VANCOUVER — After 10 memorable seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps, former team captain Martin Nash announced Wednesday that he’s hanging up his cleats.
A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Nash ends a 16-year professional career that began with the Whitecaps' previous incarnation as the 86ers, before leaving to ply his trade with other clubs domestically, as well as in England. Nash also gained success with the Canadian national team, earning 38 caps and scoring two goals for his country.
"I’m incredibly proud of what I've accomplished over my career as a player at both club and international level, and am pleased to be able to finish this chapter of my career at home, with the club where it began," Nash told whitecapsfc.com.
[inline_node:321931]Nash returned to the Whitecaps in 2004 and led the club to two USL-1 titles in 2006 and '08. After the '08 championship, the club began to purge some veterans from the team. But Nash stayed and became Vancouver’s captain.
The next two years saw their share of memories, as the Whitecaps ousted the Portland Timbers from the playoffs both years. Nash also earned the Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot Award as the club’s leading scorer in 2010 with four goals and eight assists. His performance also earned him a USSF-D2 Best XI honor.
"Martin has been a part of some of the truly great moments with this club," Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi told whitecapsfc.com. "He’s been an exceptional leader and role model within our club and community.”
Leadership is a trait that runs in the Nash family, apparently – you may have heard of his brother Steve, point guard for the Phoenix Suns and two-time NBA MVP. Martin’s leadership earned him a coaching role with the Whitecaps residency program, mentoring younger players.
"[Martin’s] fiercely competitive nature, tempered by his respectful approach, is one we feel embodies our philosophy as a club, and will be a great asset in working with our Residency players,” head coach Teitur Thordason told whitecapsfc.com. “Having a successful development system is critical to our club’s success, and we know he'll bring the same level of dedication to his new role as a part of our coaching staff, as he brought to the pitch."
Nash finishes his playing career in seventh on the Whitecaps’ all-time scoring list with 110 points. But between scouting and coaching, his work for Vancouver is far from over.
“We’re delighted he’ll be with us as we enter Major League Soccer in 2011,” Lenarduzzi said.
Nash never got a chance to play in MLS, but his storied career will not soon be forgotten by the Whitecaps faithful.
"I'd like to thank the fans, the clubs, my teammates, my coaches, and my wife and children who have given up a lot for my career,” Nash said. “It's been an incredible time.”
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