As appropriate for a day named after labour, today has been a day of trials for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Per Marc Weber of the Vancouver Province in a series of tweets, the Whitecaps have added three new trialists at practice today:
- More-or-less-Canadian attacking midfielder Massih Wassey, last of Fortuna Düsseldorf II, is on trial with the team. Of course, that's not news: mildly-obsessive Eighty Six Forever readers will recall that Wassey trialled with the team back in mid-August. However, Wassey fell ill and went to stay with his family in Kamloops while he recovered, having been promised that his trial would resume when he was healthy. He is, and it has been.
Also on trial is Canadian forward Mawuena Mallet. Why no, I'd never heard of him either! Mawuena plays with Quest University in Squamish, BC; Quest is a member of the British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association. This is also the first time I've heard of Quest University, although Squamish I'm at least familiar with. Anyway, Mallet is a 6'1" sophomore forward from Vancouver.
Now, you may say "okay, so they're signing a forward from a small school in an incredibly minor conference. He's a forward so you can pretty much measure his value in goals and assists. So how incredible were this kid's statistics?" In case you're wondering, you too can win an MLS trial if you record four goals in eleven matches with some crap school in Squamish.
This kid may be brilliant; I really don't know. I can't object to bringing him in, obviously, since a trial costs nothing: there are lots of people in the Whitecaps organization with an eye for talent and if they saw something worth exploiting then, by all means, bring him along. I hope for all the best but you have to admit, the background isn't promising.
The third Whitecaps trialist is English-born midfielder Ashley Burbeary. Him I've heard of: the 24-year-old Burbeary is nicknamed "the Ginger Fox" and spent the 2011 USL PDL season with the Victoria Highlanders. Burbeary bagged more than his limit last year, topping the Victoria scoring charts with five goals and eight assists. 2011 was his first year in North America as he got his professional start with English non-League teams Gainsborough Trinity and Sheffield F.C.
Burbeary is almost the sort of player I've thought teams like the Whitecaps should be looking for: decent pedigree, obvious skills, why not give him a spin at times like this? He's a little old to be a prospect and in England he wasn't considered good enough to stick in the Conference North but some players bloom late. If he was 20 instead of 24 I'd be excited. Instead I watch warily, glad to see the team paying attention to the PDL but wondering what the chances are he'll really help.
And, in simultaneously happy and horrifying news, former Eighty Six Forever favourite and Vancouver Whitecaps stand-out Wes Knight has gone on trial to the Seattle Sounders. Seattle! Of course it has to be Seattle; they've certainly had a chance to get to know his abilities and, unlike Vancouver, they're basically competently-run.
Obviously I want to cheer against everything Seattle-related. But if Wes Knight signs with the Sounders, I might have to compromise. Hope for something like "Seattle loses every game 10-9, but Wes scores all nine of their goals." I could live with that.