10 Things About Kendall Waston: Don't doubt the Vancouver Whitecaps star who bet on himself

There are two distinct sides to Vancouver Whitecaps central defender Kendall Waston.

On the pitch, the Costa Rican is a handful for opposition players in both penalty boxes, with his solid and aggressive play helping the 'Caps to the best defensive record in MLS in 2015. Off the pitch, Waston is a sweet family man, helping his new teammates settle in to their new surroundings.

With 1 1/2 seasons of MLS play under his belt, Waston continues to go from strength to strength for both club and country, and 2016 could be a big year for the big defender.

Here are 10 things to help you get to know Waston a little bit better:

He's well-travelled

Waston's move to the Vancouver Whitecaps in August 2014 made Canada the fourth country in the center back's club career, after previous spells in Costa Rica, Uruguay and Puerto Rico.

His cups runneth over

Waston now has national cup-winning medals in two countries, winning the Costa Rican Cup with Saprissa in 2013, in the first year of its existence, and the Canadian Championship with Vancouver in 2015.

People notice

Waston became the first-ever Whitecap to be named to the year-end MLS Best XI in November, after an impressive first full season in the league. He also finished runner-up to Montreal's Laurent Ciman in the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year voting and was named the Whitecaps Player of the Year last season.

Kendall Waston

Don't bet against him

It's fair to say that Waston's play attracts a lot of attention from MLS referees, and a few yellow cards to go with it. Last April, Waston was one booking away from a suspension and entered into a friendly wager with Vancouver Sun reporter Gary Kingston. The bet was that Waston couldn't go three games without picking up another yellow card and the subsequent suspension. The big center back did just that, and won in the process.

"He got to pay me $100 because he told me it was impossible that I wouldn’t go three games without a yellow card," Waston told reporters after that third game. "So I told him, OK, let’s bet."

A proud Tico

Waston's performances have seen him move firmly into the plans of the Costa Rica national team. He's now picked up six caps for his country, the most recent of which came in a 2-2 draw at Venezuela on February 2. His international debut actually came in a friendly win against Canada in Edmonton in May 2013, when he came on as a 77th-minute substitute. Waston also played in Vancouver in 2007 for Costa Rica at the U-20 World Cup.

"I remember playing against Scotland and thinking it was a wonderful city and really beautiful," he told reporters, when he first arrived at the Whitecaps.

Scored his 1st international goal in trademark fashion

Debut aside, the highlight of Waston's international career so far was his first goal for Costa Rica, scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Nicaragua on December 15 last year.

Also thumped home a 'Caps playoff clincher

Waston has scored four goals for the Whitecaps in 41 overall MLS appearances. His most important came on the last day of the 2014 season, when his powerful header against the Colorado Rapids gave the 'Caps a crucial 1-0 win that secured their place in the playoffs.

But as big as that was at the time, he felt at the time that the biggest goal of his career was still to come, telling reporters, "I think the biggest is going to be after, not today." 

A devoted family man

As tough and aggressive as Waston is on the pitch, he's a big softie off it and very much a family man. A devoted husband and father, he spends all his spare time with his lovely wife Priscilla and their son Keysaack, who will soon be turning 2 years old. Waston calls Keysaack a huge inspiration:

"Since he was born, everything was a blessing. He was born on a Saturday and then on the Sunday we had a game, a semifinal, and I scored. So since he was born, everything's been good."

Teammates are often invited over for dinner

Family is important to the Wastons, and they've embraced the atmosphere Carl Robinson has instilled in the Whitecaps locker. The Wastons act as an extended family to a number of the young Spanish-speaking players, including Jordan Smith, Deybi Flores and Whitecaps 2 player Victor Blasco, hosting them for regular family dinners and helping them adjust to the everyday aspects of Canadian life.

"I like to help people," Waston told MLSsoccer.com. "I know it's not easy being in another country alone, without your family. The least I could do is help them, show them around. Try to make them feel comfortable."

Big shoes to fill

Waston's big, 6-foot-5 frame led some to dub him the “Towering Tico.” He's the tallest player on the Whitecaps, with one inch on goalkeeper David Ousted and 15 on the club's smallest player, midfielder Cristian Techera. Finding a strip to fit him isn't the only issue for the 'Caps kit men, as he also possesses the team's biggest feet, wearing a size 13 boot.

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