VANCOUVER, BC (NEWS RELEASE) — Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today the acquisition of goalkeeper Brad Knighton to the club’s Major League Soccer (MLS) roster – pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“Brad is a solid goalkeeper with strong communication and distribution skills, is excellent on crosses, and brings four years of MLS experience,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “Brad had a outstanding season last year with me in Carolina and now I look forward to seeing him provide healthy competition between the posts here in Vancouver.”
Knighton, 26, joins Whitecaps FC after a solid season with Carolina RailHawks of the second-tier North American Soccer League (NASL). The product of Richmond, Virginia, played every minute for the NASL regular season champions. In 28 regular season starts, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound keeper posted a goals-against average (GAA) of 0.94, while recording 113 saves and eight shutouts. For his efforts, Knighton earned a spot on the 2011 NASL Best XI and was runner-up for the NASL Golden Glove award.
Prior to joining the RailHawks, Knighton played four seasons in MLS following a successful preseason tryout with New England Revolution in 2007. He went on to play three seasons with New England, recording one win, two defeats, and three draws in six regular season starts. During the 2008 season, Knighton played eight matches on loan with Portland Timbers of the United Soccer Leagues First Division. Following the 2009 season, Knighton was selected by Philadelphia Union in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft. As a member of the first-year MLS club, the shot-stopper recorded three wins, three defeats, and one draw with a GAA of 1.10 in eight starts.
“I’m delighted to be returning to MLS with Vancouver Whitecaps FC and continuing my career under head coach Martin Rennie,” Knighton said. “I’ve heard many great things about the club and the city, and I look forward to helping Whitecaps FC have a successful 2012 season.”
A four-year starter in college, Knighton helped the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) make four consecutive trips to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Tournament and became the first Seahawks player to sign a contract with MLS. At UNCW, Knighton ranks first all-time in career shutouts with 24, as well as second in GAA with a 1.08 average and appearances with 75. During his senior year, Knighton was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-South Atlantic Region Second Team and to the All-CAA First Team. In 2006, Knighton played with Indiana Invaders in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). He made 11 appearances and registered a GAA of 1.78 that season, as the Invaders finished third in the Great Lakes Division of the PDL’s Central Conference.