VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Friday that the club has acquired wingback Julian Gressel from D.C. United in exchange for up to $900,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) - $400,000 in 2022 GAM, $200,000 in 2023 GAM and $300,000 in conditional 2024 GAM if Gressel appears in three MLS matches between the 2022 and 2023 MLS seasons.
Gressel, 28, has been one of the top playmakers in MLS since joining the league in 2017. His 58 regular season assists are second most in MLS over that period, trailing only New York City FC attacking midfielder Maximiliano Moralez with 66. Playing as both a wingback and midfielder in his career, Gressel has also scored 19 goals in 171 regular season appearances.
Whitecaps FC wingback Julian Gressel
- 58 MLS regular season assists since 2017, second most in the league during that period
- 13 assists during the 2021 MLS regular season, third most overall
- 2018 MLS Cup winner and 2019 U.S. Open Cup winner with Atlanta United FC
- 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year
“We are always looking for opportunities to take our team to the next level and Julian is the perfect fit. He has been on our radar for a long time, and we are very happy we got this deal done,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director. “Over the past five plus years in the league, Julian has proven to be one of the best players in MLS, regardless of position, and is a league leader in assists. His ability to cross the ball and to set up his teammates in good positions will add additional quality to our group. Not only this, but Julian plays with great intensity and brings the versatility to play as a midfielder, where he helped Atlanta win an MLS Cup. Overall, he is a fantastic player, and we are thrilled to welcome him and his family to Vancouver.”
This season, Gressel has started 16 of his 17 MLS appearances and led D.C. United with seven assists, which is second highest among wingbacks or fullbacks and tied for eighth most in the league. In 2021, he led the team with 13 assists, third highest in MLS behind only New England Revolution attacking midfielder Carles Gil and CF Montreal attacking midfielder Djordje Mihailovic.
"I'm excited to come to Vancouver and start this next chapter in my career," said Gressel. "I'm an intense player, it's part of my DNA and something that I always bring to the field. I'm looking forward to playing in front of all the supporters, and helping this club push forward."
The native of Neustadt, Germany first entered the league when he was selected eighth overall by then expansion side Atlanta United FC in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft out of Providence College. After his first season he was honoured as 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year.
In 2018, Gressel helped Atlanta win MLS Cup, starting 33 of 34 regular season matches as well as all five playoff matches. The following year, Gressel helped Atlanta capture the 2019 U.S. Open Cup. During his three seasons with the club, Gressel scored 15 goals and recorded 35 assists while starting 88 of his 98 MLS regular season appearances. Gressel also made nine starts, scored two goals and added two assists in MLS Cup Playoffs.
In his four years with the Providence College Friars, Gressel scored 30 goals and recorded 26 assists in 74 appearances. In his final season, he earned the Big East Offensive Player of the Year award and was a NSCAA First-Team All-American after scoring 15 goals, including five game-winners, and six assists.
TRANSACTION: On July 15, 2022, Whitecaps FC acquire wingback Julian Gressel from D.C. United in exchange for up to $900,000 of MLS General Allocation Money.
Weight: 185 pounds
Date of Birth: December 16, 1993, in Neustadt an der Aisch, Germany
Hometown: Neustadt an der Aisch, Germany
Status: Domestic (green card)
Professional Clubs: D.C. United (2020-22), Atlanta United (2017-19)