Vancouver Whitecaps' Pa Modou Kah builds legend as Lord of the Rings | SIDELINE

VANCOUVER, B.C. – If Beyonce has taught the world anything, it's that if you like it, then you should've put a ring on it.

It's advice that Vancouver Whitecaps center back Pa Modou Kah seems to have taken to heart. The veteran defender liked his team's first-ever Canadian Championship win in August so much, he bought every player, manager and staff member at the club a ring to commemorate the occasion.

And not just any old ring, but a specially-designed one akin to those awarded to the NFL's Super Bowl champs.

"From my point of view it was more of a gesture," Kah told "It's a North America tradition, first and foremost, if you win something. By winning the Canadian Cup, we set ourselves in a step in a good direction because we never won it before."

Kah designed and paid for the rings himself with a friend who owns a company that produces them, presenting them to the team last Friday before the team headed down to Portland for the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal clash with their Cascadian rivals the Portland Timbers.

For Kah, the rings serve as permanent reminders of the club's initial success and what they can achieve in the months and years to come.

"In football, people always have short-term memories," Kah added. "So that was for me for our team to remember what kind of great team we are but also how we can also be the best in reaching our goals. Which was the Canadian Cup, going further in the Champions League, MLS Supporters Shield and MLS Cup.

"It was also in part of being a motivator. To try and motivate them that, yeah, we have achieved something, but we have greater goals to achieve."

Kah's teammates were blown away by the Gambian's generosity, with head coach Carl Robinson telling reporters that it's unlike anything he's seen in his 20-odd years in the professional game.

At the same time, he said he's not surprised at Kah's gesture, as it sums up just what kind of a player, and man, his defender is.

"It shows a lot about his character," Robinson said of the gesture. "It show a lot about what he thinks of the team and the club and the team embraced it because he didn't need to do it. He did it off his own back.

"When you have a special atmosphere and a special group of players, like we do in the locker room, the players have been open about it and said it is one of the best spirits we've had …. Gestures like that show how special the atmosphere's been throughout the season and will continue to be over hopefully a few more games."

But as much as Robinson cherishes and appreciates Kah's gift, you might not find the 'Caps coach wearing his ring any time soon.

"I know if you win MLS Cup you get a ring, but I'm not a big ring fan," Robinson joked. "Having a big, thick ring is probably not suitable on a little Welsh hand. Which I've got!"

The rings are just another example of what Kah has meant to this young Whitecaps squad this season.

The defender is currently out injured and will miss Sunday's second leg at BC Place (10 pm ET; FS1 in US, TSN in Canada). The veteran picked up a groin injury late in the regular season, but his importance to the locker room was evident when Robinson took him down to Portland last weekend nonetheless.

"[He's] vitally important," Robinson said of Kah. "I took him to Portland because he's a big part of this club and I wanted him to be a big part of this club, and beyond this year, because he's got so much influence in that locker room.

"He's played a number of games this year, probably more so than originally I thought. Probably more so than originally he thought. He's done very well. He's been a big part of the success we've had at the club, but I'll never underestimate how important he is in that locker room for me."


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