VANCOUVER, B.C. — Omar Salgado got to taste life in Major League Soccer this season, and he’s about to get a chance to train with an English Premier League team.
The first overall pick in last year’s MLS SuperDraft is off to London, where he’ll train with Fulham FC from Nov. 17 to Dec. 4.
“It will be an excellent experience,” Salgado told WhitecapsFC.com. “It is always good to be able to train with different teams and experience different styles and environments. Opportunities like this help me grow as a player and a person.”
For the 18-year-old Salgado, it’s his second chance to play with some of England’s best, having trained with Everton FC last fall, and the Whitecaps hope the extra experience can help him push on to the next level.
“This is a great opportunity for Omar to continue with his development,” head coach Martin Rennie said. “Not only has he grown as a player in the last year with our club, his involvement with the United States national team program has helped him improve as a professional. We’re excited that Omar will have the chance to learn in a top professional environment like Fulham FC.”
The move follows Salgado’s training camp with the US Under-23 team, as the Americans prepare for London 2012 Olympic qualifying matches this summer in March and April. At the camp, players were split into U-23 and U-20 levels, as newly hired U-20 coach Tab Ramos wanted to have a look at the players that will form the core of his country’s push for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey 2013.
“[Ramos] said that it’s our group and we will have to lead the team to the U-20 World Cup,” Salgado said. “The process is just starting and there are less than two years until the World Cup so we have a long journey in front of us.”
Salgado played 64 minutes up front for a very young U-23 squad in a 0-0 draw with Azerbaijan in a friendly match on Friday. While a draw against that sort of opposition didn’t flatter the Americans, it’s worth keeping in mind that Ramos, who took charge of the match, clearly had an eye toward the U-20 World Cup qualifying campaign, starting eight players eligible for Turkey 2013.
“It was a difficult match for the whole team,” Salgado said. “It was our first game together and we didn’t have that chemistry that we needed to win the game. However, I think in the end we did well and we are able to take the positives out of it and bring them to future matches and camps.”
Salgado scored one goal and added an assist in 14 appearances for the Whitecaps this season.
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.
WATCH: Salgado opens his MLS account