Whitecaps release three veterans despite championship season
Published Monday, December 8, 2008 8:58PM PST
The Vancouver Whitecaps announced that they will not offer new contracts to Jeff Clarke and Steve Kindel, and will not exercise the 2009 contract option on midfielder, Alfredo Valente. According to the Whitecaps' organization, the decision was based on philosophical differences.
"Jeff, Steve, and Alfredo have been long-serving members of our club and we are grateful for the contributions they have made throughout the years," said Whitecaps president, Bob Lenarduzzi. "They have had tremendous careers in Vancouver, which is highlighted by two United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) championships in 2006 and 2008. We wish them the very best for the future."
Clarke, 31-years-old, first joined Vancouver in 1997 before leaving at the end of the year to pursue options in Europe. Clarke, who was born in New Westminster, BC, but raised in Coquitlam, BC, returned to the Whitecaps in 2002 and played a total of eight seasons with the club, including the last four as team captain. The midfielder/defender was named to the USL-1 All-League Second Team and was the championship match MVP in 2006. As a member of the Whitecaps, Clarke ranks 11th all-time in games played with 203 and ninth all-time in minutes played with 16,627. Offensively, he scored 14 goals, added 12 assists, and ranks 22nd all-time in points with 40.
Kindel, 31, also joined the club in 1997, but would stay an additional year before leaving to play in Belgium at the end of the 1998 season. He returned to the Whitecaps in 2000, with last season being his 11th year with the club. In 2001 and 2002, Kindel was named to the USL-1 All-League Second Team. He ranks second on the club's all-time games played list with 287 and minutes played list with 24,009. The native of Burnaby, BC, is eighth all-time in goals scored with 36, fifth all-time in assists with 25, and ninth all-time in points with 97.
Valente, 28, was drafted by Vancouver in 1998 and went on to play 11 seasons with the club. The midfielder was a member of the USL-1 All-League Second Team in 2004. Born in Vancouver, but raised in Burnaby, Valente ranks fourth all-time in games played with 271 and eighth all-time in minutes played with 16,948. Valente is ninth all-time in goals scored with 35, second all-time with 38 assists, and fifth all-time with 108 points.
"It was a difficult decision to not bring back three long-time starters, however, we are very excited about the number of players from our full-time residency program that will make the jump to our senior team next season," added Whitecaps men's team head coach, Teitur Thordarson. "Last year was the first year of our residency program and we saw four members earn time with the first team - highlighted by Ethan Gage, who played the full 90 minutes in our championship match. In addition to the players in our system, we will continue to recruit experienced veterans, as well as recent university graduates to fill out our roster."
With files from the Vancouver Whitecaps