Jamaican Andre Lewis was part of what seemed to be an impressive draft class for Vancouver but will join the NASL Cosmos instead of signing with MLS, sources told Goal.The Vancouver Whitecaps picked up what looked to be an impressive haul of talent at the 2014 MLS Draft, but it appears that one of the team’s most promising draft picks won’t be joining the Whitecaps after all.
Jamaican youth international Andre Lewis, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, has signed with the NASL’s New York Cosmos, sources confirmed to Goal USA on Friday.
When reached for comment on the signing, Cosmos CEO Erik Stover confirmed that the Cosmos have reached an agreement on contract in principle.
"We agreed to a deal in principle with the player a while ago, and he's under contract with us now pending approval from U.S. Soccer," Stover told Goal USA. "We haven't made an official announcement yet since we're in the process of finalizing the terms of the developmental agreement with his club in Jamaica."
Whitecaps officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the club tweeted late Friday that MLS has signed the player.
Lewis isn’t the first MLS draft pick to wind up signing elsewhere after being drafted. In 2008, goalkeeper Dominic Cervi went to Europe in search of a contract after passing up a minimum salary contract from the Chicago Fire as the No. 12 player taken in the 2008 MLS Draft. In 2004, Canadian forward Olivier Occean signed with Norwegian side Odd Grenland after being spotted during preseason with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, who had selected him with the No. 26 overall pick in the MLS Draft.
The development is another embarrassing player personnel fiasco for a Whitecaps side still coping with the fallout of MLS Golden Boot winner Camilo’s highly publicized departure from the club. Camilo was sold by the Whitecaps after having gone to Mexico and posing with a Queretaro jersey as if he had signed, despite the fact he was still under contract with Vancouver.
The fact that the Cosmos were able to sign Lewis may come as a surprise to some considering he was just drafted by the Whitecaps, but MLS draft picks are generally not signed until after being drafted and taking part in training camp. Usually only Generation adidas players (top college underclassmen) and select top seniors are signed to contracts before the draft.