VANCOUVER, B.C. – Ten years later and the memories are still crystal clear.
Ask anybody about Sept. 11, 2001, and they’ll be able to tell you in great detail exactly what they were doing as the events of that day developed, and members of the Vancouver Whitecaps are no different.
“It was a big day for the entire world, but especially Americans,” Shea Salinas told MLSsoccer.com after training on Thursday. “It was devastating."
"I was in my freshman year of high school, so we just took the whole day off and watched all the footage and everything," Salinas added. "It was definitely emotional – I didn’t have anyone directly attached to it, but it was just a sad time.”
For head coach Tom Soehn, who was Bob Bradley’s assistant at the Chicago Fire at the time, the memories remain vivid — not only of the day itself, but of the solidarity and compassion in the days that followed.
“I think many of us who went through that day remember that day like it was yesterday,” Soehn said. “I came into work and Bob Bradley was there – he was still the coach – we both came in pretty early that day and watched in disbelief at what was going on, but I think you saw the US come together following the incident and saw great things from a country that just got devastated by something like that.
“It was an emotional time, and going back to New York 10 years after it happened I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of memories for a lot of people in different ways.”
Saturday’s away match against the New York Red Bulls is 9/11 Tribute Night, and the hosts are providing 2,500 tickets to local police officers, firefighters and military personnel as they remember the sacrifices so many made on that fateful day.
“I played in New York against the MetroStars the week after the actual 9/11,” said Peter Vagenas, who was with the LA Galaxy at the time. “So it’s a bit ironic that I’m going back there 10 years later. What a scene it was back then: We landed there a week later and ash was still falling. But it’s a testament to [the character of] our country, to the people of New York. It’s obviously a huge day for Americans worldwide, and it’ll be pretty special.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.