VANCOUVER, B.C. – While goalkeeper Joe Cannon probably won’t be back with the Vancouver Whitecaps in a playing capacity next season, he likely isn’t going anywhere before then.
The 38-year-old began the season as the club’s No. 1, surprising many observers by reclaiming the starting job from Brad Knighton with an impressive preseason, but after the 'Caps struggled early, Cannon found himself out of the starting lineup in favor of Knighton.
Knighton, 10 years Cannon’s junior, has started every league match since mid-May.
Due to Cannon’s significant salary, commensurate with his experience in the league, it’s unlikely that another Major League Soccer team would look to acquire him, even for nominal assets.
Waiving him would free up a roster spot, but offer no salary cap relief.
Still, Cannon was absent from training on Wednesday at the University of British Columbia due to “an appointment that was prearranged,” according to Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie.
A club official told reporters Cannon was in the US for “personal reasons" but the player himself later Tweeted a picture of himself at Niagara Falls:
Still, the timing of Cannon’s absence – for business or pleasure – ahead of this coming match against the Chicago Fire on Sunday (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE) naturally sparked curiosity about Cannon’s future.
This given the match is the first in which new goalkeeper David Ousted is eligible to play after the North American transfer window opened on Tuesday.
Ousted is expected to compete with Knighton for the No. 1 jersey, knocking Cannon further down the pecking order to third choice.
Still, there’s no plan for Cannon to move on at this stage – although the club will work with the player should something materialize.
“We’re very flexible with Joe,” Rennie said. “He’s been a great servant for the club, and if some good opportunity comes up for him then we’ll certainly help him with it. He’s been a fantastic leader here and he’s continuing to be that, so in the short term [he will remain a member of the roster].”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.