Africa Soccer Developments have added another feather to their cap with the news that their captain, Ethen Sampson, has been offered a two-year deal by MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps.
The 19-year-old underwent trials with the Whitecaps last year and seemingly impressed during his time there, so much so that they have offered him a professional contract. Sampson has spoken of his delight at the move, comparing his new club to his academy, ASD.
He said, "I loved my time on trial in Vancouver, their training sessions were really similar to the training we do at ASD, so it felt like I fit in straight away. I know this is a great opportunity for me, and it’s what I have been striving for. I really hope my move will open more doors for ASD players in the MLS, because ASD has not only made me the player I am today, but also the character I am, both on and off the field".
The defender was named Player of the Tournament at the prestigious Metropolitan Cup in 2011 and received further recognition in the National Engen Tournament where he was chosen as Defender of the Tournament, which subsequently led to a number of PSL clubs looking to secure his services.
ASD director, Mike Steptoe, said, “Ethen is the consummate professional. Since the age of 17 he's had some of the top SA clubs trying to turn his head with the offer of contracts, but Ethen knew he still needed time to develop his game if he were to make it overseas.
“To his credit, he has been remarkably patient in his pursuit of a professional contract, which isn't always easy when teammates are moving on. His family have been incredibly supportive too, his father Victor in particular, and we are all thrilled that Ethen's hard graft has finally resulted in a contract.
“Ethen trialled with the Whitecaps late last year, they have a great set up and we are confident Ethen will continue to develop under head coach, Martin Rennie's, care and guidance.”
The ‘Caps’ became the first Canadian team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs last year, however they were defeated by then defending champions, LA Galaxy.