Martin Nash today announced his retirement from competitive soccer as a player, while also announcing he has accepted an offer to take on a new role with Vancouver Whitecaps FC as a member of the coaching staff.
“I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished over my career as a player at both club and international level, and am pleased to be able to finish this chapter of my career at home, with the club where it began,” stated Nash. “I’d like to thank the fans, the clubs, my teammates, my coaches, and my wife and children who have given up a lot for my career – it’s been an incredible time. This was a tough decision, and while I know I’m going to miss playing, I’m looking forward to contributing to the success of Whitecaps FC in a new way. I’m hopeful I can help the club carry forward the tradition of success and excellence we’ve become known for.”
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and raised in Victoria, BC, Nash enjoyed an illustrious professional playing career that spanned more than 16 years in Canada, England, and the United States. This included an impressive 2010 campaign, in which Nash was named to the USSF D-2 Pro League Best XI. He also claimed the Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot Award after leading Whitecaps FC with five goals and eight assists this past season.
“Martin has been a part of some of the truly great moments with this club,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “He’s been an exceptional leader and role model within our club and community, and we’re delighted he’ll be with us as we enter Major League Soccer in 2011. Martin was also a great player, who had a fine ability of scoring some spectacular goals, especially from long range. He also showed great vision and ability with his passing and distribution from central midfield. These abilities are the hallmarks of a top playmaker.”
In his new role, Nash will primarily take on responsibilities with the club’s Residency program as an on-field coach, player mentor, and talent scout. Nash will also assist the first team in scouting and will continue to play an active role in community events.
“As a player, Martin was known for his intelligence and his ability to analyze and see the game unfold – attributes which will be incredibly useful as a coach,” added Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson. “His fiercely competitive nature, tempered by his respectful approach, is one we feel embodies our philosophy as a club, and will be a great asset in working with our Residency players. Having a successful development system is critical to our club’s success, and we know he’ll bring the same level of dedication to his new role as a part of our coaching staff, as he brought to the pitch.”
A standout with Lower Vancouver Island Metro Selects, Nash began his professional career with Whitecaps FC (then known as Vancouver 86ers) at the age of 19 in 1995.
In the following years, Nash enjoyed success playing with clubs in both England and North America, including back-to-back United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) championship titles with Rochester Rhinos in 2000 and 2001.
In 2004, Nash returned to Vancouver for his third and final stint with Whitecaps FC. It was during this time that the midfielder helped the club win two league titles in 2006 and 2008. In 2009, Nash was named the club’s 19th captain and led them to another appearance in the USL-1 championship final. This past season, Nash played 36 matches – including 33 starts – for 2,957 minutes of action.
In total, Nash played 10 seasons with Whitecaps FC and finished as the club’s seventh all-time leader in points with 110. This includes 31 goals (15th all-time) and 48 assists (third all-time). Nash also finished sixth all-time in appearances with 285 and fifth all-time in minutes played with 22,942. Including his time outside of Vancouver, Nash scored 45 goals and recorded 74 assists in 421 total appearances.
Throughout his club career, Nash received a number of individual awards. He was named to the USL-1 All-League First Team with Whitecaps FC in 1996, 2007, and 2008, while he earned USL-1 All-League Second Team honours with Rochester in 2000 and Vancouver in 2009. He was also named Whitecaps FC Most Valuable Player and Fan Favourite in 2007.
A Canadian international, Nash appeared for his country at the U-20, U-23 Olympic, and and senior level. He made his senior international debut in a FIFA World Cup qualifier versus El Salvador at Swangard Stadium on April 6, 1997, and went on to earn 38 caps and score two goals for Canada, with his last international appearance coming in 2008. In 2000, Nash helped Canada win the CONCACAF Gold Cup title in the United States.