Nigel Reo-Coker has accepted an offer from the Vancouver Whitecaps to bring the former England Under 21 midfielder to Major League Soccer. The deal will be announced once the Whitecaps complete the paperwork.
He is flying out to join his new teammates on Thursday morning and will become a Whitecaps player pending immigration and medical formalities.
The final hurdles were overcome when Caps head coach Martin Rennie reached an agreement with Portland Timbers General Manager Gavin Wilkinson for his Discovery Rights which were eventually swapped for the natural second-round picks in the 2014 and the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
That whole process had led to a lengthy delay to a transfer which the Caps were ready to complete weeks ago.
Thereafter the player’s agent and Rennie had to hammer out the financial details, a process that was completed on Tuesday when Rennie met with Whitecaps FC President Bob Lenarduzzi upon his arrival in Carolina where the team is preparing for the season.
Despite a Corey Hertzog opener, the side went down 2-1 to Houston Dynamo tonight. Will Bruin and Adam Moffat scored for Houston against a mostly reserve Whitecaps squad, with the Scotsman’s winner coming from 25 yards out.
Reo-Coker will not acquire DP status in year one and that there will be performance related bonuses in any second or third year if he is to acquire it.
Earlier in the week, an unnamed Russian club had offered $700,000 net for four months work to the end of the 2013 season but Reo-Coker refused it, citing his preference to start his career at the Vancouver club fit and rested rather than arrive mid season from another league.
Speaking to us from his London home, Reo-Coker said he was eager to arrive and kick a football rather than his heels:
“I am very excited and looking forward to this great new challenge in Vancouver. The MLS is a growing league, and growing in stature every year which makes it even more exciting.
I still know the best is yet to come from me as a player. I’m 28 and know there is more to come. I would love to contribute to this growing league and love to help Vancouver win the title.”
Reo-Coker had expressed a preference for the Whitecaps having been initially impressed with Rennie and had sat on his hands while the internal workings of Major League Soccer’s Discovery Rights process made the move possible. There is a chance that the whole episode may prompt a review of the Discovery Rights procedure.
The next stage in Reo-Coker’s football career is now beginning and early indications are that Rennie may want to try him in the right back role to augment a highly experienced back line that already has YP Lee, Andy O’Brien and Jay DeMerit available, with a combined total of 178 international caps for South Korea, the Republic of Ireland and the USA.