VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC selected Brazilian striker Paulo Jr. with the 10th pick in Stage 2 of the 2012 Major League Soccer (MLS) Re-Entry Draft on Friday.
Whitecaps FC are now required to make a genuine offer to Paulo Jr. within the next seven days to secure his services for the 2013 season.
“He’s a player that I’ve watched for quite a few years,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “We’re interested to see if there’s something we can work out with him because we think that he’s a quick and dangerous player who can play wide or up front, but we would see him more potentially as a player that can play wide for us. So we’ve at least got the chance to negotiate with him and see where it goes.”
Paulo Jr., 23, appeared in 36 regular season MLS matches (including 17 starts) and three MLS Cup playoff games for Real Salt Lake from 2010 to 2012, picking up four goals and six assists.
In 2012 the native of Teresina, Brazil, scored two goals and registered two assists in 22 appearances (12 of them starts). He also featured in both Western Conference semifinal matches against Seattle Sounders FC.
Last season the 5-foot-7 striker also spent time at North American Soccer League (NASL) outfit Fort Lauderdale Strikers on a short-term loan from July 17 to August 3, where he recorded one goal and one assist in three starts.
After starting out at Flamengo do Piaui and Ituano at the youth level, the Brazilian made the step up to the professional ranks with Ituano in 2008 before signing with United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division club Miami FC (now known as Fort Lauderdale Strikers) in 2009, where he scored three goals and picked up three assists in 18 appearances.
In 2010, Paulo Jr. and Miami FC moved to the United States Soccer Federation Division-2 Pro League (USSF D-2). That season, the Brazilian started 18 of 22 matches and netted a team-high eight goals along with four assists. His efforts resulted in his inclusion in the USSF D-2 Pro League’s Best XI for the year.
On September 9, 2010, Paulo Jr. joined RSL on loan and scored three goals in six appearances during the MLS regular season, CONCACAF Champions League, and MLS Cup Playoffs.
His successful loan spell paved the way for a loan extension with the Utah-based organization before the club signed him outright in February 2012.