Vancouver FC Signs Both Draft Picks Ahead Of First Season
Vancouver FC has signed both of its draft picks ahead of the club’s inaugural season.
As the league’s newest club, the Langley-based expansion side received the top two picks for the 2023 CPL-U SPORTS Draft, where they selected University of Toronto and TSS Rovers defender Anthony White first overall, with Toronto Metropolitan University and ProStars FC striker Ameer Kinani following right after.
Both have featured regularly through preseason camp, with Ameer Kinani finding the net in several of the team’s exhibition matches.
First overall pick Anthony White has now put pen to paper on a two-year deal with club options running all the way through to 2026. That means his U SPORTS eligibility will be forfeited, with the Port Moody native – who made history as the youngest first overall pick in league history – keen to prove his worth at the CPL level.
“I am proud of all of the hard work it took to get to this moment and grateful to Vancouver for making this investment in me,” says White. “As a young player, it is a luxury to know where I will be playing for the foreseeable future, and I look forward to living up to the faith Afshin and everyone at VFC has placed in me.”
The youngster had turned heads even before the draft, with the left-sided centre-back having helped the TSS Rovers win the inaugural League1 BC Championship last year before joining Vancouver FC through the draft.
“Anthony has impressed since his first kick at the first training,” reflects head coach Afshin Ghotbi. “Mature beyond his age, Anthony possesses all the qualities, potential and ambition to become a top footballer. We look forward to his development and performances in the upcoming season and beyond.”
Striker Ameer Kinani was one we’d said could make the jump to the pro level this year, and he’ll now test himself on a U SPORTS contract that will keep his eligibility to play at the post-secondary level intact.
The 21-year-old has scored goals aplenty in preseason, and that’s something he has a great track record with: he bagged an astounding 17 goals with League1 Ontario side ProStars FC last year, while also tallying 7 goals for TMU.
Kinani has also represented Iraq at the youth level, being called up for the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship before joining Spanish Segunda Division B side FC Cartagena for a year and a half.
“Ameer is a born goal scorer, who combines the bravery, intelligence and coolness of an international striker,” says Ghotbi. “He has an eye and nose for the goal, making him an exciting addition to our squad. VFC fans are in for a treat, watching the evolution of a true goal scorer.”
Kinani enters the fold with firm belief that he’s a first-team player, and seems keen to establish himself at the CPL level whilst on his U SPORTS deal. If all goes to plan, this season won’t be the last we see of the Canadian-Iraqi striker.
White’s arrival ensures that the club will have three domestic U-21 players for the upcoming season, and we wouldn’t be surprise if teenage prospect TJ Tahid signs on when he turns sixteen in April, either.
Header Image Credits: Vancouver FC / Beau Chevalier