VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Thursday that the club has signed defender Jake Nerwinski to an MLS contract for 2017, with options for 2018, 2019, and 2020.
The right back from the University of Connecticut was the seventh overall selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft last month. Nerwinski will be added to the team's roster pending receipt of his Canadian work permit.
Whitecaps FC right back Jake Nerwinski
- Recorded five goals and 17 assists in 81 appearances at the University of Connecticut
- Three-time selection to All-American Athletic Conference Team
- Co-captained at Connecticut as junior and senior
"Good kid, excellent mentality," said manager Carl Robinson. "Jake has come in and done very well. He understands the game, very fit, and will provide competition for Sheanon (Williams) at the right back position."
Nerwinski, 22, started each of the three preseason matches in the team's recent trip to the United Kingdom, equaling the team-lead in minutes played with 230.
"I'm extremely happy to officially be a member of the Whitecaps FC family and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," said Nerwinski. "I am thankful to the Wasserman Media Group and my agent, and I am especially grateful for the all support I received from my family. I am also thankful to coach Robinson and the entire club for giving me this opportunity. I can't wait to get started and give everything I have to this club and city."
A co-captain in his last two years at Connecticut, Nerwinski tallied five goals and 17 assists in his four seasons in Mansfield, starting 75 of his 81 appearances for the Huskies.
The six-foot, 175-pound right back was a three-time member of the All-American Athletic Conference Team, earning a first-team selection in 2016. The two-year captain also received NSCAA All-East Region accolades, being named to the Second Team as a junior, then to the First Team in his final year.
The Lawrenceville, New Jersey native was an All-District player in each of his four years at his hometown's Notre Dame High School. As a senior, the team captain was honoured with All-State, All-Area, and All-Colonial Valley Conference team selections, as well as his side's Most Valuable Player award.
Nerwinski played youth soccer with the New Jersey Soccer Association 04 Development Academy team.
At the international level, Nerwinski was invited to the United States men's national team U-23 college identification camp in July 2015.
Whitecaps FC resume preseason play when they face expansion side Minnesota United FC in the 2017 Timbers Preseason Tournament tonight, Thursday, February 9 at Providence Park. Watch the match live on whitecapsfc.com. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. PT.
The 2017 season kicks off with the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against New York Red Bulls. The first leg is set for Wednesday, February 22, at Red Bull Arena, and the return leg will take place on Thursday, March 2, at BC Place. MLS regular season action starts on Sunday, March 5, when Whitecaps FC host Philadelphia Union at BC Place.
Position: Right back
Date of Birth: October 17, 1994 in Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Hometown: Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Citizenship: United States
Last Club: University of Connecticut Huskies (NCAA DI: 2013 to 2016)
How acquired: Selected seventh overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by Whitecaps FC on January 13, signed to the club's MLS roster on February 9, 2017