Reports earlier in the week from the Globe and Mail's Matthew Sekeres had the Vancouver Whitecaps winning one of the two expansion spots for the 2011 MLS season. Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi joined 'Full-Time: Vancouver's Soccer Show' last Sunday and was quick to shoot that down report claiming it was premature and that the team is still in discussions with Major League Soccer. Hear the March 8 Full-Time podcast here.
Those on-going discussions with Don Garber and Major League Soccer include the fact that the current Whitecaps have developed one of the strongest and best residency programs North America. Developing talent within it's system, something the Caps don't want to lose. Lenarduzzi told Full-Time, "it is an important aspect of our club. What we are discussing with the league is their current model and how we can continue to pursue our desire to develop players."
Needless to say, it is important for the Whitecaps to continue this tradition of developing talent, look no further than their current roster. It includes numerous players that were developed in the Whitecaps residency program.
The discussions continue with the MLS. It will not be a make or break point on whether Vancouver gets in to the MLS (they are as good as in with or without this), it's just a talking point. I know the Whitecaps would love to continue the program when they make it into the MLS. Developing your own talent rather than relying on the draft or players from overseas would be a tremendous benefit and make the MLS a stronger league. So please Don Garber, take a page from the Whitecaps book and set this in motion. If other MLS clubs want to join with it, terrific, if they don't and would rather continue as is, let them.