Good Friday morning Caps fans. Hope you all are mentally ready for at least one more match-weekend — and hopefully more to follow, if things go right.
Excitement reigns as the Caps head to Minnesota United, where victory over a reeling Loons side would see them enter the MLS Cup playoffs in dramatic fashion two years in a row. The Cardiac Caps strike again.
Off-the-pitch, things were a bit of a mixed bag. The club announced they had inked Axel Schuster to a four-year extension, an exciting if expected move and a seemingly fitting reward for someone who has led a fairly competent scouting and player recruitment effort in the last couple of years.
That news was somewhat dampened by the fact that both Lenarduzzis remain with the organization, just in a slightly different capacity. A disappointing decision to keep some, but not all, of the executives that have brought about the scandals around for reasons that still remain a bit unclear (aside from the nebulous need for connections and continuity).
#VWFC Axel Schuster pleased with new 4yr contract as 1st reported by @HarJournalist Schuster confirms Greg Anderson has left the Caps while Bob and Dan Lenarduzzi remain with organization in liaison roles. Also says decision on Cavallini’s status still tba.— JAY JANOWER (@JayJanower) October 4, 2022
That this happened the week of a report revealing sexual assault and harassment were far more widespread in women’s soccer than previously realized only amplifies the “what were they thinking?” and underscores the future need to clean house.
It also had the effect of taking the wind out of the sails of what otherwise would have been an exciting revelation: Stephanie Labbé, a Canadian soccer legend who retired in January, is taking over as general manager of women’s soccer.
The move is undoubtedly a good one. Labbé adds legitimacy to the efforts to keep the women’s program relevant, surely why the club wanted her on board. I have no doubt her leadership will be a boon for one of Canada’s better development programs and, potentially, a NWSL team or other professional side to come to Vancouver.
Labbé spoke eloquently about her passion about creating a positive culture, protecting victims and pushing actors in women’s soccer to do better.
“I’m going to be a voice to continue to advocate for athletes to have safe spaces to speak about these issues, because abuse has no place in our sport or any sport in Canada.” - @stephlabbe1, GM of women’s soccer pic.twitter.com/2XIgWAcptF— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) October 6, 2022
But this week showed just how far there is to go on that endeavor. And while I would rather moves like this take place to help bring about improvement and chart a new course for women’s soccer but the timing just makes the whole thing feel off and really detracted from it.
The Caps need further action in-house to show the organization has changed, not by bringing on a superstar of Canadian soccer to try and pass the buck. Hopefully we will get to see a lot of good things out of Labbé — and the front office honchos who remain will either get their act together or think twice about their future with the club.
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We now know the format for the expanded Leagues Cup, set to begin next season