In one of the more clear cut moves the Vancouver Whitecaps could make, club captain Kendall Waston has agreed to a contract extension that will keep the 6’5” defender at the club through the 2019 season with an option for 2020.
Since joining the ‘Caps in 2014 from Columbian side Deportivo Saprissa where he started his career, Waston has become a stalwart and ever present in the back line. Always one of the first names on the team sheet, he has started 107 of his 108 appearances for Vancouver.
When asked about the extension, Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson expressed his delight at re-signing “one of the best centre backs in the league.” Robinson added that “he’s a national hero in his country, and has also delivered for his club when he’s been needed most.”
The numbers back that up, Waston led MLS with 104 headed clearances in 2017, and according to WhoScored.com finished second only to Adolfo Machado of Houston Dynamo in total clearances with 208 on the season - and Waston played 10 games less than Machado.
Not only did he bring his defensive prowess to the table in a fantastic 2017 season, Waston came up with 5 goals and 2 assists for the Whitecaps in 2017. He topped things off with one of the most important goals of the year for Costa Rican football when he headed home a dramatic stoppage time equaliser to send his country to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Considering his tough tackling nature, it should be noted that in just over 2500 minutes in the 2017 season, Waston accumulated only 8 yellow cards for the Whitecaps, underlining just how reliable he is when called upon.
In an interview with Whitecaps.com Waston touched on how happy he has been in Vancouver, and that his priority was always to be back with the Whitecaps. When asked about how he feels about the team following the pre-season trip to Hawaii, Waston said that the team now “has a lot of quality, and as well a lot of experience.” New signings Kei Kamara and Efraín Juárez, “bring different types of skills, but [they’re] just looking for the same thing” and that’s their goal to take the ‘Caps to the MLS Cup final.
Following the recent extension of right back Jake Nerwinski, along with new contracts for Tim Parker and Marcel De Jong in November, the Whitecaps back line looks set for opening day. One of the big questions will come for the backline when Kendall Waston heads to Russia for the World Cup.
How do you feel about the extension? More importantly - how do you feel the ‘Caps will fare when the Captain heads to Russia with his country this summer?