Whitecaps striker seeks fresh start
Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks is looking for a better result than his three goals last season. (REUTERS)
The past is the past.
That's the stance Darren Mattocks is taking, and his head coach agrees.
The Vancouver Whitecaps striker entered training camp this week with some baggage — due in large part to his unflattering comments about his own club during an interview on a Jamaican TV show back in November.
Fresh off an underwhelming campaign, the 23-year-old voiced his displeasure with being regularly benched by former coach Martin Rennie and insisted that every other team in MLS and even some in Europe were interested in his services.
But after coming under fire for his controversial remarks, he apologized. And having spoken with new coach Carl Robinson, he's ready to move on and improve on a 2013 campaign that saw him score just three goals in 20 appearances.
"We all discussed it privately, it was done with no harm or intention," said Mattocks, who was making his first public comments since that TV appearance. "I apologized to everyone who took it the way they did.
"I totally accept the blame for what I did, but I just got to move forward and get past that."
A glorious opportunity awaits him with the departure of Camilo. The team needs to fill that 22-goal void and Mattocks is just one of the few forwards the team is counting on to shoulder some of that offensive load.
Not to mention that Robinson wasn't shy in stating that the Jamaican will "play a big part this year."
Although Mattocks has so far proven to be a streaky player, the third-year MLS player has also shown flashes of brilliance and speed since being drafted by the Whitecaps in 2012.
They'll need that again, on a consistent basis this time around.
"It's a really good opportunity but at the end of the day it's about me working hard and staying focused," Mattocks said. "I won't say it's too much pressure but with (Camilo) being here or not, we all have to work hard and try to help the team going forward."