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Vancouver Whitecaps begin offseason rebuild by cutting several players and re-signing Nerwinski, Ricketts and Reyna

“Our roster will continue to evolve,” says coach Marc Dos Santos.

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps announced Thursday that the club had exercised the 2020 contract options on Jake Nerwinski, Yordy Reyna, and Tosaint Ricketts. 

“Over the last 11 months, we have established a core group of players,” Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said on Wednesday. “We are continuing talks with a select number of players who are on options, and our roster will continue to evolve.”

From the outside, Ricketts‘ contract renewal might be the biggest surprise. The striker was picked up midseason from Lithuanian Lyga A side Saduva FK and was at first thought to be a short-term solution only. 

The striker, however, has made eight starts, relegating Fredy Montero to the bench. Vancouver’s coaching staff have also been impressed by his off-the-field contributions, and at a low cap hit of just $70,000 is a sensible pickup for the 2020 season. 

Something similar can be said for Nerwinski. The right back is on the books for just $125,000, and in addition to being a low cap-hit player could also be an essential asset going into 2020 in terms of bringing in other assets. 

Ricketts and Nerwinski are, therefore, a surprise at first glance only. Reyna’s contract renewal, however, is no surprise even if there have been speculations that the Peruvian national team player could leave the club. 

Reyna was at times Vancouver’s best player this past season, and the Whitecaps were never going to let him walk on a free transfer. Furthermore, Reyna has never made any indications of wanting to leave the club this fall.

That said, Dos Santos recently spoke about the fluidity of the transfer market, and while Reyna is under contract next year, that does not mean that he is guaranteed to be in Vancouver next season. 

The club also bid farewell to several squad players.

Goalkeeper Sean Melvin, defenders Brendan McDonough, and Scott Sutter and fullback Brett Levis will not be offered a new contract. Meanwhile, on-loan winger Lass Bangoura will return to Spanish club Rayo Vallecano, forward Joaquin Ardaiz will return to Swiss side FC Chiasso, and Chilean side CD Huachipato has exercised their option to acquire on-loan forward Anthony Blondell.

“There are a lot of factors to consider when making roster decisions, and it is never simple or easy,” Dos Santos said. “We are truly thankful to each of the players who are moving on and wish them all the very best.”

The club has options to renew Doneil Henry and winger PC. But Pro Soccer USA was told that the club is currently in discussion with both players leaving a question mark on the future of both players. 

The Whitecaps are also in discussions with the parent clubs of Michaell Chirinos, on loan from Honduran side Olimpia, and Érik Godoy, on loan from Argentinian side CA Colón. 

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