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Whitecaps Bring Canadian Midfielder Massih Wassey on Trial

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Massih Wassey (centre) lines up with Pedro Pacheco and Paul Stalteri before Canada's 2010 friendly against Venezuela. (Canadian Soccer Association/CanadaSoccer.com)
Massih Wassey (centre) lines up with Pedro Pacheco and Paul Stalteri before Canada's 2010 friendly against Venezuela. (Canadian Soccer Association/CanadaSoccer.com)

I love Massih Wassey.

Not because he's any good at soccer. Oh, god, no. News today that the Vancouver Whitecaps had brought in the lanky 23-year-old Canadian midfielder on trial shouldn't excite anybody from an on-field standpoint. He is, however, a Canadian midfielder not named "Owen Hargreaves". Wassey is a tall offensive talent who learned his trade in the German leagues, which have produced some pretty good midfielders in their time. He's had two caps for the Canadian national team in second-rate friendlies and acquitted himself decently. However, he's also struggled for regular playing time in the lower German leagues. He flakes out defensively sometimes and isn't as solid as his height should imply, meaning he's bounced from club to club. Even if his trial works out and Wassey signs, I wouldn't count on his being a major difference maker.

Some of us (i.e. me) have wanted the Whitecaps to sign more Canadian talent and, as a two-time Canadian international, Wassey should qualify. However, Wassey was born in Münster and comes by his Canadian passport through the back door. After Wassey's birth his Afghan mother married a Canadian, qualifying him for citizenship in our fair dominion. His biological father is German. He's been a loyal servant to the Canadian national program and there's no doubting his integrity, but he was raised in Germany and is only marginally more Canadian than Marc Bircham.

Bringing in Wassey on trial is a smart move. He has some skill and we've seen some pretty low-division players make successful transitions to MLS before. At 23 years old, he's the right age for the Whitecaps to be targeting, and we've all been saying for centuries that this team needs some help in central midfielder. Wassey would provide a very modest sort of help, but if he works out he'd save us from the horrors of "Peter Vagenas, go on the attack!" If Wassey isn't good enough, end the trial and no harm done. He couldn't possibly be expensive, meaning that even if he signs and struggles we could probably waive him consequence-free on a semi-guaranteed contract.

He's not a great player, but Wassey has the potential to be a useful one. Bringing him in is a smart player decision from a team that's been short on them lately.

It's been a rough couple months for Wassey. He's spent most of his career with his hometown club Preußen Münster, current club of fellow Canadian international Jonathan Bourgault and long-time dweller in the German fourth division. Wassey was semi-regular in the Münster lineup and he earned the attention of 1.Bundesliga giants Schalke 04. However, Wassey never got close to the Schalke first team and actually got less playing time with their reserve side than he did with Münster in the same division.

Wassey was cut loose from Schalke in early 2011 and went a-wandering looking for opportunities. A trial with Dutch second division regulars FC Emmen was cut short (Dutch) after Wassey left the club believing he was close to securing a contract in the 2. Bundesliga. That contract wound up being a reserve squad agreement with Fortuna Düsseldorf: Wassey would turn out with their reserve squad Fortuna Düsseldorf II back in the German fourth division then be evaluated for a first team spot.

Wassey played regularly with Fortuna Düsseldorf II but apparently didn't impress the club brass. There's no confirmation on his contract status but he is no longer listed on Fortuna Düsseldorf's reserve roster and has not recorded any minutes with the team this season; it's safe to say he's a free agent.

I have only seen Wassey play one game and heard him play one more on the radio, so I personally have little scouting information for you. He loved to have the ball on his feet and, when in a Canadian uniform, let his positioning suffer because he was so eager to get involved with possession. Wassey has a reputation for shooting well (his goalscoring totals in Germany back this up) and is a decent playmaker. He's an offensive midfielder, which the Whitecaps already have too many of, but he also plays centrally and could form an effective backup for Davide Chiumiento if all goes well.

If not all goes well then no harm done. This is just a trial, but it's still one I'm pleased with.