Vancouver Whitecaps ink U-17 World Cup veteran 'keeper Marco Carducci to Homegrown deal

The Vancouver Whitecaps got a little more Canadian on Tuesday with the signing of goalkeeper Marco Carducci to a Homegrown player contract.

The 17-year-old Carducci is a product of the Whitecaps Residency program and backstopped the Canadian national team at last year's FIFA U-17 World Cup.

“We’re very excited to add Marco to the first team,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said in a club statement. “Marco is a product of our youth development setup and we’re confident that he is ready to make the next step. He is a promising young goalkeeper who is mature beyond his years.”

Carducci will presumably slot in as the No. 3 goalkeeper behind starter David Ousted and backup Paolo Tornaghi. He joins Sam AdekugbeBryce AldersonCaleb Clarke and Russell Teibert among Vancouver's current stable of Homegrown signings.

"I'm really looking forward to this opportunity," the Calgary native said in a statement. "Spending the last two-and-a-half years with the Residency program, I saw a lot of the support from the club and fans right from the start. Now to be able to make the next step up to the first team is a huge honor for me. That was always my goal coming in and I'm really excited for the future."

Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Carducci joined the Whitecaps FC Residency program in September 2011 and has been a standout ever since. During the 2011-12 US Soccer Development Academy U-16 season, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound goalkeeper posted a 10-4-0 record and eight clean sheets in helping Vancouver win the West Conference, Northwest Division.

In his second year with the club, Carducci started 19 of 21 appearances with the U-16s and recorded four clean sheets. This season, as a member of the Whitecaps U-18 squad, Carducci has posted two clean sheets in his four USSDA appearances.

Last month, he allowed just two goals in four preseason appearances with the first team.

Internationally, the two-time Canadian U-17 Player of the Year has recorded eight caps with the Canadian Under-17 national team after making his youth national team debut at the age of 15. He won a bronze medal with Canada at the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, starting all four matches and recording a clean sheet in the tournament opener against Trinidad and Tobago.

In October 2013, Carducci also started all three matches for the Red-and-White at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. He was Canada’s player of the match in a 2-2 draw with Austria and a standout in their 1-1 draw with Iran, who launched 23 shots towards the goal, including 12 on target.