The Vancouver Whitecaps announced yesterday that they've signed Trinity Western defender Paul Hamilton to a one-year contract with their Premier Development League team.
Hamilton's been a standout at the CIS level for some time now; he's been named a Canada West first-team all-star and a second-team All-Canadian for both of the last two seasons. In 2007, he led the Spartans to the best record in the Canada West regular season, and also was a big part of their Canada West championship. In 2008, his strong defending played an important role in their run to the silver medal at the nationals. He also played for the Cape Breton Capers back in 2005, helping them to the AUS title, and was named the conference rookie of the year and a second-team conference all-star along the way.
It's going to be tough for Hamilton to crack the Whitecaps' senior side at the moment, as they have a considerable amount of talented centre backs (unlike many MLS teams). Marco Reda and Wesley Charles will be the opening-day starters, with Jeff Parke expected to step in after returning from his suspension. Still, Hamilton should have plenty of time to develop with the PDL team and may even get in a first-side appearance here and there if some of the other players are called away on international duty. The above release mentions that he's been loaned to the senior team for tonight's season opener [7 p.m. Pacific vs. the Charleston Battery; I'll be live-blogging it over at The 24th Minute], so he may even see time as a substitute.
It's also going to be interesting to watch and see what happens with the Trinity program next season. They've been a long-time powerhouse, but Canada West is full of great men's soccer teams, including UBC and UVic. Moreover, long-time head coach Al Alderson resigned last month after 17 successful seasons of off-and-on coaching. Whoever they bring in will have to work to maintain the tremendous recruiting relationships Alderson had. It's not clear if Hamilton's PDL obligations will prevent him from playing another year for Trinity or not, but if they do, he'll also be a big loss.
(By the way, Hamilton will have CIS company on the Whitecaps' defence. They're expected to start former SFU star Luca Bellisomo at right back tonight.)