Despite a report that Vancouver Whitecaps draftee Andre Lewis has signed with the New York Cosmos of the NASL, both Major League Soccer and the Whitecaps confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Friday night that the talented 19-year-old Jamaican midfielder is indeed signed by MLS and that he could suit up for the 'Caps in 2014.
Goal.com on Friday reported that Lewis – the seventh overall pick in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft – signed with the reigning NASL champions some time before the draft.
However, a spokesperson for MLS told MLSsoccer.com on Friday evening that conversations with the Cosmos have already taken place in the event Lewis makes the team.
"MLS has an agreement with Lewis and the Cosmos for him to join MLS and Vancouver, provided certain conditions are met," MLS vice president of player personnel Lino DiCuollo said. "In the event the Whitecaps want to retain the player, as of the roster compliance date (March 1), then he will be with them on a loan or after a transfer from the Cosmos."
Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson corroborated those details on Friday evening in addressing reporters at Vancouver International Airport, saying the club was made aware of the agreement between MLS and the Cosmos prior to the SuperDraft. (See video above.)
According to the Goal.com report, MLS teams were apparently unaware during the player Combine last week that Lewis trained with the Cosmos last November and traveled with the club during its tour of Spain. Additionally, Cosmos CEO Erik Stover told the website, Lewis agreed to a deal some time between the MLS Combine and Thursday's MLS SuperDraft, which he did not attend.
"We agreed to a deal in principle with the player a while ago, and he's under contract with us now pending approval from U.S. Soccer," Stover said. “We haven't made an official announcement yet since we're in the process of finalizing the terms of the developmental agreement with his club in Jamaica."
The Cosmos have signed a number of players from the MLS ranks since their reemergence last year, including former New York Red Bulls defender Carlos Mendes, journeyman defender Hunter Freeman and winger Peri Marosevic, who played for both FC Dallas and Toronto FC.