The Vancouver Whitecaps may still be without a head coach, but they launched head-first into the offseason on Friday with a flurry of roster moves, exercising the 2014 contract options on 11 players from their 2013 roster while declining the options of another eight.
Those whose options were picked up indicate a clear emphasis on youth: defenders Jordan Harvey and Carlyle Mitchell, midfielders Aminu Abdallah, Bryce Alderson, Gershon Koffie, Erik Hurtado, Nigel Reo-Coker (above), Russell Teibert, and Matt Watson, as well as strikers Omar Salgado and Camilo Sanvezzo.
The club now has 19 players under contract for the 2014 season – a Major League Soccer team can have up to 30 players on their first-team roster.
“We're very excited about the core we have in place and the opportunity to build around these players,” club president Bob Lenarduzzi said in a statement. “With the combination of young and veteran players in the fold, our 2014 roster is heading in in the right direction and we will attempt to strengthen it even further this offseason.”
The club also announced that it has declined the options for goalkeepers Joe Cannon, Brad Knighton, and Simon Thomas, defender Brad Rusin, midfielders Jun Marques Davidson and Daigo Kobayashi, as well as strikers Tommy Heinemann and Corey Hertzog.
However, the club said that doesn't neccesarily mean it will part with those players.
“Some degree of roster turnover is expected at this time of year and, although we have declined options on certain players, we will continue to have conversations with a couple players about opportunities moving forward," added Lenarduzzi. "We are thankful for the contributions that all of these players made to the club on and off the field."
Cannon, Heinemann, Hertzog, and Knighton will be eligible for the MLS Re-Entry process, which will take place following MLS Cup. A full list of players available in the Re-Entry Draft will be released by MLS at a later date. The remaining players will be available via waivers.
Vancouver have been without a head coach since the club fired Martin Rennie last month. No timetable has been set for a replacement yet, though a report from The Province on Wednesday indicated Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis and current 'Caps assistant Carl Robinson are atop the club's list.