Whitecaps FC 2024 roster breakdown ahead of opening kick

Image (1)

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC confirmed on Saturday the club's current roster ahead of their Major League Soccer regular season opener, presented by TELUS. The gates at BC Place will open at 3 p.m. PT and kickoff against Eastern Conference side Charlotte FC is set for 4:30 p.m. PT.

The upper bowl will be open and more than 28,000 tickets have already been sold. For ticket information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets. The game will also be free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, TSN 4 and Vancouver radio AM730, prematch show starting at 3:30 p.m. PT.

Roster Compliance
The 'Caps, who are roster and budget compliant following the February 23 deadline, currently have 24 players on their active roster including 18 Senior Roster Slots and six Supplemental Roster Slots. There are 11 internationals on the roster, as the club holds nine Internationals Roster Slots plus the three designated International Player Slots for Canada-based clubs.

The club’s two Designated Players are captain Ryan Gauld and defensive midfielder Andrés Cubas, arguably two of the best in their position across the league. In addition, one U22 Initiative player in midfielder Pedro Vite and five players were acquired or signed with the use of Targeted Allocation Money in keeper YoheiTakaoka, centre backs Tristan Blackmon and Mathías Laborda, wingback Sam Adekugbe and midfielder Alessandro Schöpf.

Roster Composition
To kick off the year, there are 19 returning players and five new players including experienced MLS free agents in keeper Joe Bendik, forwards Damir Kreilachand Fafà Picault, as well as centre backs Belal Halbouni and Bjørn Inge Utvik.

A total of 15 players are entering at least their third MLS season with Vancouver. The longest tenure with the club belongs to Homegrown goalkeepers Isaac Boehmer, who joined the club’s Okanagan Academy in 2013, MLS Academy in 2018, and signed his first MLS contract in August 2020, and Max Anchor, who joined the Academy in 2017 and signed a MLS pre-contract in May 2022.

Wingback Ryan Raposo and centre back Ranko Veselinović both joined the club prior to the start of the 2020 season and are the longest first team members as they get set to enter their fifth year with the club in MLS.

Year-over-year the club has built a solid core with a lower roster turnover and a few key experienced additions. The roster’s average age is now 26 years and 307 days, a natural progression after being one of the youngest teams in the league. The youngest players are Anchor at 19 and Vite at 21, while the oldest are Bendik and Kreilach at 34.

Vancouver continues to field an international squad, highlighted by 15 different birth countries including Canada (6), United States of America (4), England (2), Argentina, Austria, Cameron, Croatia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Serbia, and Uruguay.

Head coach Vanni Sartini, a goalkeeper in his playing days, has four goalies available in number one Yohei Takaoka, Homegrowns Anchor and Boehmer, and veteran Bendik.

The centre backs include Veselinovic, Blackmon, second year Laborda, newest additions Halbouni and Utvik, as well as Javain Brown and Luís Martins, both of which can also play as fullbacks. In addition, there are wingbacks/fullbacks Adekugbe, Raposo and Ali Ahmed, who can also play as an eight.

Central midfielders include Sebastian Berhalter, Cubas, J.C. Ngando, Schöpf and Vite, while up front features Gauld and White, second year forward Levonte Johnson and newest attackers in Kreilach and Picault.

How the Team was Built
Five players arrived via transfer from Europe in Adekugbe, Cubas, Gauld, Halbouni, and Veselinović, while Vite was acquired from a club in South America. Laborda, Schöpf, Takaoka, and Utvik also arrived in MLS after playing abroad.

The ’Caps acquired three players from intra-league trades in Berhalter, Blackmon, and White, while Bendik, Kreilach, Martins, and Picault all joined with significant MLS experience under their belts.

Four players joined the club via the MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, in Raposo in 2020, Brown in 2021, as well as Generation adidas midfielder Ngando and forward Johnson in 2023.

There are three products of the Whitecaps FC BMO MLS Academy in Anchor and Boehmer, as well as Adekugbe, who returned to the club last summer following seven years in Europe. In addition, Ahmed, and Johnson first signed with Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2) in MLS NEXT Pro before earning a first team contract.

Additional Notes
In advance of the season opener, WFC2 midfielder Jay Herdman was signed to an MLS short-term agreement. Herdman was also called-up for the first leg of the Concacaf Champions Cup Round One game.

Outside of the active roster, Whitecaps FC have one player away on loan in Deiber Caicedo with Colombian Categoría Primera A side Junior FC through July 31, 2024.

Fifty Together
Celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary, presented by BMO, Chevrolet, and MNP, all season long. Learn more about the club’s storied history at whitecapsfc50.com.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC MLS Roster – March 2, 2024

Screenshot 2024-03-01 at 9.56.46 PM