Marlon James heading north - Antigua Sun

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (CMC) – St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) striker Marlon James has signed a two-year contract with North American Club Vancouver Whitecaps FC, pending international clearance. James, who confirmed to CMC Sports on Wednesday that he has agreed to a two-year deal, will join the club when the international transfer window opens on 15 Jan. He was seen by the club’s scouts back in June when SVG faced Canada over two legs in the CONCACAF Zone 2010 World Cup Preliminaries. James, 32, said he was looking forward to playing in North America after two very successful seasons with Kedah FA of the Malaysia Super League. “This will be a change of culture and a whole new set-up so I will have to make the adjustment and try to contribute to the team’s plans and programmes,” James said. “They are the defending champions and they have signed me as a striker so I am expected to get goals and this may mean a bit of pressure. "But I am confident in my ability to perform,” said James, who will join international teammate Wesley Charles in the Vancouver set-up. The Whitecaps beat Puerto Rico Islanders 2-1 in October to take the USL Division one title at Swangard Stadium. James said that at the end of the two years, he has an option to re-sign and the club will also assist him with some aspects of beginning a coaching career. James disclosed that he also had an offer from MLS Club San Jose Earthquakes but chose to go with the Whitecaps. “I am impressed with the Whitecaps’ Youth development programme and its interest in Caribbean footballers, so that was the reason why I decided to sign on with them,” he said. James, a powerful striker who hails from the Grenadine Island of Bequia – the largest of the islands’ dependencies – was a sprinter in his early days. It is his pace that served him in good stead over the years at both the club and international levels. In his two seasons with Kedah FA, James helped them to the Malaysia Super League, Malaysia Cup and Malaysia FA Cup. For his efforts, James was named the Most Valuable Foreign Player and received the Golden Boot Award in the Super League this past season after scoring 23 goals in the club’s 24 matches. The quicksilver striker also tallied 14 goals in 14 matches in the Malaysia Cup and 10 goals in nine matches in the Malaysia FA Cup. During the 2006-07 season, James scored 29 goals in all competitions. James will join the Whitecaps for pre-season training in mid-January before suiting up for the start of the 2009 season in March.