One of the brightest, young goalkeeping prospects in MLS is heading to England to play for Leicester City’s academy.
The Vancouver Whitecaps announced Thursday that Chituru Odunze, 16, was signed to a Development Squad deal, and then transferred to the Premier League club. The transfer includes performance bonuses and the Whitecaps will retain a percentage of any future transfer fees.
“We are very proud of the player that Chituru has developed into, both on the pitch and off,” said Craig Dalrymple, Whitecaps FC player development and academy recruitment director. “This is a fantastic opportunity for him, and another milestone for the club in terms of our development structure. In less than a year of the Development Squad, we have already seen Thomas Hasal signed to the first team and now Chituru transferred to a top-tier English club. We wish Chituru all the best in this exciting new challenge.”
Odunze was the club’s 18th Homegrown Player signing and the fourth to be transferred to a European club.
Odunze joined Vancouver at 14 and has amassed experienced with the U.S. U-17 men’s national team. He also holds citizenship in Canada and the United Kingdom, plus featured prominently for Vancouver at the 2019 Generation adidas Cup.
Early in his youth days, Odunze spent three years in the Chelsea FC academy, and later at Cardiff City FC and West Ham United.
“It’s a dream come true to take the next step in my career at a big club like Leicester City FC,” said Odunze. “I’m really grateful for everything that Vancouver Whitecaps FC have done for me. I would like to thank the coaches, staff, and my teammates for how they have helped me grow as a player, and especially Raegyn Hall and Jordan Santiago for coaching me as a goalkeeper.”