The team announced the signing of 18-year-old Richmond, B.C. native Caleb Clarke on Tuesday. He joins Bryce Alderson, Canada’s two-time U-17 Player of the Year, and Canadian national U-20 and U-23 player Russell Teibert on the roster.
Clarke was on the roster of coach Nick Dasovic’s national U-20 identification camp late last year.
The move came on the same day that the Whitecaps announced that Residency head coach and technical director Richard Grootscholten would be leaving the club, effective Friday.
Grootscholten’s departure comes as a surprise — but Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said that the “building blocks” have been put in place for the Residency and that Grootscholten has achieved what he had set out to accomplish.
But Grootscholten’s departure comes less than three months after ex-TFC Academy man Stuart Neely was named the Whitecaps Residency’s head of player management and advancement.
But, in his final week on the job, Grootscholten saw one of his charges make the move up.
“Caleb is a powerful striker with great finishing abilities,” said Whitecaps’ head coach Martin Rennie in a release. “He has been part of the club as a member of the Residency program for over two years and has progressed well from our Residency program into our first team. We’re excited to add another young Canadian talent to our MLS squad.”
Clarke, a striker, scored 20 goals in 19 matches during the 2011-12 USSDA season.
With the Amway Canadian Championship match coming up next Wednesday in Edmonton after Saturday’s road date in Columbus, it will be interesting to see what kind of squad Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie names against and FC Edmonton team that is winless through its first four Div.-2 matches of the season.