Whitecaps FC sign Khalfan and Koffie

'Caps add two young Africans

Nizar Khalfan (Scott P. Price / Grande Sports World)

Photo Credit: 
Scott P. Price / Grande Sports World

VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the signing of midfielders Nizar Khalfan and Gershon Koffie to the club’s Major League Soccer roster. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. Khalfan and Koffie will account for the first two international roster spots to be used by the club, though Khalfan has signed as homegrown player, which means his contract will not count against the team's salary cap.

“Nizar and Gershon are fantastic young talents that continue to develop,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson. “Nizar is a dynamic player with great energy. He has all the tools. He is fast, technical, hard working, has a good shot, and a great attitude.”

Khalfan, 22, joins the Whitecaps FC MLS roster after one-and-a-half years with the club at the North American second division level. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound midfielder/striker originally signed with Vancouver in August 2009 after being discovered by Thordarson during the club’s 2009 preseason training camp in East Africa as a member of the Tanzanian national team. Last season, Khalfan started 12 of his 18 appearances for 1,152 minutes of action, scoring two goals and recording two assists in the process. Since joining Whitecaps FC on a transfer from Tanzanian Premier League club Moro United, Khalfan has started 21 of 32 total appearances for 1,881 minutes of action.

“Everyone has dreams and I think my dreams are coming true,” said Khalfan. “I am very proud of my country and honoured to be the first player from East Africa to play in MLS. I am very happy to be with Vancouver.”

The native of Mtwara, Tanzania, has become a regular on the Tanzanian national team since making his debut in 2006. Most recently, the young East African represented Tanzania in their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match versus Morocco on October 9, 2010.

“Gershon is a fantastic ball winner,” added Thordarson. “It is very difficult to get by him, and at the same time, he reads the game well. He is physical, but disciplined in his role.”

Koffie, 19, joined Whitecaps FC in September 2010 after being discovered on a scouting trip by the club's director of soccer operations Tom Soehn last summer. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 155-pound central midfielder started five of six matches for 468 minutes of action, scoring one goal in the process.

“The club has been very good to me and I am looking forward to MLS,” said Koffie. “Last year, I had the opportunity to learn about the club and I am very excited to play for the city and the fans.”

Prior to joining Whitecaps FC, the native of Koforidua, Ghana, was a member of the reserve side of International Allies FC, who play in Ghana's third-tier Division Two League. Last July, Koffie participated in a training camp with Ghana's U-20 national team.

Nizar Khalfan
Position: Midfielder/Striker
Height: 5-08
Weight: 150
Born: June 21, 1988, in Mtwara, Tanzania
Hometown: Mtwara, Tanzania
Last Club: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (USSF D-2 Pro League)
Citizenship: Tanzania
How Acquired: Signed to a MLS contract by Whitecaps FC on February 9, 2011

Gershon Koffie
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-11
Weight: 155
Born: August 25, 1991, in Koforidua, Ghana
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Last Club: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (USSF D-2 Pro League)
Citizenship: Ghana
How Acquired: Signed to a MLS contract by Whitecaps FC on February 9, 2011

Whitecaps FC Major League Soccer 2011 season tickets start at a base price of $319, plus applicable tax and a $10 processing fee per order, and more than 60 per cent of seats are available for less than $31 per game. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, suites, and loge boxes, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

About Vancouver Whitecaps FC
In 1974, Vancouver Whitecaps FC played their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League, and in 1979, the club won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship. From 1987 to 1992, as a member of the Canadian Soccer League, Vancouver won four straight CSL titles. In 2002, Whitecaps FC created a full club model that encompasses professional teams for men and women, extensive youth development and grassroots participation programs, facility development, and the Whitecaps Foundation to support specific initiatives related to health and wellness through soccer. Since 2004, Whitecaps FC have won two United Soccer Leagues First Division championships and two USL W-League championships. This year, Whitecaps FC will begin their inaugural season in Major League Soccer at Empire Field before moving into the new BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver. For additional information on Vancouver Whitecaps FC, visit whitecapsfc.com.