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Vancouver Whitecaps sign American defender Brad Rusin

The 26-year-old center back joins Vancouver from Danish side HB Køge, where he made more than 40 appearances in all competitions since 2011.

The Vancouver Whitecaps' defense got a little bit younger and deeper Friday with the announcement that 26-year-old American Brad Rusin has signed a contract with the team.

Rusin, an Indiana native, spent the past couple of seasons with HB Køge in Denmark. Before crossing the pond, he played under current Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie at NASL side Carolina Railhawks.

“I’m looking forward to linking up with Martin Rennie again and be a part of something special in Vancouver,” Rusin said in a statement on the Whitecaps website. “I have had the opportunity to visit Vancouver when I was a member of the RailHawks and always enjoyed the atmosphere and passionate fans during those matches.”

A 6-foot-4 central defender, Rusin is expected to challenge 33-year-old veterans Jay DeMerit and Andy O'Brien for a starting spot on Vancouver's back line. The former UCLA star gives Rennie more options in a defense that finished the 2012 MLS campaign tied for fourth in goals against.

“Brad is a very powerful, athletic player who can play a couple of different positions,” Rennie said. “He did very well in Denmark and had a lot of interest from clubs in Europe and other clubs in MLS. We are pleased that we’ve got him and think that he can be an important player for us right away, but also for the long term.”

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