Whitecaps sign Mexico international Efrain Juarez from Monterrey

Efrain-Juarez

Efrain Juarez (left) of Monterrey vies for the ball with Neri Cardozo of Queretaro. (MIGUEL SIERRA/EPA)

The Vancouver Whitecaps have signed Mexican midfielder Efrain Juarez from Liga MX side Monterrey, the club announced on Thursday.

Juarez, 29, played as a right-back for Monterrey but is listed as a midfielder. He is expected to occupy a central midfield role with the Whitecaps.

“We are very excited to add Efraín to our group,” said Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson. “He’s an extremely talented player who has experience at the highest level, can play multiple positions, and fits the character type we want at our club. Efraín’s preferred position is in the middle of the park and that’s where I expect him to play the majority of minutes for us. We firmly believe in Efraín’s technical ability, grit, and leadership qualities and we look forward to seeing him with our group.”

Juarez began his career at Pumas and spent two years in Barcelona’s academy before moving to Celtic in 2010, but he earned little playing time in Scotland and was loaned to Real Zaragoza in La Liga. He eventually returned to Mexico with Club America before joining Monterrey permanently in 2014.

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” said Juarez. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver.

“From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

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The midfielder has 39 caps with Mexico and represented his country at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He made 74 appearances in his four-year stint with Rayados, but was relegated to the bench during the 2017 Apertura after losing his spot to 25-year-old Colombian Stefan Medina.

Vancouver has had a busy off-season, acquiring no less than seven players, including Juarez. The likes of Canadian international Doneil Henry, Kei Kamara and Anthony Blondell have joined the team over the past few weeks.

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