The core of Martin Rennie's defense now appears complete.
On Wednesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps signed Greg Klazura, the 21st overall pick in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft, to the club’s 30-man roster.
“It’s a real honor to be a Whitecap,” Klazura told WhitecapsFC.com. “Great fans, great facilities, great support. I’m thrilled to be here, be part of the organization and really looking forward to kicking off the year.”
Klazura’s signing means the ‘Caps now have two players for each position across the back line, and it’s expected the Rockford, Ill., native will back up starting right fullback Lee Young-Pyo.
The 23-year-old describes himself as an attack-minded fullback, but has played on the left as well, which will give Rennie plenty of flexibility.
“I’ve been really impressed with Greg Klazura,” the head coach said. “I think he’s a very versatile player, good athlete. He can play right back or left back. He’s shown really well in training and really well in the games we’ve played – he’s been responsible for at least two of the goals we’ve scored, just from his pressure and defending.
“He seems very eager to learn and willing to put in the work, and I think he’s got a really good chance to be an important player for us.”
For Klazura, who was one of the veterans on last season’s University of Notre Dame squad and co-captained the side, it’s a bit of a role reversal stepping into a professional team with many more senior players.
“Being a captain at a university like Notre Dame is a real honor and something I took a lot of pride in,” Klazura said. “That’s one thing actually the veterans have been telling me to work on here. Whenever you come into a new squad, talking to new teammates, that’s one thing I have to be conscious of is making sure I’m talking a lot on the field because sometimes that can be tough as a newcomer when you used to be the old guy on the team.”
The defender, who Rennie quipped will “fit in well with all the intellectuals” at the club given his pre-med studies at Notre Dame, feels his education has only begun.
“There’s a lot of guys on the backline with great experience, playing on national teams,” Klazura said. “Joe Cannon, [Lee], Jay DeMerit, Alain [Rochat], Jordan Harvey – those are guys that have played a lot of years in the league and at a very high level, so you can just learn so much from those guys.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com