VANCOUVER Whitecaps FC announced Monday the addition of Vancouver, BC, native and Residency graduate midfielder Ben McKendry as the club’s eighth Homegrown Player on roster, most in MLS, and the club’s 12th all-time Homegrown Player signing, second most in MLS. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Whitecaps FC midfielder Ben McKendry
· Product of Vancouver Selects and Whitecaps FC Residency
· Joined Whitecaps FC youth set-up in 2007 at the age of 14 and spent five years in the Residency program, including the 2012 USSDA Championship final
· Led University of New Mexico to the College Cup Final Four for the second time in program history in 2013
· Named First-Team All-Conference USA as a junior and sophomore, and received Second-Team All-American honours as a junior
“Ben is a talented young central midfielder who has earned this opportunity,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “He has worked hard to continue his progression, which is credit to both Ben and the University of New Mexico coaching staff. We’re thrilled to add another local talent who has not only come through our Residency program, but who calls Vancouver home.”
McKendry, 21, joins the club’s MLS roster after graduating through the Whitecaps FC Residency program and then spending three seasons of collegiate soccer with the University of New Mexico Lobos in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Conference USA.
“It’s a dream come true to play in my hometown for a team that I have been connected with for such a long time,” said McKendry. “I can’t express how thankful I am to all of my teammates and coaches at the University of New Mexico and to Whitecaps FC staff, especially Bart Choufour. I’d also like to thank my local mentor and trainer Jason Kyle, and my family and friends who have supported my dream to play professional soccer.”
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound midfielder appeared in 61 of 62 Lobos matches over the past three seasons, starting 52 of his appearances. McKendry finished with 14 goals, including five game-winners, and five assists. McKendry helped New Mexico win the 2013 Conference USA regular season championship, while helping guide the Lobos to two NCAA Tournaments (2012 and 2013), including the school’s second ever College Cup Final Four in 2013.
A native of Vancouver, BC, McKendry earned second-team All-American honours by College Sports Madness as a junior to go along with a third-team NSCAA All-Region selection as a sophomore. Within his conference, McKendry was a first-team All-Conference USA selection as a junior and sophomore and was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 2012.
Prior to his collegiate career, McKendry spent five years in the Whitecaps FC Residency program. During the club’s inaugural season in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA), McKendry made 26 starts in 31 appearances and scored six goals to help the Blue and White win the Northwest Division and reach the 2012 USSDA Championship final. At the conclusion of the postseason, McKendry was named to the USSDA Playoffs Best XI by Top Drawer Soccer.
In the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL), McKendry made 30 appearances over two seasons with Whitecaps FC U-23, as well as one appearance with Whitecaps FC in the MLS Reserve League in 2012.
Internationally, McKendry is a dual Canadian and New Zealand citizen. After attending a training camp with the New Zealand U-20 national team, McKendry opted to represent his birth country, earning call-ups to both the Canadian U-18 and U-20 national teams.
During his youth, McKendry played at Vancouver Selects and was a member of the BC Soccer Provincial Development Program at the U-14 and U-16 levels, as well as two years in the Canada Soccer National Training Centre.
Weight: 160 pounds
Date of Birth: March 25, 1993 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia
Citizenship: Canada / New Zealand
Status: Domestic, Homegrown
Youth Club: Whitecaps FC Residency / Vancouver Selects
How Acquired: Signed as an MLS Homegrown Player on Monday, January 26, 2015