The Vancouver Whitecaps have an affiliation deal with the USL-PRO’s Charleston Battery in place, but that hasn’t dimmed their close relationship with NASL’s FC Edmonton.
On Monday, FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller confirmed that his club has already turned down two potential loan offers from the Whitecaps for the 2014 season. The reasons? FC Edmonton is already very deep in one of the positions played by one of the players who was offered. And, the other simply didn’t fit with the club.
“Bob (Whitecaps’ president Bob Lenarduzzi) and his staff know that their players need to be on the first team or on the fringes of the first team for us to consider them at the moment,” said Miller. “That’s how strongly I feel about the quality of our squad.”
Last season, the Whitecaps loaned defender Carlyle Mitchell to the Eddies; he was a standout performer in NASL, but was recalled to Vancouver just before the end of the spring season. A Whitecaps’ injury crisis forced his recall, and then he played so well, he wasn’t sent back.
Mitchell is still a major booster of the Eddies; his recommendation was key in central defender Kareem Moses coming to the team in 2014 — along with a personal endorsement made to Miller by current Trinidad and Tobago national-team coach (and former Canadian national-team coach) Stephen Hart.
As well, the Whitecaps loaned striker Corey Hertzog to the Eddies. Hertzog was released by the Whitecaps at the end of the season and is now with USL-PRO’s Orlando City, where he hopes to make the jump to MLS with that club in 2015.
But, the Whitecaps — who loaned Bryce Alderson, Ben Fisk and Emmanuel Adjetey to Charleston last season — finalized a deal in 2014 to make the Battery its official lower-league affiliate. And, with that brought the question: Would the Whitecaps still have a close relationship with the Eddies, or would all of the developing players be sent to the Carolinas?
Well, the answer is in — the Whitecaps and Eddies continue to be close.
Still, Miller would love nothing more than to face the Whitecaps on the field. The teams will face off April 1 in Vancouver as the Eddies continue their preseason. And, Miller laid out his dream scenario for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship; that the Eddies knock the Ottawa Fury and Montreal Impact out of the competition, while Vancouver knocks out Toronto FC, leaving a Whitecaps-FC Edmonton final.
Lenarduzzi and Miller may be close friends — but it’s important to have bragging rights, after all.