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Nguyen, Cannon both prepared for Whitecaps second season

TSN.ca Staff

2/10/2012 12:42:56 AM

The Vancouver Whitecaps enter their second season in Major League Soccer hoping to improve on the groundwork they laid in their debut campaign.

New head coach Martin Rennie is at the helm and will be installing a new system in the hopes of earning the second-year franchise its first playoff berth.

One of the players that will be at his disposal is former Indiana Hoosier Lee Nguyen, who was acquired by Vancouver through an MLS weighted lottery.

After one season in the NCAA, the 25-year-old attacking midfielder moved on to Holland's PSV Eindhoven and became the first American to play in the Vietnamese V-League.

Nguyen believes that his European experience will help him adjust to Rennie's style of formation.

"The system we play, I've played it at PSV so I'm used to it and I like it," said Nguyen.

While he enjoyed the notoriety of playing in Vietnam where he holds citizenship along with the United States, Nguyen is excited to be competing once again in North America.

"You get all of the hype that you don't usually get, they treat you like an A-lister," said Nguyen about his time in Vietnam. "It's fun and it's something that I cherished while I was there, now it's nice to be back and I'm trying to work hard and get ready for (the opening game on) March 10th."

While Nguyen will be getting used to his new team, veteran keeper Joe Cannon will be returning for his second season with the Whitecaps.

Cannon, who was selected by Vancouver in the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft, is happy to once again have a place on the roster.

"It's a little harder than it was when I was younger," said Cannon. "At the same time there is still a huge ego and pride factor that you're going to fight with age."

The 37-year-old goalkeeper started 20 games for the Whitecaps last year and will be pushing hard to remain the main man in net in Vancouver.

"Coming into camp relatively healthy they've asked me to do pretty much everything," said Cannon "There's nothing better and I can't think of anything I'd rather sacrifice for."

As for ending his career, that's something Cannon is happy to delay as long as possible.

"For the first time I was looking at the possibility that if I didn't get the job I don't know if I would retire but it would have been a step in that direction."