The Vancouver Whitecaps' rebuilding process just got a boost.
The 'Caps won Thursday's weighted lottery for American midfielder/forward Lee Nguyen, beating out five other clubs for the US international's MLS rights. Nguyen signed a multi-year deal with the league on Dec. 6.
Vancouver had the highest probability of winning with 47.6 percent, while Canadian rivals Toronto FC were second with a 38.3 percent chance. FC Dallas, Houston, Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy also participated.
“We’re very excited to add a talented player like Lee,” Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie said in a statement. “He’s a young player with a bright future. We look forward to seeing him in preseason.”
The Dallas-area native has spent the last three years plying his trade in his parents' homeland of Vietnam with Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (2009-10) and Becamex Binh Duong FC (2010-11), scoring 14 goals in 29 V-League appearances. Nguyen became the first American to play professionally in Vietnam, and was the highest-paid athlete in the country.
Prior to his stint in the V-League, the 25-year-old played two seasons each at Dutch power PSV Eindhoven and Danish club Randers FC.
Nguyen has three caps with the US senior national team, all in 2007 and including two appearances in the Copa América, but has never played in MLS.
“I’m really excited to be joining Whitecaps FC and to help this club push forward,” Nguyen said in a statement. “I can’t wait to get the season started.”
The attacker becomes Vancouver's third acquisition of the offseason, joining Korean veteran defender Lee Young-Pyo and Home Grown midfielder Bryce Alderson.