The Vancouver Whitecaps announced the acquisition of winger/forward Bernie Ibini-Isei on Tuesday, having signed the 24-year-old Australian from Belgian side Club Brugge KV just prior to the close of the 2017 MLS primary transfer window on Monday.
Ibini’s contract with Vancouver runs through through 2018, with a club option for 2019. He will occupy an international roster spot and officially join the Whitecaps’ roster pending receipt of his Canadian work permit and medical exam.
“Bernie is an exciting young player with great upside,” said ‘Caps coach Carl Robinson in a club release. “He's big, powerful, and can play as a wide player or as a center forward. And just as importantly, he's someone who is hungry and keen to prove himself in Major League Soccer. We look forward to working with Bernie to help him reach his potential.”
Ibini just finished his second loan spell with Australian A-League side Sydney FC, where he scored three goals in 20 appearances across all competitions to help the Sky Blues win both the league and playoffs.
Born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria before migrating to Sydney, Australia as a child, Ibini began his football career with semi-professional side Blacktown City FC but rose to prominence with Central Coast, where he made his senior debut in 2010 at age 17 and went on to bag 21 goals and 10 assists in all competitions over five seasons, including Asian Champions League action. Ibini has also played for Shanghai Dongya FC (now known as Shanghai SIPG FC) in the Chinese Super League.
He represented Australia in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup before making his senior international debut in a pair of friendlies in 2014.