While many fans have been buoyed by the Vancouver Whitecaps’ new signings this off-season, one particular name is coming back after many months of being out of action. And after going under the knife for a meniscus injury last July, many are hoping that he too will feel like a new signing as well once he’s back. Here is LWOS’ exclusive interview with Colombian winger Deiber Caicedo.
An Exclusive Conversation with Deiber Caicedo
His Road to Recovery
Before the game against New England at home back in late June, Deiber Caicedo seemed to have finally settled in Vancouver. Finishing his maiden season with the Whitecaps in 2021 with five goals and five assists, he had a decent start to 2022 with a goal and two assists in 12 games. Many were impressed with his agility, technical skill, and drive to take on his man. But all that came crashing down when he got a pretty nasty injury against the Revs; Caicedo’s first major injury was like that.
When questioned about the toll that took on his mentality, he responded that “an injury like that is always hard mentally, it sort of drains you. Especially since it was my first time getting surgery, at that moment, my morale went down a bit.” However, after the surgery, he was quick to get back to work on his road to recovery.
“With some time passed, and with hard work, you start to feel normal again. The knee begins to grow strong again, and you start to get that feeling to play soccer one more.”
Always humble, Deiber attributes much of his speedy recovery to his friends, his family, the Whitecaps staff, and of course, God.
“Truthfully, I have to thank all those that are around me, like God, who has been there through all my tough times, especially my family. They are the ones who have animated me and improved my mentality [throughout this process].”
Just interrupting your Sunday for this view of Déiber Caicedo’s stunning free kick last night
— Sebastian Pereira (@sebpereira_) June 19, 2022
Working to Get Back to His Best
Many Whitecaps fans were disappointed with Caicedo’s injury, as it came right when he seemed to be getting into his rhythm, but Deiber has been working to try to rekindle that form ever since he got off the surgeon’s table.
“My mind is always on the pitch, it’s always on giving my best. I hope to get back [to my old form], but for that, I need to be healthy. The hardest part has passed, now we have to improve the physical aspect, gain back some confidence, and get back on track.”
When asked about how what he hopes for this season, he passionately replied that “I want to help the team and improve my own ability, so that I can show why they brought me here. I hope this is the season to give back all the trust that the club, the staff, and the fans have given me [throughout my time here].”
Even in his time off, his mind was always on how he can come back better and stronger: “I’ve been focused mostly on my recovery [during this period]. I have been doing two physio sessions a day, so it’s been tough. But I am just hoping to learn how to give more to the team in footballing terms this season.”
Little by little, he’s making his way back
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) January 14, 2023
Caicedo on Adjusting to Vancouver and Learning English
2023 will now be Deiber’s third season at the Whitecaps, and having just come from practicing with mountains of snow around him, he reckons he has adjusted well to life in Vancouver. “Honestly, I have gotten more used to [the weather]. I have learned a lot about Vancouver, and I really like the culture, the climate, and the people.”
When asked about what he did during his time off the pitch, he mentions how he has gotten the opportunity to learn more about the city, and the language, and become more familiar with his surroundings. “This break has helped me a lot in my English, I studied a lot, and I communicated a lot. I got to explore the city a lot more, and go places I hadn’t gone before because I have been so focused on my game.”
“But it has helped me a lot to be able to do these things during this time because, with an injury like this, you can have a lot of negative thoughts. So it was good to distract me by going out with friends, and getting away from the monotony of being injured.”
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) February 22, 2023
Hopes of Getting Back on the Pitch
With the season now fully underway, many fans have been wondering when they will get to see Caicedo back on the pitch, but he is just focused on the day-to-day and showing his coaches that he is ready whenever.
“I had my first training session with the team [yesterday], and I felt really good. I am confident about my progress, but it doesn’t depend on me. It depends on the coaches, and what they want to do with me.”
“But the day I feel good, I will show it on the pitch rather than speak about it because I have always been more about actions than words. In the end, it is all up to the coach.”
Fans will likely have to wait until after the trip to Los Angeles in mid-March at the very least before we get any word on when Deiber Caicedo will play once more, according to the club.
Caicedo is back to full team training
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) March 1, 2023
New Signings, New Opportunites
The Whitecaps will play in a record four competitions this, with MLS, Concacaf Champions League, the new Leagues Cup, and of course, the Canadian Championship where the ‘Caps are the defending champions. When asked about the squad ahead of the competitions, Deiber believed the team is in a very good place. “We have a really good squad. I think we can compete in all of the competitions that we are currently in. I think we have built a strong team with some very good players.”
New additions to the squad include fellow Latinos Sergio Cordova and Mathias Laborda, players who Deiber believes can be great assets to the team. “Córdova is a very good player, I think he can bring a lot to this team. The leadership of Mathi [Laborda] is also really useful, so I think that they are great additions, and I hope they can gel well with the team and give us their best.”
And while it might still be some time before we see Deiber get back onto the pitch, it will be good to know that the Whitecaps will have plenty of options once he does. And perhaps, once he is back, he can show once more why so many fans were excited for the young Colombian back in 2021.
You can catch the Whitecaps’ next game on the road to San Jose exclusively on MLS Season Pass on AppleTV+. The game kicks off at 7:30 pm PST/10:30 pm EST on Saturday, March 4th.
Photo Credit: Michael Thomas Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports of Deiber Caicedo’s Headshot on June 14, 2022.
The post Exclusive Interview with Deiber Caicedo – His Recovery Journey appeared first on Last Word On Soccer.