In what will likely be the least surprising moves made by the Vancouver Whitecaps this offseason, the club announced it wouldn’t be renewing deals for forward Etienne Barbara, midfielder Tiago Ulisses and third-string goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.
Barbara was the only of the three to step on the field for the first team in 2012, playing just 13 minutes over two substitute apperances.
The Malta international was part of the five-man ex-Carolina RailHawks crew that followed head coach Martin Rennie to Vancouver, but unlike Brad Knighton, Matt Watson and Jun Marques Davidson - who played significant roles for the side - he failed to make an impact. He joins Floyd Franks to be jettisoned without making much of a push for inclusion.
“He wasn’t able to be fully fit to get in the team,” head coach Martin Rennie told Goal.com during a phone interview on Thursday. “It was disappointing for him and for me, because he’s a player who could do well at this level. He just wasn’t able to get over an injury, which he now has got over, but it was difficult for us to take up his option after he missed most of the season.”
Ulisses is a Brazilian defensive midfielder brought in midseason. He was expected to add some steel in the middle of the park while providing a bit more of an offensive upside than that provided by Davidson. In the end, left fullback Alain Rochat won the starting place in front of the back four and Ulisses fell firmly out of contention for a spot in the matchday 18.
Sylvestre was with the club since February 2010 and was something of a long-term prospect, but Rennie said he didn’t feel the youngster was progressing at a pace rapid enough to compete for a first-team place any time soon.
“We just didn’t see him being at a point where he can challenge for playing time,” Rennie said. “We think at his age it would benefit him to be in a situation where he can be playing games in a competitive environment – maybe at a lower level – or maybe someone else in MLS will give him a chance.”
The trio will formally remain on the books until Dec. 2, when the Major League Soccer roster freeze is lifted.
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