Controversial former Canadian youth international Jacob Lensky is on trial with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The 23-year-old has retired twice due to personal problems.
VANCOUVER – “Unfinished business? No. Pretty much a new beginning, I’d say.”
Those were Jacob Lensky’s words after a Vancouver Whitecaps training session at B.C. Place on Thursday. The 23-year-old former Canadian youth international was a surprise trialist after apparently retiring from professional soccer for a second time around the turn of the New Year, leaving Dutch club FC Utrecht.
The Vancouver native has battled alcoholism, depression and general disillusionment with the game according to media reports from Europe, but now he’s trying to turn a new page with the Whitecaps.
“It feels nice to kick the ball again,” Lensky told Goal.com after training. “But it’s hard on the lungs!”
Lensky said he hasn’t trained apart from one session with a friend’s team since leaving Utrecht, and is now focused on staying in Vancouver for the long term, if everything goes to plan. The midfielder, who can also play as a fullback, went on trial with the division two Whitecaps in 2009 after his first “retirement” before heading back to the Netherlands to play for Utrecht.
Head coach Martin Rennie said he doesn’t consider Lensky a risk, despite his well-documented problems away from the pitch.
“Someone asked me if he could come in and train,” Rennie said. “I’m happy to let him come in and train and see how he does. He’s obviously got good technique. He’s a solid player who has played at a high level in the top league in Holland with Utrecht, and he hasn’t trained in a while.
“Whenever guys come back to training after being out for a while you give them time to adjust, and he seems like he’ll be a good player.”
Lensky has plied his trade in Belgium, the Czech Republic, England and Scotland, but made his professional breakthrough with Dutch clubs Feyenoord and FC Utrecht.
Internationally, he represented Canada as high as the U-23 level, before opting to play for the Czech Republic, the nation of his father’s birth, at U-21 level.
A team spokesman told Goal.com that Lensky could play a part in Sunday's Reserve League match against the Portland Timbers at Swangard Stadium.