Canadian Under-17 national-team star Keven Aleman could be suiting up for the Whitecaps in the near future, MLSsoccer.com has learned.
According to sources within the Canadian Soccer Association, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are currently the owners of the talented attacking midfielder's MLS rights. Reports earlier on Wednesday indicated that the 17-year-old Toronto FC Academy product was the "future considerations" part of the trade earlier this month that sent former 'Cap Terry Dunfield to TFC.
But getting Aleman to suit up in a blue-and-white kit might not be so simple. Toronto FC released Aleman in May following his refusal to sign a letter of commitment to the club because he had hoped to try out for teams in Europe.
If the Whitecaps can convince the Costa Rica-born Canadian that MLS is the best place to nurture his talent, it could be a coup for Vancouver. Aleman was a key driving force behind Canada qualifying for their first U-17 World Cup in 16 years — he scored five goals in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in February, helping the Canucks to the final where they lost a thriller in extra time to the USA.
“Keven’s a great player, a special player,” Canada’s U-17 head coach Sean Fleming told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Wednesday. “He can split defenses apart and make defenders look silly at times. He’s getting better and better at bringing his teammates into the game. He scored a great second goal for us to qualify for the World Cup against Trinidad [and Tobago], which was made out of his individual ability.”
The midfielder hoped to showcase his talents at the World Cup and then see if that led to any opportunities across the pond.
“He was waiting until the World Cup to display his talents and see what happened,” Fleming said. “I think he just wants to go to a place where he’s going to really enjoy it.”
One ray of hope for the ‘Caps could be quotes from Aleman himself following Toronto FC’s decision to release him that indicated playing in MLS was certainly still a possibility.
"I told them I wanted to stay with TFC,” Aleman told CBCsports.ca in May. “I wanted to play there and I wanted to be with the team. … I [just] wanted to leave the door open until after the World Cup.”
The Whitecaps declined to address the Aleman trade rumors specifically, but a team spokesman did reiterate to MLSsoccer.com that "future considerations are just that — future considerations."
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon