VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps have been one of the busiest MLS sides this summer transfer window, shoring up their defense and bolstering their attack.
Amongst the new faces is experienced 29-year-old defender David Edgar. Coming to Vancouver after a season with English League One side Sheffield United, the Canadian international saw his first minutes in a Whitecaps shirt in Tuesday night's friendly against Crystal Palace.
Edgar played an hour, opening the scoring with a nice header five minutes in to the second half, and putting in an overall debut performance that delighted Carl Robinson and showed why the 'Caps coach was so keen to add the Canadian to his squad.
"I thought he was good," Robinson said of Edgar. "I talk about fundamentals in football, he does them very well. His defending, his footwork. He’s reading, he never puts himself in [bad] positions. It was a good positive 60 minutes for him, so I’m pleased with that."
After leaving Canada to join Newcastle United's academy as a 14-year-old, Edgar has played all of his club soccer in England, but the lure of coming back home at some stage of his career was always in his plans. The timing felt right now and a lengthy chat with Robinson sealed the deal.
"Speaking to the manager and hearing his philosophy really helped me sway my decision," Edgar said. "But I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. It’s always been in the back of my mind. When this came up, it was almost too good to turn down. I’m 29 now, it’s scary, and I’m not getting younger. This league’s only growing, and you can see it getting bigger worldwide. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be a part of."
Edgar has been on the Whitecaps' radar for a while, helped by the Canadian national team establishing Vancouver as their home base for the current round of World Cup qualifiers. It's taken a while, but Robinson has finally gotten his man.
"I spoke to the manager probably six months ago when I was here with the Canadian team," Edgar revealed. "He basically said, I’m interested in you. It was unfortunate because I didn’t play that game in front of him, and he was here to watch. But he knew what I was about and we’ve kept in touch, and he’s always said I want you to be part of this squad."
Edgar can play as a center back or defensive midfielder, but the Whitecaps are looking at him more for his defensive attributes, and are keen to bring his experience and vocal presence to a backline that has been shipping goals this season.
"I’m talking non-stop during the game," Edgar said. "I’m trying to organize. I had to catch my breath [against Palace], but that’s sort of what I pride myself on, organizing. It makes everyone’s life easier if there’s a voice back there."
With those first minutes now under his belt, Edgar is eager to see his first MLS action. That may come as early as this weekend when Vancouver head to Houston (9:30pm ET; TSN in Canada, MLS LIVE in US) for the first of a tough four-game road stretch, and Edgar says he's ready for action.
"I’m ready to go now when called upon, I’m available for selection," Edgar said. "I stayed fit over the summer. I had some games for Canada. I had a couple of weeks off there, but I tried to work on my fitness. But we had a great week here with the staff, doing some extra bits and pieces. That got me up to speed quite quick and I feel good."