Whitecaps put 15-year-old Colyn in game, and he delivers
Residency player helps set up a goal in 4-0 win over Japanese side in Hawaii
It was rookie night in Hawaii and, as is tradition, all the Whitecaps newbies were forced to get up and sing a song.
Simon Colyn’s choice of Row, Row, Row Your Boat was a bit ironic, since it wouldn’t have been that long ago he would have sung it for fun. The residency team forward/ midfielder is all of 15 years old.
For context, starting striker Kei Kamara was already playing NCAA soccer with the Cal State Toros (Dominguez Hills) by the time Colyn arrived on this world. While Colyn was learning to run, Kendall Waston was already running with the big boys at Costa Rican club Saprissa.
But on Tuesday, the youngest player with the team held his own with his elder statesmen.
Coming on in the 78th minute in place of Myer Bevan in their preseason opener against J1 League side Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, the Langley native’s impact was immediately felt. He brought a youthful energy partnering up front with Bernie Ibini, and played a nice give-and-go with 17-year-old Alphonso Davies to set up Ibini for an injury-time goal in the 4-0 victory.
“I think he deserved his chance,” coach Carl Robinson said of Colyn, one of four residency players on the trip along with Jefferson Alade, Thomas Hasal and Jake Ruby.
“It was based on what he’s done around the place. Very respectful. But he’s desperate to play. And I want players who are desperate to play for this football club. I asked him if he wanted to play, and he said ‘Yes, please.’
“He brought a great energy to the game, he set up Bernie with the goal, and that’s what I want from my young players.”
Robinson fielded two different sides in each half of Tuesday’s game, part of the evaluation process that will continue when the Caps play their opening game of the inaugural Pacific Rim Cup today.
Vancouver takes on another Japanese side in Iwaki FC at 7 p.m. PT (streaming live on whitecapsfc.com) before facing either the Columbus Crew or Hokkaido in the championship or third-place match on Saturday.
While the future was on display Tuesday in Colyn, so were the past and present.
Centre back Tim Parker headed home two free-kick balls to show the Caps still haven’t forgotten their longtime set-piece scoring touch. And Kamara showed he’s still a scoring threat, finishing off a deft play with Brek Shea and nearly converting two other chances.
While Hokkaido plays in the top tier of Japanese soccer, Iwaki resides five levels below — though the team has partnered with Under Armour with a plan to rise to the J1 level within 10 years. Some more residency or fringe players might see action against the Fukushimabased side.
“I’ll be trying different combinations in pre-season,” he said. “I’ve got in my mind an idea of what I think I want, but that’s subject to change because it’ll depend on what the personnel do.
“We had a number of players that weren’t involved today. They didn’t play any minutes due to small injuries, so we’ll try to get them involved on Thursday as well. We’ve not touched on the tactical side of it yet. Just getting the feet underneath them.”
Very respectful. But he’s desperate to play. And I want players who are desperate to play for this football club.