VANCOUVER, B.C. – Joe Cannon wants to be back in Vancouver next season, but he admits it’s not entirely up to him whether he stays with the Whitecaps.
“I can’t get overexcited because decisions haven’t been made yet,” Cannon told MLSsoccer.com after the Whitecaps' final match this past Saturday. “So you only have to hope for the best and stay positive.”
Cannon’s season didn’t quite go as planned. The two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year began Vancouver’s inaugural season as a backup to Jay Nolly, a player without much in the way of top-flight experience.
Initially, then-head coach Teitur Thordarson made comments that suggested Cannon wasn’t quite fully recovered from an ankle injury suffered last season while with the San Jose Earthquakes. Soon, however, it became apparent that Nolly was his No. 1 choice.
After biding his time and saying all the right things to the media, Cannon finally got his shot to claim a starting role with the arrival of interim head coach Tom Soehn, who gave the big Bay Area native the nod over Nolly in his first game in charge.
Since then, Cannon has started all but three matches for the Whitecaps, and the veteran ‘keeper has not disappointed. Perhaps his best performance came in 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 27, making a series of spectacular diving saves to deny Brian Ching and Brad Davis what appeared to be surefire goals.
Cannon also became just the second goalkeeper in MLS history to appear in 300 matches on Sept. 17, a 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. But with his contract up and Martin Rennie set to take the helm in Vancouver in 2012, Cannon recognizes he has to prove himself to a new boss once again. Rennie plans to hold a two-week evaluation camp in November.
“I was listening to that Steve Jobs speech, after he passed away, and he said, ‘Sometimes the old, it has to be replaced by the new,’” Cannon said. “For myself, I've got to personally work hard for the next two, three weeks while Martin’s here and prove that the new doesn’t have to come just yet.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.