The Vancouver Whitecaps have parted ways with Canadian central midfielder Bryce Alderson, Sportsnet has learned.
Alderson is out of contract with the Major League Soccer club, and the Whitecaps have decided not to pick up its option on the 20-year-old native of Kitchener, Ont.
Sportsnet’s source said the Whitecaps plan to make a formal announcement in the coming days. The same source said that the Whitecaps have also decided not to pick up the contract option on forward Omar Salgado.
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Earlier on Thursday, Sportsnet spoke to Alderson, who is currently training with the Canadian national team in Florida ahead of next Tuesday’s friendly against Panama in Panama City. He explained that Whitecaps had made a decision about his contract, but both sides agreed not to say anything until the club issued a public statement.
Alderson signed with the Whitecaps on Nov. 17, 2011 after coming through the team’s youth academy program. Alderson captained Canada at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico, and was voted the country’s under-17 player of the year in 2010 and 2011.
He spent 2013 on a season-long loan with the Charleston Battery of the third-tier USL Pro League. Alderson failed to play in a single MLS game since graduating to the Whitecaps’ senior side from the youth ranks three years age. His only appearances for Vancouver came in both legs of this year’s Canadian Club championship semifinals versus Toronto FC.
Age and inexperience were factors in his lack of playing opportunities during his tenure in Vancouver. This season, he fell further down the team’s central midfield depth chart thanks to the solid play of the more experienced Pedro Morales, Gershon Koffie and Matias Laba.
“It’s been extremely, extremely frustrating. For me, it’s been a disappointing year. I tried to take out of it as much as I could, tried to learn, continued to train well and continue to do additional things to help my development. I tried not to let the lack of games effect my development too much, but as a young player you need games and when you’re not getting games it’s frustrating,” Alderson told Sportsnet on Thursday.
He later added: “This was a team that played well this year, that was winning, and a team that had experienced players in front of me. When you have the quality of guys like Pedro, Gershon and Laba, it’s hard to crack that roster.”
This is currently the second national senior team camp that Alderson has been invited to, although he has yet to earn his first cap for Canada. Alderson said he hasn’t received any word from coach Benito Floro as to whether he’ll make his Canadian debut in next week’s match versus Panama.
Alderson explained he sees this camp as an opportunity to impress Floro so that he could be considered for Canada’s under-23 side that will attempt to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Salgado, 21, was the first overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. The Whitecaps had high hopes for the native of El Paso, Texas, but injuries prevented him from settling in with the club—he missed the entire 2013 season with a fractured right foot—and he managed just one goal in 29 regular season appearances.
Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson and club president Bob Lenarduzzi did not respond to Sportsnet’s messages seeking confirmation on the status of Alderson and Salgado.