Vancouver Whitecaps sign Iraqi left back Ali Adnan on loan from Udinese

Ali Adnan with Iraq


The Vancouver Whitecaps have signed Iraqi international left back Ali Adnan on loan through the end of June, the club announced Saturday. The 25-year-old, who will return to his parent club Udinese Calcio of Serie A when the loan expires on June 30, is the first-ever Iraqi-born player in Major League Soccer.

Adnan, who is expected to arrive in Vancouver next week, has vast international experience. He’s made 49 appearances for Iraq, scoring four goals. He most recently competed in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in January, where he scored a last-minute game-winner on a free kick against Vietnam in the group stage and was named to the tournament’s Best XI by Fox Sports Asia.

“We evaluated every opportunity that was possible, and this loan allows us to strengthen the left back position while we continue to explore the market for the July transfer window,” Whitecaps FC coach Marc Dos Santos said in a statement. “Ali is physically gifted, aggressive, strong in the air, and he will bring balance to the team with his defensive mindset. He’s excited to come here and experience playing in Vancouver before he returns to Italy.”

Adnan made a combined 68 appearances in Italy's Serie A with Udinese and on loan with Atalanta. The 6-foot-1 left back also made 41 appearances in Turkey's Super Lig with Rizespor.

Adnan will occupy an international roster spot and officially join the club's roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC), work permit, and visas, as well as a medical examination.

“I am very much looking forward to joining the Whitecaps,” Adnan said. “I know it is an important club with ambition and a strong fan base. I talked with head coach Dos Santos a lot before signing so I’m excited by the prospect of working with him, all the staff, and my new teammates.”

Adnan began his career with his hometown youth club Baghdad FC, playing two seasons with the first team in the Iraqi Premier League.