Gage on trial with VfL Wolfsburg

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that defender/midfielder Ethan Gage will join the U-23 side of German Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg for a trial next week. Gage, 18, heads overseas for a second try-out with a German club in four months. Last August, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound native of Cochrane, Alberta, spent two weeks with the U-23 side of Eintracht Frankfurt. As one of the first players to join Whitecaps Residency for the program's inaugural year in July 2007, Gage's progress saw him make his men's team debut as a 17-year-old when he came on as a second-half substitute during a 2-0 defeat at Charleston Battery on August 3, 2008. He then went on to make 10 first-team appearances for 445 minutes of action in 2008, including four appearances in the Whitecaps successful playoff run to last season's United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) championship title. This past season, Gage played a more prominent role in the men's team, having made 21 appearances - including 12 starts - in both USL-1 and the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship for 1,056 minutes of action. He scored his first-ever men's team goal on May 27, as his match-winning strike gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 home win over Montreal Impact in the Canadian championship. As a member of Whitecaps Residency, Gage made trips to Germany, Japan, and the United States between October 2007 and April 2009. This included two visits to the prestigious Dallas Cup, where the Residency team took part in the U-19 Super Group portion of the tournament. At Dallas Cup XXX this past April, Gage helped the Residency team to the U-19 Super Group final as their starting centre back. This included an appearance in the 2-0 semifinal win over Eintracht Frankfurt's U-19 Junior Bundesliga side on April 10. Last March, Gage was one of seven Whitecaps players to be named in Canada's 20-player squad for the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. Gage was a second-half substitute in the 2-0 win over Mexico on March 9 before earning a start in the 2-1 defeat to Costa Rica on March 11.