Vancouver Whitecaps acquire SC Farense midfielder Ryan Gauld

Vancouver Whitecaps have signed attacking midfielder Ryan Gauld from Portuguese Primeira Liga side SC Farense on a Designated Player contract through 2024. Per Major League Soccer policy, the amount paid for the player will remain disclosed.

Gauld played an integral role in the Portuguese league, ranking first in key passes and sixth in assist while leading Farense in goals last season. The 25-year old player recorded nine goals and seven assists during the 2020/21 season, ranking ninth in the league for his scoring efforts.

“We are very pleased to welcome Ryan to our club,” Whitecaps sporting director and CEO Axel Schuster said in a statement. “We identified Ryan at the attacking midfield position early in the offseason and began our formal pursuit at the start of January.”

“It was a complicated process due to several factors, but as he was our top target, we never gave up. He is a difference-maker, brings experience, as well as an exceptional work rate, all qualities we identified as being key characteristics that we need in this position. Ryan and his representatives have been a pleasure to work with and we are thrilled that he is committed for the next three-plus years to not only this club but the city and people of Vancouver.”

Gauld is a product of the Dundee United youth system after working the ranks before his professional debut in 2016 at the age of 16. The midfielder spent two years in the Scottish Premiership before signing for Portugal’s Sporting CP in 2014.

During that time, he completed loan spells with Vitória FC, CD Aves, and Hibernian FC before making a permanent move to Farense.

“Ryan is a player that we have been following for a long time,” Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said.

“He’s an attacking midfielder who can provide us with a lot of options between lines. He has very good delivery and is very dynamic without the ball. He also brings leadership qualities and experience to the group, which will help our young players next to him grow and become better. We are very glad to have him joining our club.”

Gauld has recorded 40 goals in 233 appearances across all competitions, and is excited to get started with the Whitecaps.

“I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to play for Vancouver Whitecaps FC,” Gauld said.

“From day one they have made me feel very wanted and that means a lot. I’m looking forward to meeting my teammates, getting on the training pitch, and coming to play at BC Place in front of the passionate supporters.”