The 18-year-old becomes Vancouver's seventh homegrown signing on the same day that he was called into Benito Floro's Canada squad.Wednesday has been a very good day for Sam Adekugbe.
The teenager signed his first professional contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps on the same day that it was announced that he would take part in Canada's first national team training camp under new head coach Benito Floro.
“This is truly a dream come true for me,” Adekugbe said in a Whitecaps release. “I couldn’t be happier to sign my first MLS contract in Vancouver. Spending the last few years with the Residency program has been great for my development, and I look forward to taking the next steps in my career with Whitecaps FC.”
The 18-year-old defender has starred for Vancouver's youth teams for the past two seasons since moving to B.C. from Calgary. The Whitecaps said that Adekugbe will continue to feature for the club's U-18 team while also training with the MLS side.
He has also made several appearances for Vancouver in the MLS Reserve League, and he should expect to continue to feature for the 'Caps in the competition in the near future.
“Sam is a fantastic young talent and someone we’re all very excited to bring into the first team,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said. “We’ve watched him closely over the past few years as he developed with our Residency program and we’re very confident that he has a bright future ahead.”
Born in London, England, Agekugbe moved to Calgary with his family in 2004 and recently obtained his permanent Canadian residence. Earlier this month, he featured for Canada's national U-18 side in the 2013 COTIF tournament in Spain, which was attended by Floro.
Adekugbe becomes Vancouver's seventh homegrown player, following the likes of Russell Teibert and Bryce Alderson in moving up to the big club from the youth ranks.