VANCOUVER, BC – “This is our city.”
That’s what David Ousted’s three-year-old daughter said to him earlier this year as he and his family flew into Vancouver after the offseason. It’s not the only reason why Ousted agreed to a multi-year contract to remain in Vancouver, which announced on Tuesday.
But it certainly didn’t hurt.
“As a father, you can’t deny something like that,” Ousted told reporters. “I still have my ambitions. I still have my wants to go back to Europe and try to play at a higher level. But I’m also very aware of how happy I am, the way the club is moving forward, and the way that I want to be a part of that.”
And that goes both ways.
Locking up Ousted long-term was a “top priority,” according to head coach Carl Robinson.
You can understand why.
Ousted, 31, hasn’t missed an MLS regular season match after making his debut in August 2013. During that time, he has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league – if not the best.
The numbers speak for themselves.
No goalkeeper has recorded more clean sheets than Ousted over the last two seasons. He has 26, which is seven more than the next closest keeper. Last year, the MLS All-Star also led the league with three penalty saves and was the runner-up for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Save of the Year.
With those kind of accolades, you can also understand why Ousted still has aspirations of one day playing at the top level in Europe. And Robinson wouldn’t have it any other way,
“I want players to have aspirations,” he told reporters. “If they don’t, they’re happy and content to be where they are. And I don’t want any player to be happy or content. It would worry me. We’ve committed to David and he’s committed to us.”
As Ousted alluded to, this was partly a family decision.
Ousted, Manneh have rescued seals named after them
His wife, daughter, and twin boys are happy in Vancouver. And so is he. This has been a “second home,” he said. He has embraced the city. The city has embraced him.
Ousted has become a fan favourite – one of the most recognizable ‘Caps, no doubt. Last year, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre even named one of their new seals after him.
But there’s more to it than that.
Ousted is a competitor. He wants to win. And with the moves the ‘Caps have made this offseason, as well as the vision Robinson has for the club, he sees an opportunity to do just that.
“Looking at the guys staying, the club’s ambitions, and what Robbo and I spoke about is something that sealed the deal for me in staying here and trying to move this club forward with the other guys,” he said. “I think the years to come could be very exciting for this club.”
And city. Our city.