VANCOUVER, BC – With on-field training set to begin on Monday, Vancouver Whitecaps FC released their preliminary 2014 preseason roster on Friday and there were some interesting names on the list.
The roster, which is subject to change as the club continues to build their squad for the upcoming season, includes some familiar faces as well as some new ones.
WHITECAPS FC 2014 PRESEASON ROSTER
- 35 players
- 3 goalkeepers, 10 defenders, 14 midfielders, 8 strikers
- 11 Canadians
- 13 different birth countries represented
In addition to the club’s 22 contracted players, the roster revealed a number Residency players, recent draft picks, Whitecaps FC U-23 players and trialists who will be vying for a first-team contract in the weeks leading up to MLS First Kick on March 8.
Here’s some background information on each of them.
WHITECAPS FC RESIDENCY
Marco Bustos (midfielder): A 17-year-old midfielder from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bustos has been a standout with the Whitecaps FC Residency squad over the past two-and-a-half seasons. Bustos, who appeared for Canada at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scored 14 goals for the ‘Caps U-18s last season and has scored six goals in nine matches so far this year.
Marco Carducci (goalkeeper): The 17-year-old goalkeeper is vying for a first-team contract after impressing with the Whitecaps FC Residency program and Canadian youth national teams. Carducci, a two-time Canadian U-17 Player of the Year, started 19 of 21 appearances with the Whitecaps FC U-16 side last season and has posted clean sheet in each of his two league appearances with the U-18s this season.
Jackson Farmer (centre back): Farmer, 18, joined Whitecaps FC in September 2011 after a successful youth career in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. The dependable centre back, who wears the captain’s armband for Whitecaps FC’s U-18 squad, earned his first cap with the Canadian senior men’s national team in September 2013.
Kianz Froese (midfielder): The 17-year-old attacking midfielder is off to a hot start with Whitecaps FC’s U-18 side this season, having posted a team-high six goals in nine appearances. Froese, who represented Canada at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, scored a goal for the Canadian senior men’s national team in a recent exhibition match against the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
WHITECAPS FC U-23
Ben Fisk (midfielder): A 19-year-old native of Vancouver, B.C., Fisk joined Whitecaps FC Residency in September 2011 after graduating from the club’s prospects program. Fisk, who recently earned his first call-up to the Canadian senior men’s national team, spent last season on loan with USL PRO club Charleston Battery, where he scored two goals and added three assists in nine appearances.
Ethen Sampson (right back): As a member of Whitecaps FC’s U-23 squad, the 20-year-old right back has been training with the ‘Caps first team since February 2013. Sampson joined Whitecaps FC after spending three seasons with South African club ASD Cape Town.
Marlon Ramirez (midfielder): The 19-year-old Honduran midfielder joined Whitecaps FC’s U-23 side last summer from C.D.S. Vida of Honduras’ top-flight soccer league. With the ‘Caps, Ramirez has appeared in the MLS Reserve League as well the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League.
WHITECAPS FC DRAFT PICKS
*Michael Calderon (midfielder): Calderon, who Whitecaps FC selected in the fourth round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, spent two seasons at the University of New Mexico after starting his collegiate career with the Fairleigh Dickenson University Knights. In two years with the Lobos, the 25-year-old midfielder recorded 10 goals and 13 assists in 41 total appearances.
Michael Kafari (midfielder): Kafari, who Whitecaps FC selected in the third round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, spent four seasons with the University of New Mexico Lobos of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Conference USA. The 22-year-old midfielder appeared in 82 matches for a total of 6,519 minutes with the Lobos.
Adam Mena (midfielder): A 24-year-old midfielder from Holland, Michigan, Mena was selected in the 2013 Supplemental Draft by the ‘Caps after spending five seasons the University of Notre Dame. The 5-foot-10, 145-pound midfielder registered six goals and five assists in 55 total appearances with the Fighting Irish.
Makenzie Pridham (striker): A native of Toronto, Ontario, Pridham was selected by Whitecaps FC with their fourth-round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. The 23-year-old striker leaves the California Polytechnic State University Mustangs as the program’s all-time leader in goals scored with 27.
Jordan Cyrus (right back): The 23-year-old fullback, who also trialed with the ‘Caps last October, appeared in 23 of 24 matches with the University of Maryland Terrapins in 2012, posting two goals and three assists. Cyrus was forced to sit out the 2013 NCAA season due to eligibility issues.
Simon Thomas (goalkeeper): Thomas, 23, joined the inaugural Whitecaps FC Residency squad in 2007 and has been involved with the club ever since. The Victoria, B.C. native, who has earned two caps with the Canadian senior men's national team, signed with the first-team in February but has yet to make an appearance at the MLS level. Whitecaps FC did not pick up Thomas' 2014 contract option, but could still re-sign him if they choose to do so.
* Michael Calderon, Mamadou Diouf, and Andre Lewis and will join the team in Casa Grande, Arizona, as they are waiting on their Canadian work permits and work visas.
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.