VANCOUVER, B.C. – The road ahead is certainly unclear for Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon, but he’s not done yet.
Not if he has anything to say about it.
“Do you want to play in this league next year as a starting goalkeeper? I think the answer is always going to be yes,” the 38-year-old Cannon told MLSsoccer.com after a training session at the University of British Columbia on Tuesday. “Do you want that? Of course. That's why I'm still playing and I'm still training every day.
“The reality, though, is something completely different right now,” he added. “I'm not even a second goalie here.”
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Following the recent arrival of David Ousted, the 16-year veteran Cannon now finds himself as Vancouver's No. 3 netminder – an inexplicable outcome given the way his season started.
Showing up in top shape after a rigorous offseason fitness program, Cannon surprised many by outperforming Brad Knighton during preseason play and winning back his starting job, which he first landed during the team’s expansion season in 2011.
Ten games later, however, Cannon found himself dropped in favor of Knighton, and he still ponders head coach Martin Rennie’s decision to make the move after Cannon was in net for a 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy on May 11.
“We won against LA, and you lose your job,” Cannon reflected. “You kind of go through things, like – why? But the team's done well, so from an individual's perspective you can't sit there and think about yourself.
“But I don't think there's any question I can still play.”
Cannon still thinks he's capable of contributing at the MLS level, but it's tough to know if his career will continue in Vancouver. The former Danish pro Ousted has looked as good as advertised in his first two appearances and could very well turn out to be the club's long-term starter, while Knighton is considered the club's No. 2.
Add in 23-year-old Canadian international Simon Thomas, and Cannon is well aware that it’s difficult to see where he fits in anymore.
“Whatever happens in the future – I don't have a crystal ball,” Cannon said. “I wish I did. But I'm just going to be working, day in, day out, here. I'm definitely open to playing next year. I haven't written anything off yet, but as of right now, it's just so unclear.”
When asked point blank if he'd consider joining another team if it was understood that he'd be entering the situation as a backup, Cannon said at this stage of his career, there's more than just game time that comes into the equation.
“It has more to deal with than just the playing,” Cannon said. “Things like your contract. Where is it? Can I have an opportunity to grow in other parts and learn some things away with the organization? There's so many little aspects to that.
“But we're all – down to the core – just a bunch of kids. So who wouldn't want to play, right?”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.