Jonny Steele, one of the top players in the USL First Division the last two seasons with Puerto Rico, has signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps and wants to be with the team when it begins play in MLS in 2011.
"They've been there whenever I've been there -- in the playoffs, in the finals -- so it shows they're a successful club," the 23-year-old Steele, a native of Northern Ireland, said. "Going to MLS next year, they have a bright future and I want to be a part of it."
Steele's MLS discovery rights are held by Real Salt Lake. He's played with seven outdoor and indoor teams since arriving in North America in 2004. He was the USL-1 MVP in 2008 and an all-star in 2009 and a key to the Islanders' success in the Concacaf Champions League. Other Whitecap signings for 2011 include Canadian Greg Janicki, who played for D.C. United in 2009, and Mexican midfielder Ricardo Sanchez from the Minnesota Thunder.