t be coming out of retirement.
But the former Canadian internationals were on hand as guest coaches, running
the attacking players through drills for the last hour of practice.

“It’s good to have them here with us,” head
coach Teitur Thordason said. “They’ll be working closely with the strikers and
wingers.”

Both coaches know a thing or two about
putting the ball in the net. Valentine is third all-time in scoring for the
Whitecaps with 65 goals and 69 assists, while Mitchell is the all-time leading
goalscorer for the Canadian men’s national team with 19 goals in 55 games.

The local legends bring a wealth of
coaching experience with them. Valentine coached the ‘Caps from 1994 until 1999,
and last year coached the Ottawa Fury of the PDL. Mitchell also spent time
coaching the Whitecaps, as well as the U-20 Canadian national team, and most
recently served as head coach of the Canadian senior men’s national team.

The inclusion of Mitchell and Valentine
gives the Whitecaps high-quality coaching at every position. While the guest
coaches work with the strikers and wingers, former Canadian national team
stalwart and current assistant coach Colin Miller will keep an eye on the
defenders, and former team captain Martin Nash will be working with the central
midfielders.

“We’ll see,” Thordason said when asked about Mitchell and Valentine's long-term future with the club. “At this stage,
they’re just guest coaches.”

Monday’s session also saw the addition of
Chinese striker Tan Long, whose rights were acquired in a midseason USSF-D2
trade with FC Tampa Bay.

“He’s an athlete, that’s a good start,” Thordason said of Tan. “He is technically good, physically quite good. I
haven’t seen how he is tactically, so I need a longer time to see that, but his
individual qualities are very interesting.”

Absent from the field was center back
Mouloud Akloul. The Frenchman will undergo a third surgery next week as he
continues to recover from a broken left ankle.

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