The Vancouver Whitecaps told starting goalkeeper David Ousted halfway through the 2017 MLS regular season they would not be picking up the final option year on his contract. If they made him any kind of offer, it appears to have come with an asterisk.
That was one of the revelations that emerged from the Whitecaps’ locker-room clean out day on Tuesday.
“I had to take a pay cut to stay here,” Ousted told reporters.
“I didn’t think that was fair with the way I performed, so obviously, we had to part ways. The manager and the club told me in June they were not going to pick up my option.”
Ousted said he was disappointed but proud of his performance and grateful for the fans who embraced him and made his family feel welcome in Vancouver. He pointed to his sons, his “two little Canadians,” whom he’d bring back to Vancouver to visit their birthplace.
Ousted could not say if he plans to stay in MLS or return to Europe to play.
“It’s the business part of this game and it’s disappointing but I’ve had four and a half great years here,” said Ousted, who waited for the season to end before telling his Vancouver teammates he would not be returning.
“I was 100 per cent committed to performing. I wanted nothing more than to finish on a high. I never had in my mind that I was leaving. I wanted to finish off properly and I think I did so.”
After joining the club in 2013, Ousted was Vancouver’s starter for the next four seasons until the tail end of 2017 as the squad topped the Western Conference and pushed for a deep run in the playoffs, which did not materialize. His absence from net was noted.
He started in 28 of 34 regular season games for Vancouver and recorded six shutouts, but was phased out down the stretch and did not appear in any playoff matches. Instead, newcomer Stefan Marinovic got the nod.
“Stefan has been great. Stefan has done exactly what he needed to do. He came I positive, he came in to work,” Ousted said. “Me and Stefan, we have no problem. I have been impressed with the way he’s come in and the guy he is, and I think the Whitecaps are in good hands.”
Vancouver had the ninth-highest payroll in MLS this season at $8.07 million US.
Ousted’s comments about his future came after club president Bob Lenarduzzi defended the Whitecaps’ spending philosophies and faced no questions specifically about the goalkeeper.
With files from Jesse McGowan.