Michael Boxall may be off to play for his country, but he's not the only Whitecap in the news. (Benjamin Massey/Eighty Six Forever)
Yesterday, I decided not to write anything. Was it because there was no Vancouver Whitecaps news? No, it was actually because I was playing video games. Hey, I just got back from Seattle. It can't be all soccer all the time.
The truth is that there have actually been a few Whitecaps in the news for all sorts of reasons. One prospective Vancouver player may be about to start his senior international career. Another former Vancouver prospect looks set to start his own career as a full-time professional for a Canadian club. We signed somebody I'd worried about not signing, the Canadian women's team won a tournament I'd worried about us not winning, and the country's most die-hard supporters began the process of planning for a game that won't actually take place until June.
There's a fair bit of news in there, but nothing that really blows the doors off. So rather than waste your time trying to prattle for 1,500 words about a subject that's not worth it, I'll prattle for a few dozen words about every subject that's come up. After the jump, a point-form summary of Whitecaps and Canadian news and notes from the past few days.
First off, congratulations to Vancouver Whitecaps trialist defender Michael Boxall, who has received his first-ever call-up to the senior New Zealand national team for matches against China and Japan. Boxall is on an extended 30-man roster that will be cut down before the tour begins, so he may yet slip through the cracks, but all the same it's obvious that he's on his country's radar. Boxall has previously appeared for New Zealand in an unofficial "A" friendly and represented his country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
An interesting sidenote: Boxall is one of three MLS players on the provisional roster, joining Andrew Boyens of the New York Red Bulls and Jake Gleeson of the Portland Timbers. They also boast a USL PRO player (Charleston Battery midfielder Cole Peverley) and an NASL player (Jeremy Christie of the Tampa Bay Rowdies). That's more North American content than Canada has for some games.
Former Whitecaps Residency midfielder/forward Alex Semenets is on trial with FC Edmonton. Semenets turns twenty-one today (happy birthday, Alex!) and got into the second half of Edmonton's 3-0 friendly loss to FC Dallas earlier this week. Long-time readers will recall that I'm a big Alex Semenets fan, and when it became clear over the winter that he wasn't going to stick with the Whitecaps I fervently hoped he'd catch on elsewhere in professional soccer. So far so good. Semenets is small and isn't the quickest player on two legs but he's technically first class and has a very advanced soccer mind for a player of his age. He's young but promising and I even pimped him as a potential future national team member once upon a time.
I understand the Whitecaps letting Semenets go; there was no place for him on this team particularly given that Russell Teibert is basically Semenets but younger and better. That doesn't mean I'm not delighted that he surfaced with FC Edmonton and optimistic that he'll play a major role on that team soon.
As you've no doubt heard, the Whitecaps signed Davide Chiumiento yesterday. Obviously they've been listening to my advice. Good job, Whitecaps!
For those of you who don't pay attention to international women's friendly tournaments, Canada bagged their second consecutive Cyprus Cup title after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Netherlands. Big Red conceded only a single goal throughout the tournament and won every game against very credible opposition; the best possible tuneup for the coming World Cup. Out of the four Cyprus Cups that have been held, Canada's now won three (they beat the American U-20s in 2008 and lost to England in the 2009 final).
The most important thing this tournament did is establish Canada's depth at an international level. Carolina Morace rotated much of her lineup throughout the tournament and still got results. While we're still a step below Germany and the United States, on form Canada's women's team is probably at the top of the second tier.
Are you a Whitecaps season ticket holder? Then I urge you to read this article at Away from the Numbers Canada: deliveries for Whitecaps season tickets look like they're already going wrong. People who were supposed to be picking their tickets up at events are instead having them dropped on their doorstep. If you, say, have a job or hobbies and thus can't be by your door twenty-four hours a day to see if a few hundred bucks worth of season tickets are going to land on top of you, you may want to call your Whitecaps ticket rep.
I can't imagine I have too many readers from Ontario, but if you're around Toronto and interested in going to the United States - Canada Gold Cup group match on June 7, the Voyageurs have already begun organizing a bus day trip. Swing on over to the relevant forum thread and express your interest; there's nobody better in the soccer world to see a game with than the Voyageurs.
Last and least, your humble correspondent appeared on It's Called Football last night to discuss the Whitecaps as well the writing I'll be doing for Canadian Soccer News's Vancouver Insider blog. I'll be posting two articles a week on CSN, and truth be told if you follow Eighty Six Forever you'll probably see most of my really good points before they do! Still, that's one more place to keep your eyes out for me if for some reason you have to get your fix.
By the way, if you're curious after listening to that interview, why yes I am losing my voice. Frankly, I'm surprised I sounded as good as I did.