Transfer Tracker

Vancouver Whitecaps sign Scottish midfielder Ryan Gauld to Designated Player deal


The Vancouver Whitecaps have landed their long-needed attacking midfielder, signing Ryan Gauld from SC Farense in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, the club announced Saturday.

Gauld, who signed a Designated Player contract through 2024, ranked first in key passes and sixth in assists while leading SC Farense in goals last season.

“We are very pleased to welcome Ryan to our club,” Whitecaps sporting director and CEO Axel Schuster said in a statement. “We identified Ryan at the attacking midfield position early in the offseason and began our formal pursuit at the start of January. It was a complicated process due to several factors, but as he was our top target, we never gave up. He is a difference-maker, brings experience, as well as an exceptional work rate, all qualities we identified as being key characteristics that we need in this position. Ryan and his representatives have been a pleasure to work with and we are thrilled that he is committed for the next three-plus years to not only this club but the city and people of Vancouver.”

The 25-year-old Scottish playmaker had nine goals and seven assists a year ago, and was one of only three players last season in the Portuguese Primeira Liga to finish top 10 in both goals and assists – ranking sixth in assists, while leading SC Farense in goals and being ninth overall.

He also led the league in key passes per game, expected assists and shot opportunities created, while landing in the top five in shots, corners, free kicks, and penalty goals scored. That was a year after being named Portugal’s Liga Pro Player of the Year for helping lead Farense to promotion.

"Ryan is a player that we have been following for a long time,” Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said. “He’s an attacking midfielder who can provide us with a lot of options between lines. He has very good delivery and is very dynamic without the ball. He also brings leadership qualities and experience to the group, which will help our young players next to him grow and become better. We are very glad to have him joining our club.”

A product of the Dundee United youth system, Gauld made his professional debut at the age of 16 in 2012. After a little more than two years in the Scottish Premiership, Gauld signed with Portugal’s Sporting CP in 2014. Following loan stints with Vitória FC, CD Aves, and SC Farense in the Primeira Liga and Hibernian FC in Scotland, Gauld made a permanent move to Farense in 2019.

In total, Gauld has 233 appearances across all competitions, scoring 40 goals.

“I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to play for Vancouver Whitecaps FC,” Gauld said. “From day one they have made me feel very wanted and that means a lot. I’m looking forward to meeting my teammates, getting on the training pitch, and coming to play at BC Place in front of the passionate supporters.”

Internationally, Gauld has featured for Scotland’s U-19 and U-21 sides.