Whitecaps sign Jake Nerwinski to MLS Contract


Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced Thursday that SuperDraft pick Jake Nerwinski has signed an MLS contract for 2017.

Jake Nerwinski has earned his first MLS contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Whitecaps announced on Thursday that the 22-year-old defender has signed an MLS contract for 2017. The contract includes options for 2018, 2019, and 2020.

The ‘Caps selected Nerwinski with their seventh pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. At the time, it was unclear whether he would play with Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 in the USL or join the senior team. However, impressive performances during the recent Welsh preseason tour seem to have convinced Carl Robinson that Nerwinski is MLS-ready.

Nerwinski plays as a natural right back, but he’s also able to play on the left side of defense. He was a co-captain while playing for the University of Connecticut Huskies, so can hopefully bring some much-needed leadership to the back four. He was also a member of the Spanish Honors Society at UConn, so should be able to chat with the ‘Caps other recent signing, Peruvian Yordy Reyna.

One down, two to go

Robinson has now addressed one of the biggest problem positions for Vancouver last season, the right back position. Gone are Jordan Smith and Fraser Aird, replaced by Sheanon Williams from Houston Dynamo and now Nerwinski.

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Williams will likely start, with Nerwinski seeing minutes in the Canadian Championship and on lengthy road trips. Robinson indicated as much when quoted on the Whitecaps website.

"Jake has come in and done very well. He understands the game, very fit, and will provide competition for Sheanon at the right back position."

However, Nerwinski should have plenty of opportunities if Williams falters. Robinson is no stranger to putting faith in his youth players. Tim Parker, the Whitecaps’ 2015 SuperDraft pick, was playing regularly by the end of his rookie season and was a starting center back last year.

With the right side of defense sorted, two major holes are left for Robinson to address. The club is apparently “working day and night” to bring in a DP striker, something they’ve been working on since last year without any success.

The other gap is in central midfield, and according to sports journalist Kristan Heneage, the ‘Caps are also targeting a DP quality player at that position.

It’s possible that this lines up with the suggestion from MLS commissioner Don Garber this week that the league could subsidize a Canadian DP. If so, the rumored midfielder could well be Atiba Hutchinson.

The Whitecaps are 10 days away from their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg in New York. If they are really taking the tournament seriously, key players will need to be signed. So hopefully we’ll be seeing some action in the next week.

Related Story: Top Five Whitecaps 2017 MLS Matches

What moves do you see the Whitecaps making in the next 10 days? Leave us your comments below.