Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce that defender/midfielder Ethan Gage has joined the U-23 side of German Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt on a two-week trial this week.
Gage, 18, will train with the Eintracht U-23 side for the remainder of the German summer transfer window, which comes to a close at the end of August.
"The opportunity for Ethan to have a trial with Eintracht Frankfurt arose pretty quickly," said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi. "Although we are in the latter stages of our season, we did not want to deny Ethan this chance. Once the trial has concluded, we will all be in a better place to assess the situation and make the best decision for everyone involved."
The native of Cochrane, Alberta, heads to Germany following a successful rise to the Whitecaps men's team from the club's Residency program. As one of the first players to join Whitecaps Residency for the program's inaugural year in July 2007, Gage's progress saw him make his men's team debut as a 17-year-old when he came on as a second-half substitute during a 2-0 defeat at Charleston Battery on August 3, 2008. He then went on to make 10 first-team appearances for 445 minutes of action last season, including four appearances in the Whitecaps successful playoff run to last season's United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) championship title.
This season, Gage has played a more prominent role in the men's team, having made 21 appearances - including 12 starts - in both USL-1 and the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship for 1,056 minutes of action. He scored his first-ever men's team goal on May 27, as his match-winning strike gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 home win over Montreal in the Canadian championship.
As a member of Whitecaps Residency, Gage made trips to Germany, Japan, and the United States between October 2007 and April 2009. This included two visits to the prestigious Dallas Cup, where the Residency team took part in the U-19 Super Group portion of the tournament. At Dallas Cup XXX this past April, Gage helped the Residency team to the U-19 Super Group final as their starting centre back. This included an appearance in the 2-0 semifinal win over Eintracht Frankfurt's U-19 Junior Bundesliga side on April 10.
Last March, Gage was one of seven Whitecaps players to be named in Canada's 20-player squad for the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. Gage was a second-half substitute in the 2-0 win over Mexico on March 9 before earning a start in the 2-1 defeat to Costa Rica on March 11.
Meanwhile, Whitecaps striker Dever Orgill will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his knee last week. The Jamaican youth international, who is also a product of the Residency program, made 12 appearances and scored two goals with the men's team for 304 minutes of action this season. The 19-year-old native of Port Antonio, Jamaica, made club history on May 16, as he became the first player from the Residency program to score a goal in a men's team match. Orgill scored a late goal during a 2-1 home defeat to Rochester Rhinos.
The Whitecaps next match is Thursday, August 20, against Charleston Battery at Blackbaud Stadium. Kick off is at 4:30 p.m. PDT and the match can be seen live and for free on USLlive.com. Vancouver returns to Swangard Stadium on Sunday, August 23, to battle Miami FC Blues. Tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at 604.280.4400 or by clicking here.