Whitecaps captain won’t call season a failure 0
The Vancouver Whitecaps will look to celebrate for the final time this season when they close out their campaign Sunday at home to the Colorado Rapids. (REUTERS)
For some, Sunday's game may be their last in a Vancouver Whitecaps uniform. For others, they'll be back. For the rest, who knows?
But when the club takes to the BC Place turf for the final time this season against the Colorado Rapids, the mindset is still business as usual — no matter what the future holds.
"You can read into things on many different facets all you want, but ultimately we got to go out there and play," captain Jay DeMerit said Wednesday. "We got to make sure that we go out there and we give it our best shot because anything less would be disappointing."
The team was officially eliminated from playoff contention after a 3-2 loss to Colorado last Saturday. They face the same squad to close out their 2013 campaign, this time at BC Place.
DeMerit, who missed a big part of the year with a torn Achilles, isn't calling this season a failure — despite the team's inability to make the playoffs for a second straight season.
"You set goals early on not just making the playoffs, but winning games, keeping goals out of the net, and winning Cascadia Cups, all those types of things," he said. "Obviously the playoffs is the big one so that's what the spotlight is on and that's why there's more disappointment than usual.
"For us, we had more wins than last year … and are we continuing to not grow as a club? I wouldn't say so."
As for himself, the team's veteran centre back was happy he recovered early enough to return and make a difference.
"To get back out on the field and contribute in the final phase of the season was great," he said. "As you go into off-seasons, you never know what's going to happen. There's a lot of moving parts that go along with guys staying and guys leaving.
"I like it here, I want to be here, and the club wants me here."
Lee looks back
There's a lot of reminiscing these days for Y.P. Lee.
The Whitecaps defender — and South Korean legend — will play his final professional game on Sunday, and he's coming to terms with how everything this week is his "last."
"Every single moment is my last," he said. "When I wake up, oh how many days left? Only three days left today. Today is last Wednesday training of my life, tomorrow the last Thursday training of my life.
"This week is very special and I want to thank everybody beside of me."
Lee, who plans to continue learning the administration side of things with the club next year, said he got 30 tickets for family and friends, and has received more than 70 media requests for interviews in his home country.
"I heard so many Korean students and people (will) come to the stadium because of me so I want to say thanks at the game," he said. "It will be the most memorable game in my life."
Wednesday, the club handed out their own year-end awards, with Camilo taking home the player of the year and Golden Boot honours. Defender Carlyle Mitchell was named the unsung hero while Jordan Harvey was awarded humanitarian of the year.