Vancouver Whitecaps FC residency product Ethan Gage (above) completed a move to English Championship side Reading FC on Monday before the close of the international transfer window.
Reading confirmed the deal with MLSsoccer.com, adding that the deal is “initially until the end of the season, and we have an option for another 12 months,” according to team press officer Clive Mortimer.
Gage, 19, recently went on a two-week trial with Reading before the club signed him. The club also announced it has signed American Erik Opsahl, an 18-year-old from Rockville, Md., who played collegiately with St. John’s.
"It was more about Eric's qualities, really,” Mortimer said. “He was recommended to us and he came to train. In the words of the director of football, he 'did very well' and now we have a longer chance to look at him."
Added Reading director of football Nick Hammond, "These are two good young players with a fantastic mentality, and both are a very good fit for our club. This is a very good opportunity for us to have an ever closer look at them, with a view to them earning a longer-term contract."
Gage, a product of the highly touted Whitecaps FC residency program, was out of contract before being signed by Reading. The Cochrane, Alberta, native is captain of the Canadian U-20 national team and was named Canadian U-20 player of the year in 2010. He can line up as a defender or midfielder, but played as a defensive midfielder during his trial.
Though nothing official had been announced at the time, Gage was already being congratulated by his former Whitecaps FC teammates while visiting training last week.
“I’ve always been a fan of the Whitecaps,” said Gage. “They’ve been really good to me.”
This is the second consecutive year that a Whitecaps FC youngster is headed to England. Last year the club transferred 22-year-old Marcus Haber to West Bromwich Albion after the 6-foot-3 striker was named 2009 USL-1 Rookie of the Year.