On a scouting trip to Switzerland last year, Vancouver director of soccer operations Tom Soehn observed two players he'd come to see, and eventually signed both of them.
He also saw a third player who has turned out to be the team's first Designated Player. "The stars just aligned," Soehn said of Eric Hassli, who met the local press on Thursday and in his halting English got right to the point.
"I want to score goals and help win matches," said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound striker. He might see some time Saturday when the Whitecaps wind up their preseason schedule with a match against Colorado on Saturday at Empire Field.
Of why he left the Swiss league at age 29, he explained, "I was interested in the change of life. Europe speaks very highly of MLS. It's a league that is growing. I wanted to take on the challenge of growing with the team. I think there is good ambition here, good vision."