"Derek is one of the top young players in a new generation of Canadian talent," said Whitecaps FC manager Marc Dos Santos. "For his age, he has the right composure and characteristics we look for at the centre back position. We have followed his progress... and believe he has developed in the right way. He has also been exposed to different environments, and this is always good for a player’s development. We are working hard to build this [squad] and will be announcing additional player acquisitions very soon."
Cornelius, 21, is the son of a Barbadian father and a Jamaican mother. He comes to the 'Caps after having spent the last six years between Russia, Germany, and most recently, Serbia.
After starting 20 of FK Javor Ivanjica's matches during last year's relegation hit season, the Canadian has struggled for minutes, playing only three times.
Prior to Serbian second-tier Ivanjica, he spent time with the German fifth-tier VfR Neumünster, fourth-tier VfB Lübeck, and Russian second-tier CSKA Moscow, though much of it as an academy player.
"Vancouver is a club that I’ve followed for a few years and I’m extremely excited to now be a part of it," said Cornelius. "This is a good opportunity for me to show the city and club what I can do as an individual and to not just come through, but to really leave my mark here. I look forward to playing in front of the passionate supporters and doing whatever it takes to help the club win."