VANCOUVER, BC - With preseason training set to begin next week, Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the signing of Canadian-born defender Alain Rochat to the club's Major League Soccer roster - pending his international transfer certificate. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"We're delighted to add Alain to our MLS squad," said Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson. "He brings a wealth of experience and has won titles in a top-flight European league and has played in prestigious European club competitions like the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup."
Initially acquired from FC Zürich by Whitecaps FC during the 2010 USSF D-2 Pro League season on August 17, the 27-year-old spent the remainder of last year on loan at the Swiss Super League outfit. The 6-foot, 170-pound defender - who can play left fullback as well as centre back - started all 14 appearances during his loan spell with FC Zürich.
"I'm excited by this new challenge to play in North America and in Major League Soccer,” said Rochat. “Vancouver is a beautiful city, and Whitecaps FC have been very welcoming to me and my family, since I made the decision to first sign with the club last summer."
The native of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, first joined FC Zürich on loan during the 2006-07 season from Stade Rennais FC of France’s Ligue 1 before making his move permanent the following season. In four-and-a-half seasons with FC Zürich, Rochat made 154 appearances, scoring nine goals, and recording 10 assists. During this time, Rochat helped FC Zürich to Swiss Super League championship titles during the 2006-07 and 2008-09 campaigns. In the 2009-10 season, Rochat helped FC Zürich reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, where they faced Spanish giants Real Madrid, Italian powerhouse AC Milan, and France's Olympique de Marseille in Group C.
Prior to his recent spell with FC Zürich, Rochat joined Stade Rennais FC at the start of the 2005-06 French Ligue 1 season and appeared in 11 matches for the Brittany-based club. From 2001 to 2005, the defender played four seasons with Switzerland's Berner Sport Club (BSC) Young Boys. Rochat started his professional career in 1999 with Yverdon Sport FC, who were then members of the Swiss Super League.
Rochat, who moved from Canada to Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, when he was two, appeared for Switzerland at the youth international level before making his senior international debut on June 4, 2005, as Switzerland claimed a 3-1 away victory over the Faroe Islands in Group Four of European qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Whitecaps FC Major League Soccer 2011 season tickets start at a base price of $319, plus applicable tax and a $10 processing fee per order, and more than 60 per cent of seats are available for less than $31 per game. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, suites, and loge boxes, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com.
About Vancouver Whitecaps FC
In 1974, Vancouver Whitecaps FC played their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League, and in 1979, the club won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship. From 1987 to 1992, as a member of the Canadian Soccer League, Vancouver won four straight CSL titles. In 2002, Whitecaps FC created a full club model that encompasses professional teams for men and women, extensive youth development and grassroots participation programs, facility development, and the Whitecaps Foundation to support specific initiatives related to health and wellness through soccer. Since 2004, Whitecaps FC have won two United Soccer Leagues First Division championships and two USL W-League championships. In 2011, Whitecaps FC will begin their inaugural season in Major League Soccer at Empire Field before moving into the new BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver. For additional information on Vancouver Whitecaps FC, visit whitecapsfc.com.