VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Saturday that the club has landed their long-coveted target in attacking midfielder Ryan Gauld.
Vancouver acquired Gauld via transfer from Portuguese side SC Farense and the Scottish playmaker agreed to a Major League Soccer Designated Player contract. Gauld is signed through 2024 and will officially begin training with the team in Vancouver next week.
"We are very pleased to welcome Ryan to our club,” said Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director and chief executive officer. “We identified Ryan at the attacking midfield position early in the offseason and began our formal pursuit at the start of January. It was a complicated process due to several factors but as he was our top target, we never gave up. He is a difference maker, brings experience, as well as an exceptional work rate, all qualities we identified as being key characteristics that we need in this position. Ryan and his representatives have been a pleasure to work with and we are thrilled that he is committed for the next three plus years to not only this club but the city and people of Vancouver.”
Whitecaps FC midfielder Ryan Gauld
- One of only three players last season to feature in the Portuguese Primeira Liga’s top 10 in both goals and assists - ranked sixth in assists, while leading SC Farense in goals and was ninth overall
- Nine goals, seven assists and three penalties won in 33 starts in 2020-21
- 2020-21 Primeira Liga leader in key passes per game, expected assists, shot opportunities created, while landing in the top five in shots, corners, free kicks, and penalty goals scored
- Portugal's 2019-20 Liga Pro Player of the Year while leading Farense to promotion
"Ryan is a player that we have been following for a long time,” added Marc Dos Santos, Whitecaps FC head coach. “He’s an attacking midfielder who can provide us with a lot of options between lines. He has very good delivery and is very dynamic without the ball. He also brings leadership qualities and experience to the group, which will help our young players next to him grow and become better. We are very glad to have him joining our club."
Gauld, 25, is coming off a stellar season, where he ranked sixth in the Primeira Liga with seven assists, while leading SC Farense with nine goals. He made 33 starts out of a possible 34 matches in 2020-21 and was among the league leaders in several statistical categories. Gauld’s 2.3 key passes per game and 7.58 expected assists were tops in the Primeira Liga and the midfielder was among the league leaders in set piece delivery.
“I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to play for Vancouver Whitecaps FC,” added Gauld. “From day one they have made me feel very wanted and that means a lot. I’m looking forward to meeting my teammates, getting on the training pitch, and coming to play at BC Place in front of the passionate supporters.”
Gauld led SC Farense to promotion to the Primeira Liga after a 2019-20 season in Liga Pro where coaches and captains voted him the league’s Player of the Year. During the shortened season, he placed sixth in the league with nine goals while adding three assists in 21 starts and appearances.
A product of Scottish club Dundee United’s youth system, Gauld moved up to the first team as a 16-year-old in 2012. After just over two seasons with the Scottish Premiership club, he made the move to Portugal in 2014 with famed Sporting CP. Beginning 2016, he would go on loan stints within the Primeira Liga with Vitória FC, CD Aves, and SC Farense, as well as back to the Scottish Premiership with Hibernian FC. In 2019, Gauld rejoined SC Farense on a permanent move from Sporting CP.
In total, Gauld has 233 appearances across all competitions, scoring 40 goals.
A native of Aberdeen, Scotland, Gauld has featured for his country’s U-19 and U-21 sides and was in consideration for the senior roster at this summer’s UEFA European Championship.
TRANSACTION: On Saturday, July 31, 2021, Whitecaps FC acquire Scottish midfielder Ryan Gauld via transfer from Portuguese side SC Farense. Gauld agreed to a deal through 2024 and will join the club as a Designated Player.
Position: Attacking midfielder
Date of Birth: December 16, 1995 in Aberdeen, Scotland
Hometown: Laurencekirk, Scotland
Status: Designated Player, International
Youth Clubs: Brechin City Boys Club, Dundee United
Previous Club: SC Farense (Portugal ‘19-’21)