VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 19: Eric Hassli #29 of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC celebrates his goal and the Whitecaps first inaugural goal against the Toronto FC during their match March 19, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
1 Total Update since July 11, 2011
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
In some ways, Tuesday was a historic day for MLS. The Vancouver Whitecaps called a press conference on Tuesday morning to make a "major player announcement," with many speculating it would be a second designated player to go along with Eric Hassli. We were all right -- Vancouver announced a designated player acquisition -- though the original names floated were off. Instead, the Whitecaps signed African forward
Jarju certainly isn't a name with wide-spread notoriety, but it is a smart choice for Vancouver. Instead of throwing a ton of money at an aging superstar that's well past peak, Vancouver went young, choosing to hand a DP contract to a goal-scorer with plenty of potential. He should pair well alongside Eric Hassli, and could make an immediate impact for the Whitecaps.
Over at SB Nation's 86 Forever, Benjamin Massey took a look at the signing on Tuesday morning. He's not sure about Jarju, calling it a roll of the dice, but does see potential in the move.
Mustapha Jarju is not a "name". He will not sell a single ticket. There's no casual soccer fan flipping past Sportsnet this morning and double-taking. "Wait, the Whitecaps signed Jarju? Wow, maybe they're more legitimate than I thought." This is a move strictly to improve the team on the field; just the way I like it.
The fact is that Jarju has no reputation to prop him up. He's not a Torsten Frings type; brought in because people know who he is and remember his salad days. Jarju's salad days haven't arrived yet and only real fans of Belgian or Gambian soccer will know more than his name. That means we can only evaluate him on his record and, luckily, his record is pretty good. It's enough to make me confident, if not exactly certain, in this signing.
With that, Cascadia improves. Vancouver has struggled in its first year in MLS, but may be making strides, even if only incrementally. This is a smart way to use the designated player contract, though none of us know whether he'll pan-out as of yet.
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The Vancouver Whitecaps will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning to make what the team calls a "major player announcement." With the transfer window nearly open, the focus for many MLS teams is incoming players at the moment, with designated players and high-profile additions at the top of the wish list. In that regard, it would make sense that the Whitecaps are holding a press conference to announce a new designated player to go along with Eric Hassli.
So the question is who -- something many Vancouver fans, and fans of Cascadia teams, are wondering at the moment. On Twitter, I took an educated guess, floating the name of Joseph Yobo, a centreback and captain of the Nigerian National Team. It makes sense, at least when connecting the dots.
Colin Udoh, a Nigerian football reporter, has been teasing a player announcement for the better part of the last week, telling his followers on Twitter that an announcement was forthcoming concerning the first African designated player in MLS. On Monday, he added this:
African DP press conference is 9am 2moro on Western Conference. Captains his national team
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the Whitecaps press conference is taking place at 9 a.m. So which national team captain could it be? Considering Udoh covers the Nigerian National Team, it would also make sense that the player in question originates from the team he covers. His assertion that the player is the national team's captain, whatever national team that may be, also narrows it down quite a bit.
All things considered, I'm inclined to believe the Whitecaps next designated player is Yobo. It's not fact, nor laid in stone, but is my own educated guess based on the reasons listed above. We'll find out for sure on Tuesday morning as the Whitecaps announce a new addition to their franchise.