Whitecaps FC add experienced centre back Andy O’Brien

O'Brien played over 300 matches in the EPL

VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the acquisition of centre back Andy O’Brien from English League Championship side Leeds United AFC - pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and Visa. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Whitecaps FC defender Andy O’Brien
- Over 300 appearances in the English Premier League and nearly 500 appearances in professional soccer in England
- Played in the UEFA Champions League with Newcastle United FC
- Member of the Republic of Ireland squad at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan
- Made 26 international appearances for the Republic of Ireland (2001 to 2006)

“Andy is an experienced centre half, who is good in the air and comfortable on the ball,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “He has spent several years in the English Premier League and with some of England’s best-known clubs. Andy also had the privilege of being at a World Cup. We’re delighted to add a defender of Andy’s experience to our squad.”

O’Brien, 33, comes to Whitecaps FC after spending a decade-and-a-half playing in England. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound centre back spent the last two seasons with Leeds United AFC, where he scored two goals in 38 appearances for the West Yorkshire outfit.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity given to me by Vancouver Whitecaps FC,” said O’Brien. “I appreciate the hard work that’s been put in by Vancouver, given the short period of time there was to get this deal done. I’ve had the opportunity to look around the city, which is fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to contributing on and off the pitch.”

A Leeds United youth trainee, O’Brien began his professional career with West Yorkshire rivals Bradford City AFC in 1996. He helped The Bantams earn promotion to the English Premier League following the 1998-99 season. The centre back then moved to Newcastle United FC for the start of the 2001-02 season. During his four seasons with The Magpies, O’Brien made 14 appearances in European soccer’s prestigious UEFA Champions League. While in England’s top flight, O’Brien made over 300 appearances with Bradford City AFC, Newcastle United FC, Portsmouth FC, and Bolton Wanderers FC. In total, O’Brien has made 486 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals.

A native of Harrogate, England, O’Brien has dual British-Irish citizenship. As a result, the defender opted to represent the Republic of Ireland at the international level, where he made 26 appearances from 2001 to 2006. This included being a member of the Ireland squad that appeared at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan. His only international goal was a match winner, as Republic of Ireland defeated Portugal 1-0 in a friendly on February 9, 2005.

Andy O’Brien
Position: Defender
Height: 6-03
Weight: 175
Born: June 29, 1979, in Harrogate, England
Hometown: Harrogate, England
Citizenship: England / Ireland
Status: International
Last Club: Leeds United AFC (English League Championship)
How Acquired: Acquired from Leeds United AFC on August 1, 2012

Whitecaps FC (MLS RS 9W-7L-7D) are back on Bell Pitch at BC Place on Saturday, August 11, when they host Real Salt Lake (MLS RS 13W-7L-3D) in an important Western Conference match - TV: Sportsnet Pacific, RADIO: TEAM 1410 - teamradio.ca, MOBILE: bell.ca/mobiletv. For information on match tickets, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets or call 604.669.9283.