VANCOUVER – Jay Nolly sensed his time in Vancouver could well be up. He was right.
On Monday, the Vancouver Whitecaps ended a four-year relationship with the Floridian, shipping him to the Chicago Fire in exchange for a first-round draft pick in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft.
“I knew the way things were going for our team, the offseason for Vancouver, that trades would be a possibility,” Nolly told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Monday. “I knew I’d be on the market if there was something they could get. I don’t think they would be afraid to deal most of the players."
The 29-year-old also praised the organization for their professionalism.
“They were very considerate dealing with me," Nolly said. "They spoke to me on Friday about all my options and they worked with me really well.”
The 2010 USSF D-2 Goalkeeper of the Year started the season as Teitur Thordarson’s No. 1 netminder, but when the Icelandic coach was fired, one of the first changes interim boss Tom Soehn made was to drop Nolly for Joe Cannon.
“I couldn’t argue with Tommy for making the change,” Nolly said. “Joe’s a veteran. He’s won in the league and he’s won a couple of [Goalkeeper of the Year awards]. I didn’t have anything to argue – I was going to support him, he was my coach. Joe was playing well, and I just couldn’t get the spot back from him.”
During his time with the club, Nolly established himself as a firm fan favorite, helping the ‘Caps win the USL-1 Championship in 2008 before following that up with a Goalkeeper of the Year award in the club’s final season in the second tier of US soccer.
Nolly applauded the Whitecaps fans during his time with the franchise.
“I’ve had the pleasure to be with them since 2008,” Nolly said. “They stuck with us when we were a very good team, when we had a championship. They then stuck with us through a final loss and when we had a tough season this year – they showed up every game, 20,000 people, and cheered the players on.
“They were gracious when we won and when we lost, and it’s a great organization to be a part of. I’m glad that I got to be there and to be with the fans, but now it’s time to move on.”
Now, Nolly will turn his attention toward his next challenge with the Fire.
“I was excited when my agent told me that Chicago was really interested because I went to school in Indiana. I lived in the Midwest for a little bit, and I have family that lives in Chicago,” Nolly said. “For a team that wants you and with those ties, I was really excited when I heard it was a possibility.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.