Just when Vancouver Whitecaps fans were thinking that Tommy Soehn couldn’t do much more damage to our beloved team, he goes and releases fan favourite Wes Knight.
To be honest, we feared that Wes may be released at the end of the season, having fallen out of favour after Teitur Thordarson was sacked by the Club. The Caps previous D2 guys seem to be totally out of favour with Tommy Soehn, at the expense of his beloved draft choices.
When you fall behind someone like Bilal Duckett in the pecking order, and even end up playing a game for the Residency, then there isn’t a lot of hope for your future at the Club.
We had hoped though that Martin Rennie may take a look at Wes and see something that would keep him at the Club, but Soehn seems to have killed that stone dead, unless Wes finds himself with a move to the Railhawks and impresses the hell out of Rennie there in their push to the Championship.
It could happen with him being a Carolina boy.
The timing of the release of Knight just seems strange.
Wes’ classy and emotional interview on Whitecaps Daily this afternoon, on Team 1410, let us know that the release wasn’t at Wes’ request and the indication was that it wasn’t so he could move to another Club right away.
The release does not save money against the salary cap and we already had some free roster spots, so the timing completely baffles us. Why now?
We’re realistic enough to say that we don’t think that Wes was currently a MLS starter. He wasn’t the most talented defender/midfielder at the club, but his pace added width to the team and options that others don’t. He was certainly a valuable asset to have on the bench.
If that shoulder injury hadn’t taken away his famous long throws and the input that made to games, who knows how things may have worked out.
Wes Knight joined Vancouver Whitecaps in 2009 and made his debut for the team as a substitute during the 2-1 USL-1 away defeat to Puerto Rico Islanders on April 18.
A native of Easley in South Carolina, Wes played for the College of Charleston from 2004 to 2008, making a number of all-star teams and being invited to attend a MLS combine for stand out collegiate players.
He went on to make 58 appearances for the D2 Caps in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and his passion, commitment and warmth to the supporters, immediately installed him as a fan favourite.
To me, he epitomised the kind of player you want to be playing for your Club. He gave it his all in every match. He never shirked his responsibility to the jersey and as he said in his radio interview this afternoon, he bled blue and white. Us fans new that already though.
As a fan, you want players that do that in every game. You give that to us, we give you undying loyalty in return. Wes gave and he got that love in return.
He always had time to talk to the fans, pose for photos, sign autographs, and he always did it with a smile on his face. He was that rarity in the modern day football – a gentleman.
When his dad Barry came to watch one of the Caps games last season, you saw where Wes got it from. Barry came to the Southsiders tailgate and chewed the fat with the fans.
One moment this year summed Wes up completely.
After the Seattle reserve game at Swangard last month, when many players would just want to head to the dressing room, Wes found time to come and chat to the fans after the game, and in particular to an elderly wheelchair bound lady that had come to watch and cheer him on. He wanted to make sure she had had a good time and was ok out in the hot sun.
Caps fans were delighted when he made the cut and became the number 8 on the Whitecaps first MLS squad.
Coming on as sub in our first ever MLS match against Toronto, it meant as much as the fans to see him in the “big leagues” as it did to Wes.
Wes showed what a team player he was in that Toronto game, unselfishly setting up a goal for Eric Hassli on a plate, when he could have ran through and slotted home for his first ever senior goal.
Post game again showed Wes’ class and what made him a fan favourite, as he came over to celebrate the win with the Southsiders after the match:Sadly, that goal never came for Wes with Vancouver. He came so close four weeks later against Chivas and spoke to AFTN about it afterwards.
Wes played 12 games for the Caps in MLS, starting 10 of them and clocking up 805, with 5 shots and 1 assist.
Where the future will take Wes, we don’t know, but we wish all the very best.
We hope he goes on to bigger and better things and shows the Whitecaps what they’ve lost, and maybe one day we’ll see him back in a Whitecaps shirt, playing every minute with the passion and commitment of his first.
Good luck Wes. We’ve lost a great professional. We’ll miss you man.