Transfer Tracker

Canada defender Sam Adekugbe returns to Vancouver Whitecaps

Sam Adekugbe VAN transfer


Vancouver Whitecaps FC have brought homegrown defender Sam Adekugbe back to the club, announcing Thursday morning he has joined from Turkish top-flight side Hatayspor.

Adekugbe's deal runs through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027, giving the club two established Canadian international fullbacks signed before the Secondary Transfer Window closed Wednesday evening. The Whitecaps also acquired Richie Laryea on loan from English Premier League side Nottingham Forest through December 2023, elevating their Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs push.

"We are very excited to welcome Sam back to our club," Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director, said in a release. "Since I arrived in Vancouver, Sam has been on my radar as he fits the profile we look to attract.

"He brings a wealth of experience from his time overseas, was an important member in helping Canada qualify for the men’s World Cup and is obviously very familiar with our club. Sam believes in what we are building here and wants to help us take the next step."

Adekugbe, 28, previously spent 2013-17 with Vancouver amid several loans to European clubs. His career has blossomed over the last half-decade, highlighted by nearly 160 appearances across Vålerenga (Norway) and Hatayspor and Galatasaray (both Turkey).

While playing for Canada, Adekugbe has scored once in 41 appearances. He played in all three of Les Rouges' World Cup games last fall, helping snap his country's 36-year absence from the tournament.

The Whitecaps' busy transfer window comes with head coach Vanni Sartini's side sitting seventh in the Western Conference table (31 points; 8W-7L-7L record).