With on-field training set to begin on February 23rd at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 signed its first three players on Tuesday. Jacksoon Farmer, Jordan Haynes, and Mitch Piraux will now go into the history books as the foundation on which Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 was built.
Vancouver's newest club, which can trace its roots all the way back to November 21st, 2014, is set to play its inaugural match in Tukwila, Washington, when they visit Seattle Sounders FC 2 on March 29th. From there, they'll head to Austin, Orange County, and Sacramento, before finally returning home to Thunderbird Stadium for their first ever home match against Toronto FC II at 3:00 PM on April 19th.
Farmer, Haynes, and Piraux are all graduates of the Whitecaps academy system, and for now at least, they will continue to wear numbers 41, 42, and 37. While that might be for simplicity's sake, it could also mean that WFC2 will be heavily integrated with the senior squad, and the higher numbers might appeal to those more familiar with other sports.
"We're excited to add three great, young promising players who have come a long way over the last four years with the Whitecaps FC Residency program," said manager Alan Koch, who was appointed on January 30th. "This is an important opportunity in their own development to play in a professional league. I'm looking forward to seeing them excel, and hopefully this will push them on the next level."
Farmer, 19-year old centre back, spent last year on loan with the Charleston Battery of the United League, starting twice, coming on as a substitute once, and made the 18 on two other occasions. He also has an international cap to his credit, coming on for the last few minutes against Mauritania in 2013, and has since been part of the 18 on three other occasions. Before he was signed by WFC2, he had been taking part in the senior squad's training camp.
A versatile player, Haynes's defensive effort saw him trusted to start at the back, but his offensive prowess has enabled him score to 10 goals in 70 matches with the U18s, only 11 of those being as a substitution. Still, the 19-year old is probably best suited to a role in midfield. He has taken part in the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup, and the 2015 CONCACAF U20 Championship. He also made eight appearances with the Whitecaps' U23 side last year.
Like Farmer, Piraux had been training with the first team this year. Since 2011, the native of Calgary, Alberta, has gone on to start in 56 out of 61 appearances with the U18s, scoring 10 goals during that time. Although far from the tallest player on the pitch at 5'8", Piraux is an intelligent and dependable midfielder whose game relies on skill rather than power. As Matías Laba and Russell Teibert have already shown with the first team, while size does matter, it's not the only way to become a professional footballer.