BURNABY, B.C. – It’s been six months since local boy Jacob Lensky popped out of nowhere to join up with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Lensky, who’s represented both Canada and the Czech Republic in youth international competition, seemingly walked away from soccer after a spell with Dutch side FC Utrecht.
The 23-year-old Vancouverite has been a regular participant in training sessions since then, however, apart from a few weeks away from the team shortly following his arrival. And so far, it seems a good fit.
“Everyone’s been friendly and welcoming so far,” Lensky told MLSsoccer.com after a training session at Swangard Stadium on Thursday. “I’m getting fitter. I feel healthy, I feel good, I feel stronger.”
Lensky, who head coach Martin Rennie describes as a physically strong midfielder with a good left foot, has so far been restricted to reserve matches and friendlies as he’s not officially on the books.
As one would expect from a player who has played at an elite level in Europe – in addition to Utrecht, he’s been on the books at both Anderlecht and Celtic – he’s eager to get back to competitive action.
“I don’t want to be a snob about it, but it’s reserve games and it’s often against local teams,” Lensky said of the games he’s played. “So, it’s more fitness and getting a feel for it – it’s OK.”
So, the natural question must be asked: Why has Lensky been around the team for so long without a deal, and are the parties interested in putting pen to paper?
“We’re definitely interested in him,” Rennie said on Thursday. “He’s got good vision of the field, he can go past people, he’s got a good shot. He’s got a lot of good qualities. He’s played at a high level, so he’s obviously been a good player to do that.
“I think he could bring a lot – MLS is a league you have to be strong in midfield, and he is – he’s got good physical strength and size.”
Lensky says he’s interested in getting something done as well, but the talks thus far have been fairly preliminary.
“If I could work something out with them that’s decent for both of us, that would be ideal,” Lensky said. “We’ve talked a little bit but I mean – nothing concrete yet. We’ll see.”
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If a deal is done, it would add another Canadian face to a franchise that has at times been criticized for a lack of Canuck content. It also helps that he can play a bit, too.
“He’s come on a long way,” midfielder John Thorrington said of Lensky’s return to fitness and sharpness following his arrival. “He’s a talented player. At times he shows why he has played in Europe and done well. He’s just a good guy. He has the right attitude. It’s not easy coming in in that position as a trialist or whatever term you want to use but I think he does it well.
“He puts his head down, works hard, and I think the guys appreciate having him around… it’s a part of the club’s vision to get local players, which he obviously is one, and I think in the right situation he could be a good asset.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.