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Whitecaps sign top draft pick Seiler

Vancouver Whitecaps FC added to their defensive ranks on Monday by penning their top SuperDraft pick Cole Seiler to an MLS contract.

The former Georgetown University centre back, who was Vancouver’s 16th overall selection in last month’s SuperDraft, has impressed head coach Carl Robinson during the early stages of preseason.

"We've had our eyes on Cole for a while now and he's shown in training camp how he can fit right in with our club," Robinson said in a club statement. "He's a smart player who stood out in the combine and has adjusted well to this level in preseason. He's a great pickup for us."

The 22-year-old appeared in both of the club's preseason matches down in Tucson, Arizona, this past week. This included over an hour of action in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders FC and as a second half substitute in a 3-2 victory over New England Revolution on Saturday.

"First and foremost, I am thankful to my parents for all the sacrifices they made towards my future, both economically and with their time," Seiler said. "I am also thankful to my club coaches at the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy, my high school coach David Wilcox, and definitely my Georgetown coaches who helped me take the greatest leap in my soccer abilities during my four years there. I'm excited to be a member of this club and I look forward to the opportunity to continue developing my skills with the technical staff, as well as my teammates."

It remains to be seen how much first-team action Seiler will see in 2016. The defender is most likely to start games with Vancouver’s USL side - Whitecaps FC 2 - when it begins its second season in the North American third tier late next month.