Whitecaps FC sign experienced midfielder Damir Kreilach

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VANCOUVER, BC – Welcome to Vancouver, Dami!

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Friday that the club has signed experienced midfielder and MLS free agent Damir Kreilach to a two-year contract through 2025. Kreilach will be added to Vancouver’s roster pending the receipt of the International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

“We are very pleased to welcome Damir and his family to our club and city,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director. “Everybody in MLS knows what Damir brings to the table. He is an experienced player, a competitor, and a leader. In our conversations with Damir, we could feel his hunger for another opportunity where he can bring his best skills and compete for some big goals. He is driven to help bring success to Vancouver.”

Whitecaps FC midfielder Damir Kreilach

  • 56 goals and 25 assists with Real Salt Lake since 2018
  • Captained RSL the last two years
  • 2021 MLS All-Star after career high 16 goals and nine assists
  • 2022 RSL Humanitarian of the Year
  • 33 goals in five seasons at German club Union Berlin

"I'm very happy and excited to take on this new challenge and be a part of Vancouver Whitecaps FC," added Kreilach. "There is a lot of work ahead and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity. I'm looking forward to meeting my new teammates, coaches, staff and all the supporters. I can't wait to get started!"

Kreilach, 34, spent the past six seasons at MLS Western Conference side Real Salt Lake, captaining the club for the last two years. In that time, the Croatian has scored 51 goals and added 25 assists in MLS play, including 19 header goals, and four goals in nine appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In all competitions, Kreilach has scored 56 goals, including the U.S. Open Cup and MLS is Back Tournament.

The 6-foot-1 midfielder, who can also play as a forward, was named an MLS All-Star in 2021, when he set MLS career highs with 16 goals and nine assists. Kreilach departs RSL after leading the team in scoring in 2018, 2019, and 2021, and being named team MVP in 2018, 2020, and 2021.

Off the pitch, Kreilach was a fan favourite, establishing “Kreilach’s Corner” which allowed 400+ children to attend each match who would not otherwise have had that opportunity. Each month, Kreilach also led the locker room on a local community service project. For his efforts, he was named RSL’s 2022 Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year.

Prior to moving to RSL, Kreilach played five seasons at German club Union Berlin. In that time, he scored 33 goals in 147 matches in the German second division, highlighted by a 12-goal season in 2015-16.

The product of Vukovar, Croatia came through Croatian first division club HNK Rijeka in his youth, making his professional debut at 18 years old in the 2007-08 season. He would go on to play 128 matches in six seasons while scoring 19 goals. He was the club’s top goal scorer in the 2011-12 season with nine goals.

Internationally, Kreilach appeared for the Croatian U-19 and U-21 National Teams in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

TRANSACTION: On December 29, 2023, Whitecaps FC signed MLS free agent Damir Kreilach to a two-year contract through 2025.

Damir Kreilach
Pronunciation: duh-MEER CRY-lock
Position: Midfielder
Height: 6-01
Weight: 175 pounds
Date of Birth: April 16, 1989, in Vukovar, Croatia
Hometown: Vukovar, Croatia
Citizenship: Croatia
Status: Domestic (Green Card)
Previous Clubs: Real Salt Lake (2018-23), Union Berlin (2013-18), HNK Rijeka (2007-13)
Instagram: @damirkreilach19