Koffie signing a big statement
By Jonathan Szekeres
In case you've gone blind and deaf for today, I'll briefly fill you in. The Vancouver Whitecaps had the pleasure of making two big announcements today; Firstly, that they had agreed to a contract extension with star mid Gershon Koffie and secondly, and most importantly, that Koffie had obtained his permanent residency card, meaning that he apparently kind of likes it here.
Of course, moments after the news was announced with Koffie grinning from ear to ear, scribes everywhere (myself included) marvelled at what that gesture meant to the club, to Vancouver and, arguably, to Canada. Firstly, think about what this says about Koffie's love for Van city. He's only been here three years and when he left his native Ghana, he was already 18 years old. It's not like he's a grizzled veteran that has been here so long he considers it home, no, Koffie has apparently embraced what he has seen in just three short years, leading to his remarkable decision.
Hell, maybe Mayor Gregor Robertson should make mention of this in his re-election campaign.
Secondly, it means that Gershon Koffie is truly committed to the Whitecaps, for, well, longer than we thought, anyways.
That's the bittersweet thing about MLS; you get to watch great football at a lower cost, but your best players will eventually get snapped up by European clubs. With Koffie playing so well at such a young age, many believed it wouldn't be long before he set sail for greener pastures. By signing a contract extension (terms not disclosed, but it's believed to be double the $92,500 he made this year, according to the Vancouver Sun) and getting his card, he's showing his loyalty to a club that gets a core player for a few more years than once thought.
Now Whitecaps faithful get to watch this young talent mature and develop in his playing career before waving bye bye.
Lastly, how about the ramifications for Canada? Tyler Green from the TEAM 1040 tweeted that Koffie would be eligible to play for Team Canada, assuming he gets his full Canadian citizenship and passport. Let's be honest here, the talent pool for Canadian soccer is a shallow one at that; if Koffie does eventually get to that level, and he has said he would be glad to, then he automatically becomes one of the best players on the squad.
Furthermore, how nice is it to see a good football player actually want to wear the maple leaf? That's been like pulling teeth in the past, but Koffie is different.
The Whitecaps have treated Koffie well; they've rewarded his good play with ample playing time, they've given him a terrific pitch to play in, and now, they have paid him well. He might not be here for his entire career, but for now, the sound of pen to paper has spoken volumes about the character of Gershon Koffie.