He didn’t come into MLS with the biggest reputation, but Brazilian attacker Camilo sure left an impression in his first season. In the process, he earned himself a new deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, which was announced on Wednesday.
“It’s hugely important,” head coach Martin Rennie said of Camilo’s new deal to WhitecapsFC.com. “He’s a fantastic player, great guy to have in our team and he’s shown so much last season. Now that he knows the league and knows the city, he has so much to offer us.”
Camilo, who looked equally comfortable out wide or through the middle of the Vancouver attack in 2011, had time remaining on his original contract but felt he was due for a raise after earning the Whitecaps Player of the Year award.
It seems Martin Rennie and the club agreed, rewarding Camilo with improved terms.
“I am very happy to sign this new contract with Whitecaps FC,” Camilo said in a club statement. “I am really enjoying my time in Vancouver and the support of the Whitecaps FC fans. I aim to build on all that I achieved last season and help Whitecaps FC become a top club in MLS and the CONCACAF region.”
And as good as Camilo was last season, there’s a feeling he could go on to become even better. After all, he’s only 23, and in 2011 managed to score 12 goals despite learning a new language, playing in an unfamiliar league and playing for a struggling team.
In a season that was tumultuous and unpredictable, the one thing the ‘Caps could always rely on was an honest effort from Camilo.
Of his 12 goals, five were on the road. And it wasn’t just quantity: Camilo delivered quality as well, scoring blinders from a variety of spots, and looking equally adept with either foot as well as his head.
Perhaps it was his first start for Vancouver that sums him up best, when he shell-shocked Sporting Kansas City at Empire Field on April 2 with two stoppage-time goals to salvage a 3-3 draw.
With Camilo’s Whitecaps future secured, Sébastien Le Toux’s arrival on Tuesday and the continuing presence of Eric Hassli, Vancouver are now the only club to have three players signed with a double-digit MLS scoring record in 2011, meaning a repeat as the lowest-scoring team in the league seems very unlikely.
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com