After several days of speculation, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced the signing of Costa Rican central defender Kendall Waston on Friday morning, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and medical exam
Waston will become the latest Tico player to make the move to Major League Soccer, including Alvaro Saborio at Real Salt Lake and a trio of players at the Columbus Crew. The 26-year-old spoke with his countrymen about what to expect in MLS before deciding to make the switch from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa.
"I know that they play hard, always," Waston said of MLS in an interview with the Whitecaps this week. "The intensity of the game is very good, very high. I'm very excited to come here because I know that I can get to a better level of myself.
"The MLS level is more than Costa Rica but I hope that I can adapt very good for what the coach and teammates want. The most important thing is that everyone joined the club to reach the same goal."
For the Whitecaps right now, that goal is to get themselves back into the playoff places in the Western Conference and the addition of Waston gives Vancouver a much needed aerial presence in both boxes.
The 'Caps have struggled to score on set pieces in recent seasons, with only Carlyle Mitchell having found the back of the net from their current crop of central defenders. Waston’s addition will now add a new dynamic and threat to the team.
- Get more Vancouver Whitecaps news at WhitecapsFC.com
"In Costa Rica last season, I scored 9 goals," Waston said. "Hopefully now I can get the opportunity as a starter and after help the team with some goals. It's very important because now, the games are so close and we know in any free kick or a corner, to make a goal from a header would be good.
"I like to play hard because of my height. I like to go for the corners and free kicks and have good headers. The first thing about me, is that I play for the team. My first job is to have security in the defense for the rest of the team."
Waston, who has also played a little bit as a striker, will train with his new team for the first time on Saturday, and the Whitecaps are understandably excited by what the Costa Rican international can add to the squad in this crucial part of the season.
"[He’s] very athletic”, Whitecaps president Bobby Lenarduzzi told Vancouver’s Team 1040 radio. “He was someone who was on the verge of the Costa Rican side that did very, very well at the last World Cup. What we were looking for was someone who could come in and be dominant at the back.
"He's a big boy, got good speed. Very aggressive, comfortable on the ball and someone who can ideally shore up our defense and compliment the other players that we've got there."