Whitecaps sign Michael Baldisimo, Theo Bair to Homegrown contracts

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced the signing of midfielder Michael Baldisimo of the WFC Residency and forward Theo Bair to MLS Homegrown Player contracts on Tuesday.

Baldisimo, an 18-year-old from  Burnaby, British Columbia, is available for selection for the opening leg of the Canadian Championship semifinals against the Montreal Impact (7:30 pm ET | CanadaSoccer.com), while Bair, an 18-year-old from Ottawa, has agreed to an MLS pre-contract beginning in 2019.

"We are excited to add both Michael and Theo to our first-team environment," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. "It's a big step going from youth to first-team football and we believe this is the best place for both players to continue their development.”

They join midfielder Simon Colyn, goalkeeper Sean Melvin, and midfielder David Norman Jr. as players signed from the club's development system to MLS Homegrown contracts in the past eight months.

"It's an unreal feeling,” Bair said. "Earning an MLS contract with Vancouver has been my primary goal for a long time. The Academy was another unreal experience, they gave us everything and pushed us in the right direction. I'm fortunate the hard work has provided me the opportunity to step into the first-team environment and I now look forward to this challenge."

Bair, Baldisimo, and Colyn, plus fellow Homegrown player Alphonso Davies, give the 'Caps four teenagers on their first-team roster.

“Joining the first team is amazing. Being a Homegrown player, knowing the club is willing to invest in me, it feels really rewarding," Baldisimo said. "I just want to work hard, try and make my first-team debut, play some games, and continue to develop.”

Baldisimo, who represented Canada at the 2017 Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Championship, has 13 goals in 82 starts and 88 appearances for WFC Residency U-16 and U-18/19 and made his professional debut with Whitecaps FC 2.

"Michael does everything you want as a young midfield player, plus he can even play at right back. Ability wise, he's got it all and we are looking forward to working with him as he continues to develop both on and off the pitch," Robinson said. "Whether he plays under-17, under-19, or the first team, it doesn't faze him. When he gets his chance, he'll be able to take it." 

Bair, a big and powerful forward who scored a goal in four appearances for Canada U-21 at the Festival International Espoirs Provence last May, had 60 goals in 75 starts and 98 appearances or WFC Residency U-16 and U-18/19 and led ‘Caps U-19s with six goals in the recent Academy playoffs.

"Theo is a big, strong player. He likes to score goals and he's caught fire recently,” Robinson said. "There's raw potential in him. We are excited to see him develop as he trains with the first team on a regular basis."

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