Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the signing of free agent midfielder Ricardo Sánchez. The former Minnesota Thunder player has signed a one-year contract - plus an option - pending international clearance.
Sánchez, 27-years-old, joins the Whitecaps after spending the past two seasons with the Thunder. Last year, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound midfielder earned a spot in the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) All-League First Team after finishing fifth in the league scoring with 22 points. The set-piece specialist scored seven goals and shared the USL-1 lead in assists with eight, tying Whitecaps defender/midfielder Wes Knight. In 2008, Sánchez was named to the USL-1 All-League Second Team after scoring 10 goals and recording four assists in 28 regular season appearances for 2,161 minutes of action.
Prior to his move to Minnesota, the midfielder played the 2007 campaign with former USL-1 club California Victory. He had one goal and three assists in 25 league and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup appearances for the San Francisco-based outfit before the club folded at the end of the season.
In his three seasons in USL-1, Sánchez started all but one of his 80 total appearances for 6,368 minutes of action. He scored 17 goals and recorded 15 assists for 49 points during that time.
Before making the switch to North America, the native of Guadalajara, Mexico, started his career with Fútbol Club Atlas. He played with the Guadalajara-based outfit from 1995 to 2001 before having spells with Reboceros de la Piedad (2002), Club Celaya (2003), and Club Deportivo Irapuato (2004). The midfielder then joined Mexican giants Club Deportivo Guadalajara - better known as Chivas - for the 2004-05 season. In 2006, Sánchez split his time between Correcaminos UAT (Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas) and Club Tijuana.
A talented youngster, Sánchez represented Mexico at both the U-17 and U-20 international levels. In 1999, the midfielder was captain of the Mexican squad that appeared at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in New Zealand. He started all three matches in Group B versus Thailand, Ghana, and Spain before appearing in the 3-2 quarterfinal defeat to arch-rivals United States.
Meanwhile, Whitecaps men's team head coach Teitur Thordarson has offered trials to former Minnesota midfielder/striker Melvin Tarley and former Miami FC defender Zourab Tsiskaridze this week.
Whitecaps 2010 season tickets are now on sale. Season tickets include all men’s and women's team regular season and playoff home matches at Swangard Stadium, Nutrilite Canadian Championship home matches against Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, as well as priority listing for Vancouver MLS 2011 in BC Place. For more information on the 2010 season ticket packages, call 604.669.WAVE (9283) or click here.