'Caps sign St. Vincent International

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce the signing of defender Wesley Charles. Charles has agreed to a one-year contract plus an option. Charles, a native of Brighton, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, joins the Whitecaps after recently being released by Galway United FC of the League of Ireland Premier Division. The six-foot-three, 224-pound defender started 13 league games and made two appearances in the League of Ireland Cup this season for Galway. Charles, 32, began his professional career in 1998 in Ireland’s top flight with Sligo Rovers. Playing two seasons with the Rovers, Charles appeared in 61 matches and scored two goals. Charles then moved to rivals Bray Wanderers in 2001, where he played 102 games over a span of five seasons. He was also voted Player of the Year for the Wanderers in 2003. In 2005, Charles signed with Russian club FC Rostov, where he spent one season in the Russian First League before returning to League of Ireland Premier Division to re-join Bray. Charles appeared in 11 matches for the Wanderers in the 2006 season before signing with Galway in July 2006. Galway appointed Charles club captain for the 2007 season, where he scored four goals in 57 league matches, four league cup games and two Football Association of Ireland Challenge Cup matches since joining the club in 2006. Internationally, Charles has been capped for his native country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines 93 times and scored four goals with the senior side. He began his international career in 1991 with St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ U-16 squad, and strangely enough not as a defender, but as a goalkeeper. He earned several shutouts for the U-16 national team, but soon after, he made the move to defender and earned his first senior national team cap in 1996. The defender’s most recent national team appearances came last month in the qualifying stages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa against Canada. Canada beat St. Vincent and the Grenadines 3-0 on June 15 in Kingstown, Saint Vincent, and won again 4-1 on June 20 in Montreal. Charles was the starting centre back for both matches against Canada. The Whitecaps final doubleheader of the season is this Sunday, July 13. The action starts at 4:00 p.m. with the women facing Fort Collins, while the men take on Carolina at 7:00 p.m. Tickets start at $18, or purchase a Wendy’s Family Pack - four tickets and two Wendy’s Kids Meals for $48. Call 604.280.4400 or visit ticketmaster.ca to purchase.