Whitecaps sign Saint Vincent pair

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce the signings of forward Marlon James, defender Cornelius Huggins, and goalkeeper Tyler Baldock. All three players have agreed to contracts for the remainder of the 2008 season. James and Huggins are still waiting for international clearance and will not be available for the Whitecaps match against Atlanta Silverbacks tonight at Swangard Stadium. James, 31, joins the Whitecaps after two very successful seasons with Kedah FA of the Malaysia Super League (also known as the TM Liga Super). In his two seasons with Kedah FA, they won the Malaysia Super League, Malaysia Cup and Malaysia FA Cup. For his efforts, James was named the Most Valuable Foreign Player and received the Golden Boot Award in the Super League this past season after recording 23 goals in the club’s 24 matches. James also scored 14 goals in 14 matches in the Malaysia Cup and 10 goals in nine matches in the Malaysia FA Cup. During the 2006-07 season, James scored 29 goals in all competitions, including 20 markers during league play. The native of the Grenadines island of Bequia has also played two seasons for the now-defunct Malaysian club MK Land FC, where he scored 41 goals in 48 matches winning the Golden Boot Award in 2005. Prior to playing in Malaysia, the six-foot-two, 175-pound striker played with FC Tirsense of Portugal’s Second Division Serie A which is the third level in Portugal. Before playing abroad, James played with Hope International FC from 1995 to 2000 and Combined Stars FC in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines National League Championship. James is a member of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines national team. He has been capped 19 times and scored nine goals for his country. In fact, his last international goal was scored against Canada in Montreal on June 20 when Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lost 4-1 in the qualifying stages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. James also played in World Cup qualifying matches in 2002 and 2006. James’ teammate, Huggins, also joins Vancouver before today’s 1:00 p.m. PT, United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division roster freeze. Huggins, 33, was the backbone of the Kedah FA defence the last four seasons, earning 116 appearances, while scoring three goals with the club. During his time with Kedah FA, he was the club’s vice-captain and last season, he finished in second place behind James as the Most Valuable Foreign Player. From 2000 to 2002, the six-foot-two, 180-pound centre back was a member of Caledonia AIA of the Trinidad and Tobago Professional League and from 1989 to 2000, Huggins played with Pastures United FC in the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines National League Championship. Internationally, Huggins has been a regular on the senior national team since 1993. The native of Kingstown, Saint Vincent, is the second-most capped player for his country at 136 international appearances. Goalkeeper Melvin Andrews leads with 145 caps. Baldock, 23, returns to the Whitecaps after spending the first half of 2008 with Abbotsford Mariners of the USL Premier Development League. In 13 games with the Mariners, Baldock recorded six shutouts and a record of five wins, six losses and two draws. Last year, Baldock was a member of the Whitecaps, but did not enter a game. Baldock played college soccer for Carson-Newman College in Tennessee from 2003 to 2006. In 2006, the six-foot, 175-pound native of Surrey, BC, earned NSCAA / Adidas Men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II All-American third team honours after compiling a 12-2-1 record in 15 matches. In 2005, he earned first-team honours for the same award with a 15-0-2 record before being named to the second team in 2004 with a 13-2-1 record. Baldock finished his collegiate career with a 52-9-7 record. In order to make room on their USL-1 26-player roster, the Whitecaps have released international goalkeeper Richard Goddard, while midfielders Stefan Leslie, Navid Mashinchi and Admir Salihovic were re-assigned to the Whitecaps PDL side and will continue to practice with the first team.