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Vancouver FC signs 15-year-old

Surrey’s Grady McDonnell is the youngest signing in CPL history
Grady McDonnell, 15, is the youngest signing in CPL history, inking a deal with Vancouver FC. (Beau Chevalier/Special to Langley Advance Times)

As the newest acquisition by Langley-based Vancouver FC, Surrey’s Grady McDonnell, 15, becomes the youngest signing in Canadian Premier League history, superseding teammate Taryck ‘TJ’ Tahid, who was 16 years and 16 days old when he inked his first professional contract with the club in May 2023.

“I’m incredibly humbled and excited for the opportunity to compete in a professional environment at my age,” said McDonnell. “This kind of opportunity is what I’ve always wanted and the fact that I’m able to achieve this goal with my hometown team, and to play in front of my friends and family, is all I could ask for.”

His signing to a three-year contract, was announced Wednesday, Jan. 17.

McDonnell, 15, becomes the third under-18 player on VFC’s 2024 roster, joining 16-year-old Tahid, from Maple Ridge, and 18-year-old James Cameron, from North Vancouver.

Prior to joining VFC, McDonnell played for the Vancouver Whitecaps in their Academy system. Internationally, McDonnell has represented both the Republic of Ireland and Canada at the youth levels, making 20 and four appearances, respectively, since 2022.

READ ALSO: VFC: Langley sports story of the year

Afshin Ghotbi, Head Coach, Vancouver FC called McDonnell “one of the most talented young players in Canada.”

VFC president Rob Friend told that McDonnell, “hands down, was the number one name on our list and across the country. Internationally he’s making a name for himself already at 15 years old.”

Last week, Vancouver announced the return of Mikaël Cantave, Vasco Fry, and Renan Garcia to the 2024 squad, as well as the signing of East Vancouver native Fisk to a two-year deal with a club option for 2026.

READ ASO: Vancouver FC 2024 roster takes shape

Vancouver FC current roster as of Jan. 17, 2024:

Goalkeeper: Callum Irving

Defenders: Kadin Chung, Rocco Romeo, Ibrahim Bakare, Tyler Crawford, Anthony White, James Cameron

Midfielders: Elliot Simmons, Ben Fisk, Vasco Fry, Renan Garcia, Grady McDonnell

Forwards: Alejandro ‘Wero’ Díaz, Mouhamadou ‘Mamadou’ Kane, Gabriel Bitar, Taryck ‘TJ’ Tahid, Mikaël Cantave