VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Whitecaps traded Atiba Harris to the Colorado Rapids on Monday in exchange for an international roster spot.
The international roster spot is effective from January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2017.
Harris played just 12 matches in an injury-plagued two years with the club, undergoing three knee surgeries along the way, and by the time he was fit was a sort of forgotten man under head coach Martin Rennie.
“He’s a quality guy and a good team guy,” club president Bob Lenarduzzi told Goal.com in reference to Harris. “Never really caused any problems in spite of the fact it must have been very frustrating for him.”
In addition, the club exercised options on goalkeeper Brad Knighton, defenders Jordan Harvey, Greg Klazura, Lee Young-Pyo and Carlyle Mitchell, as well as midfielders Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson and Matt Watson.
“We feel like we’ve got a pretty good core and we want to maintain that core,” Lenarduzzi said. “Then, we’ll look to make the necessary changes in terms of the kind of players we think can add to the core and contend for playoffs next year – and when we get to the playoffs, give us the opportunity of a good run.”
Lee is currently considering whether or not to retire, so the club’s decision to exercise his option is just in case he elects to carry on his career.
“If he doesn’t come back, then we move on at that point,” Lenarduzzi said. “But certainly we didn’t want him being picked up by someone else.”
The club elected not to exercise options on midfielders John Thorrington and Michael Nanchoff, although one or both could stay at the club if they are willing to take a pay cut.
If Vancouver doesn’t agree a deal with Thorrington before Friday, he could be claimed by another team through the re-entry draft under the terms of his existing contract. The Whitecaps have the right of first refusal should another team attempt to sign Nanchoff at some point.
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