Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce that striker Charles Gbeke has been called up to Canada's men's national team.
The native of Longueuil, Quebec, will join up with Dale Mitchell's squad for Wednesday's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier versus Mexico in Edmonton, Alberta. The match at Commonwealth Stadium will be Canada's next-to-last in CONCACAF semifinal round Group Two after they were eliminated from contention for South Africa 2010 following Saturday's 3-1 defeat away to Honduras.
Gbeke's call-up comes after the forward led the Whitecaps to their second United Soccer Leagues First Division championship in three seasons with both goals in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Puerto Rico Islanders at Swangard Stadium. The 30-year-old's efforts earned him the USL-1 Championship Final's Most Valuable Player award.
The six-foot-two, 210-pound forward earned his first international cap for Canada in a 1-0 away victory over Martinique on January 30. He also appeared for Canada in a 2-0 friendly win over Danish club Vejle Boldklub in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 3.
Born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, but raised in Montreal, Quebec, Gbeke returned to the Whitecaps for a fourth stint with the club when he was traded to Vancouver from former club Montreal Impact for midfielder Tony Donatelli and an undisclosed financial amount on June 30. Gbeke went on to record three goals and two assists in 14 regular season appearances for the Whitecaps for 586 minutes. During the USL-1 playoffs, Gbeke appeared in all five matches for the Whitecaps, making four starts, and had two goals and two assists during Vancouver's successful postseason run.
Canada's World Cup qualifier versus Mexico kicks off from Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium at 6:00 p.m. PT and can be seen live on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific and West regions.