Vancouver Whitecaps acquire Canadian international Derek Cornelius

Cornelius earned his first senior cap for Canada in September 2018

The Vancouver Whitecaps have acquired 2018 Canadian youth international player of the year Derek Cornelius.

The MLS club made a deal with Serbia’s FK Javor Ivanjica to land the 21-year-old centre back from Ajax, Ont., on Friday.

Cornelius earned his first senior cap for Canada in September 2018. He has made three appearances for Canada, helping the national team to clean sheets in CONCACAF Nations League qualifying.

The six-foot-two Cornelius also helped Canada’s U-21 team go undefeated in the group stage at the Festival International Espoirs Provence in France.

Cornelius spent the past two years with FK Javor Ivanjica, making 31 appearances while competing in the Serbian SuperLiga in 2017-18, and the First League in 2018-19. He began his professional career in Germany’s Regionalliga, scoring two goals in 18 appearances for VfB Lubeck and VfR Neumunster.

READ MORE: ‘I want to leave’: Vancouver Whitecaps captain Waston looking for new home

“Vancouver is a club that I’ve followed for a few years and I’m extremely excited to now be a part of it,” said Cornelius. “This is a good opportunity for me to show the city and club what I can do as an individual and to not just come through, but to really leave my mark here. I look forward to playing in front of the passionate supporters and doing whatever it takes to help the club win.”

Cornelius is the fifth player added since new coach Marc Dos Santos took over in November.

“Derek is one of the top young players in a new generation of Canadian talent,” said Dos Santos. “For his age, he has the right composure and characteristics we look for at the centre back position. We have followed his progress within Canada Soccer and believe he has developed in the right way. He has also been exposed to different environments and this is always good for a player’s development. We are working hard to build this roster and will be announcing additional player acquisitions very soon.”

The Whitecaps begin training camp next week.

The Canadian Press

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