The Vancouver Whitecaps officially landed attacking midfielder Daigo Kobayashi on Monday.
Hours after the deal was announced, the local Major League Soccer side and its newest member took off for Casa Grande, Ariz., to continue training camp.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Kobayashi arrived in Vancouver last week from his home country of Japan to undergo medicals before the contract was signed.
Kobayashi, 29, spent the last two seasons with Shimizu S-Pulse of the J. League Division 1, and also had stints with Iraklis FC in the Greek Football League and Stabaek in Norway.
“He’s someone that we’ve been tracking for a while and that we think is a little bit different to the players we have in our squad at the moment,” said head coach Martin Rennie on the phone from Vancouver International Airport.
“He’s a very technical, attacking player that plays between the midfield and forward line and hopefully he can create chances for us and be a goal threat as well.
“Hopefully he’s someone who can play that final pass and give our strikers chances in behind the back four (defenders) and hopefully he’s just someone that connects with the whole group.”
The Kobayashi signing comes exactly one week after the Whitecaps opened training camp with news that Barry Robson and the club mutually agreed to terminate the Scottish midfielder’s designated player contract.
The Whitecaps hosted a brief training session in Burnaby before hopping on a plane to Arizona.
Rennie added Kobayashi “probably” won’t play in the Whitecaps’ first exhibition game Tuesday against the New England Revolution in Casa Grande.