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Imposing forward Salgado making strong preseason impression for Whitecaps


Photo by Jose M. Romero


Early impressions of the No. 1 overall MLS SuperDraft pick, Omar Salgado: The kid can play.

His height stands out immediately. At 6-foot-4, any defender is going to have a hard time with him in the box, even the most physical centerback, because he has to not only push Salgado out of the goal area but keep him as far away from the 18-yard box as possible.

Salgado might need to put on a few pounds so he can shrug off the bumping from the likes of Jamison Olave from Real Salt Lake or Jhon Kennedy Hurtado from the Seattle Sounders, but it was clear from seeing him early in Vancouver Whitecaps preseason training in Arizona that he can make an impact with the new MLS side.

"Just trying to adapt to the rhythm of the game and the speed and adapt to the players that I'm with, that'll be the most important thing," Salgado said. "I haven't proved anything yet."

He's getting there, even if he won't be able to play in an MLS match until September when he turns 18 years old.

Vancouver is trying to win an exemption from FIFA to allow Salgado to play prior to September, because the league spans two nations, the United States and Canada. Salgado holds dual citizenship and is registered to play in the United States and Mexico, but he has to wait until his 18th birthday to be eligible for an international transfer certificate that would allow him to play in Canada, by FIFA rule.

"In the meantime I'll be with the (U.S. U-20) national team, so it's not that bad," Salgado said.

The Whitecaps could probably use Salgado sooner considering their dearth of strikers. The only other forward listed on the current roster is Atiba Harris.

"They will be there, that's for sure," Whitecaps coach Teitur Thordarson vowed, saying that he'd like to add some experienced attackers to the team.

In the meantime, Salgado will continue to get the chance to show off his potential throughout the preseason.

He scored his first preseason goal last week in Arizona, a game-winning header against Columbus to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 result.

"Omar was with us last year (in USSF-2) for a while," Thordarson said. "And I felt during that time that I discovered some great talent in there. I know that it will take a bit of time and we have to be patient with him, but he has qualities that can bring him very far if he is willing to work hard enough."

Salgado's time will come, whether its in September or before. As shocked as he admitted he was at being the first overall pick in the draft, he's happy to be in Vancouver, where he'll finish high school via online courses after his daily training sessions. 

"(Vancouver) is really nice. It rains all day, but it's nice," Salgado said. 


  1. All international transfers of a player under 18 go through the FIFA sub-committee, regardless of existing exemptions. The committee makes the decisions on a case-by-case basis based on the rules and what is best for the player. Even if the player qualifies for an exemption, the sub-committee can still decide not to approve the request for a international transfer certficate. This is consistent with FIFA being able to do F all whenever they damn please.

    From info in this blog entry, MLS is asking FIFA to consider circumstances not included in the regulations — i.e. a league the spans two countries. Now, the question is whether the sub-committee can approve it without formally adding an exemption.

  2. a little devil’s advocate here. i believe the fifa rule is in place to prevent the exploitation of young, often times impoverished, players. i agree that the rule shouldn’t apply in this case, and i think they’ll win the appeal. how many leagues are based in two countries?

  3. Yeah, I was just reading that. So he’d have to live in like Bellingham, WA or somewhere closer to the border. It seems like if they were going that route, they wouldn’t need to appeal since it’s already a listed exception.

  4. Hurtado will give him more than a “bump” in their first meeting, I assure you. Can’t wait to have that physcial presence back in our D.

  5. The quote from the coach was about Salgado’s stint last year, not the pre-season. The impressions very well could be from the head coach, but they could also be from luke skywalker. Unless on super-secret background, a journalist should cite his sources.

  6. If Salgado lives within 100 km of Vancouver, he can have his player registration changed to Canada. This could be the only way Salgado could play the way the rules are written right now. The rule for protection of minors makes sense in theory, but it is focused on the European market. FIFA should add another exemption for countries that share a FIFA-sanctioned league. The relationship between the USA & Canada associations are already linked because of the league, and player registrations should reflect that relationship. That would make the most sense.

    Here’s the FIFA reg if anyone wants to read it:

  7. I really like this kid. Hope they win the appeal. Not to mention I am jealous of the fact that he gets to hang out with the legend that is Jay DeMerit everyday.

  8. He’s 17. They obviously didn’t plan on using him right away anyway – not many 17 year old are ready for pro soccer, are they? Even if he was eligible from the off, he’d barely feature.

  9. Had to wait till he was 18 if im not mistaken OR he qualified through family as he did/does have family in Toronto. I seem to think its the former, other than that he played in reserve games

  10. another impotent FIFA paper law that serves 0 purpose when it comes time to apply it real time . . . a shame if they don’t win the appeal.

  11. Jose’ is interviewing Vancouver’s coaching staff. So, Thordarson (and the other Vancouver people) is saying the Omar can play.

  12. Physically he looks a lot like Peter Crouch. Go back to the home page and scroll down to the Tottenham-AC Milan match review. There’s a photo with Crouch in it.

  13. on Extra Time Radio Omar hinted at that they might be able to use him for all away games in the States which is something to think about.

  14. Makes me excited about the upcoming season. I hope we see him on the field sooner rather than later. Worst case, we’ll see him when they move to BC Place Stadium. Is he a candidate to be part of the U20 WC?

  15. They are also filling an appeal to FIFA. I’m guessing they figured he was worth the wait, but also they would try to get him on the pitch at the beginning of the season if possible.

  16. It is still very odd to me that Vancouver would take him knowing he wouldn’t play. Did they think he wouldn’t be good enough from the get go? Or is he such a great prospect that it was worth the wait?


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