Club: Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Height: 5’ 8”
Weight: 150 lbs.
Birth Date: December 22, 1992
Born: Niagara Falls, ON
Acquired: March 17, 2011
Accolades: Canadian U-17 Player of the Year – 2008 & 2009
Darpan Magazine visited the Vancouver Whitecaps practice at the University of British Columbia, an institution of higher learning and training ground for skilled soccer, one monsoon-like afternoon. We watched the Caps train diligently in some quite unfavorable weather. As the practice came to a close, the sun made its highly anticipated appearance and then it was time for us to talk soccer one-on-one with Whitecaps’ young gun Russell Teibert.
Teibert is a 21-year-old, Niagara Falls native who was previously named Canadian U-17 Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009, and is the 10th youngest player to appear in a competitive match for the Whitecaps FC. As a youngster, I wanted to know what players he had idolized, “Growing up it was hard not to watch both Ronaldo’s actually, the Brazilian Ronaldo and a little bit later on Cristiano Ronaldo, but I’d say right now, a player I like to watch is Bastian Schweinsteiger and I would like to see Bayern Munich FC do something.”
2013 was a breakout season for Teibert, as he started 19 games out of 24, scored two goals and recorded a team high of nine assists, tying the club record in MLS play. Teibert also represented Canada last year at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and is poised to be a consistent talent for our national team. Under the direction of newly appointed skipper Carl Valentine, we asked Teibert his thoughts on the new coach. “He is a great manager, he treats every player the same. He has a lot of belief in his players, a lot of confidence in his players and he will back you up no matter what.”
We were curious about Teibert’s philosophy and training regiment for this current season and he said, “I think it’s always about trying to improve each day, doing things different, trying to critique your game and making it better. With the coaching staff and the players that we have in the locker room, they all help with that and getting better each day is my attitude this year.”
With a new manager comes new philosophies, strategies and formations, Teibert has been utilized as one of the two deeper playing, central midfielders within the team’s 4-2-3-1 formation. The hope is that Teibert can use his exceptional speed and bottomless stamina to not only cover more ground, but to also be an unpredictable element that will breakdown the opposition and manifest chances for the Caps. Teibert covers an enormous amount of field every game, he never seems to stop running, and his cardiovascular capabilities are impeccable. His versatile style plays well with both Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker, and with three such dynamic midfielders, they are truly a triple-threat.
With the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup approaching, we were interested in getting some picks and predictions from this dynamic-attacking midfielder, “I’d like to see Germany do well and if I go with my background, I’d like to see Italy do well too.”
Teibert’s prediction is that Germany will win the World Cup this year and he looks forward to soccer’s greatest tournament this June.
Besides soccer, we chatted with Teibert about his other interests or passions. “In the summer when it’s nice in Vancouver, it’s hard not to go to the beach and if I can get to the beach I like to do a little paddle boarding. Vancouver is an awesome place to live and there is so much you can do whether it’s being outdoors, hiking, there is just so much to do. So I wouldn’t say I have one hobby because I’m still finding out about Vancouver; there is endless possibilities, endless things you can do here and I’m just trying to discover them.”
In terms of Vancouver’s nightlife, Teibert shared some of his favourite hot spots in the city. “The main spot for most of the boys and myself is West Oak [Restaurant] and Pierre’s [Champagne Lounge], great food at the front of the restaurant and it’s decent at the back later at night.”
One thing that fans may not know about Teibert is that he played AAA minor hockey for the Niagara Falls Thunders between 1998 and 2006.
Back to football with our final question for Teibert about his expectations for this season, “It’s about making the playoffs and that’s how you determine a good season in the MLS, if you make the playoffs and if you go deep into the playoffs. I think that we’re on the right path now, we’re doing the simple things right, we’re sticking to our game plan and we’re really building our philosophy with Carl. I think we’ll do well, I can’t say that we will make the playoffs, but I think that’s definitely a reachable goal for us this year.”