VANCOUVER, B.C. – Danish goalkeeper David Ousted is the newest member of the Vancouver Whitecaps after joining from Randers FC, but he’ll have to earn his starting job.
That was the word from club president Bob Lenarduzzi on Thursday after the ‘Caps announced the 28-year-old netminder as their latest signing.
The rumors of Ousted’s arrival have been bouncing around since late May, and Whitecaps current starting goalkeeper Brad Knighton reacted to the scuttlebutt this weekend by stating the job is his to lose.
“In terms of the short term, nothing really changes,” Lenarduzzi insisted to MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “Brad is the incumbent, and if Brad continues to do well, then he’ll retain his starting spot.”
Certainly over the team’s next three matches, Knighton will be the man, as the ‘Caps play D.C. United, Sporting KC and the Seattle Sounders before the opening of the North American transfer window on July 9, meaning the first match Ousted would be eligible to play in would be Vancouver’s match on July 14 at home to the Chicago Fire.
Beyond that though, it’s difficult to imagine Knighton holding off the former Danish youth international – who has kept 35 clean sheets in 103 matches for Randers over the past three seasons.
Still, there are no guarantees Ousted will make his debut against the Fire, according to the club’s head honcho.
“He’s coming off of having finished his season a couple of months ago,” Lenarduzzi said. “Everything that I’ve heard about him leads me to believe that he’s going to come into our club fit, but match fitness is significantly different to general fitness.
“What we do want to make sure of is that we give him the best chance possible of success by making sure that when the time comes he’s able to play that he’s actually ready to go rather than throwing him in less-than-ideal circumstances.”
Lenarduzzi said the ‘keeper came to the Whitecaps' attention through their Norwegian goalkeeping coach, Marius Rovde.
“He has a pretty good network throughout Scandinavia,” Lenarduzzi said. “He became aware of David’s status and the fact that he was free and was interested in looking at options outside of Denmark, so once we were aware of that we did our homework, and liked what we saw, and felt we had to make the move now.”
The arrival of the 6-foot-3 Ousted means the Whitecaps will have four goalkeepers on their books, something that Lenarduzzi admits is “unorthodox.” When asked if the club will now be forced to move one of Joe Cannon, Knighton or Simon Thomas, Lenarduzzi suggested there was no rush on that front.
“We’re not actually seeking out opportunities to move people at this time,” Lenarduzzi said. “If something comes up, we would look at it, much like we would look at it for any other position on the team.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.