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Whitecaps FC acquire Iraqi international left back Ali Adnan on loan through end of June

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Saturday that the club has acquired Iraqi international left back Ali Adnan on loan through the end of June. Adnan is the first-ever Iraqi-born player in Major League Soccer. 

The 25-year old defender, who will return to his parent club Serie A side Udinese Calcio when the loan expires on June 30, is expected to arrive in Vancouver next week. Adnan will occupy an international roster spot and officially join the club's roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC), work permit, and visas, as well as a medical examination.

“We evaluated every opportunity that was possible, and this loan allows us to strengthen the left back position while we continue to explore the market for the July transfer window,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Marc Dos Santos. “Ali is physically gifted, aggressive, strong in the air, and he will bring balance to the team with his defensive mindset. He’s excited to come here and experience playing in Vancouver before he returns to Italy.”

Whitecaps FC left back Ali Adnan

  • Four goals in 49 appearances for Iraq’s senior national team, most recently starring at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in January
  • 68 appearances in the Italian Serie A with Udinese and while on-loan to Atalanta
  • 41 appearances in the Turkish Süper Lig with Rizespor
  • Began pro career with hometown club Baghdad FC
  • Will return to Udinese in July at the conclusion of his loan

TRANSACTION: On Saturday, March 9, Ali Adnan joins Whitecaps FC on loan from parent club Udinese Calcio until June 30, 2019.

“I am very much looking forward to joining the Whitecaps,” added Adnan. “I know it is an important club with ambition and a strong fan base. I talked with head coach Dos Santos a lot before signing so I’m excited by the prospect of working with him, all the staff, and my new teammates.”

Born in Baghdad, Adnan most recently featured at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup for his national team in January, where he scored a last-minute free kick game-winner versus Vietnam in the group stage and was named to the tournament’s Best XI by Fox Sports Asia. He has four goals in 49 appearances for the Lions of Mesopotamia. At the youth level, he was named the AFC Asian Young Football of the Year in 2013 after a stellar performance in that year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The 6-foot-1 Adnan arrives having spent over three seasons in the Italian Seria A with Udinese, including a loan stint with Atalanta BC, collecting 49 starts in 68 league appearances, and adding one goal.

Adnan began his career with his hometown youth club Baghdad FC, playing two seasons with the first team in the Iraqi Premier League. In 2013, Adnan moved to Çaykur Rizespor, where he would score three goals in 41 league appearances in two Turkish Süper Lig seasons, prior to his move to Italy.

Ali Adnan
Position: Left back
Height: 6-01
Weight: 180 pounds
Date of Birth: December 19, 1993 in Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Baghdad, Iraq
Citizenship: Iraq
Status: International, on loan through June 30, 2019
Parent club: Udinese Calcio (Italian Serie A: ‘15 - present)
Last club (on loan): Atalanta BC (Italian Serie A: ’18-’19)