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    Whitecaps sign Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese to homegrown MLS contracts


    Michael Mccoll

    Whitecaps fans have been crying out for some new striking talent and although this might not be what they had in mind, and despite their young years, both players have already shown that they have what it takes to play at a higher level.

    The pair started Vancouver's Canadian Championship semi-final first leg in Toronto in May and acquitted themselves well. Both also saw PDL action for the Caps' this summer, contributing six goals between them (4 for Bustos and 2 for Froese).

    Last year saw both players represent Canada at the FIFA U17 World Cup in the UAE, playing in all three matches.

    Hailing from Winnipeg in Manitoba, Bustos made the move to the Whitecaps Residency program in September 2011 from his hometown side FC Northwest, after having a trial with Liverpool as a 14-year-old.

    He played the 2011/12 season for the Caps U16s and started the following season with them as well before current Whitecaps assistant coach Gordon Forrest took over the reigns of the U18s and immediately moved him up a level.

    It paid rich dividends for the Caps, with Bustos grabbing 14 goals in the regular season before going on a tear in the playoffs with 5 goals to send them back to Finals Week.

    Last season Bustos led the U18s in scoring with 19 goals and is captain of the U18 side in this, his final year in the program. And as we mentioned above, he kicked off the team's new season leading by example and scoring five goals in their first two matches (two of them penalties), where he has been playing as a striker.

    Froese is another prairie boy. Born in Havana, Cuba but growing up in Brunkild, Manitoba, Froese joined the Whitecaps Residency program in 2012, having previously trained with FC Edmonton.

    He scored four goals for the U18s in the 2012/13 season and followed that up with 12 regular season goals that saw him second on the team behind Bustos.

    Internationally, Froese has already earned a senior call-up to the Canadian national team, playing and scoring against Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a friendly in January. Most recently he was part of Canada's U20 squad at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.

    Both players have been training regularly, and impressed, with the Whitecaps MLS team since preseason and the hope was always to have them signed at some stage this year.

    When we asked Carl Robinson a couple of weeks ago about the prospect of adding them before the roster freeze, he wouldn't confirm but made his preference clear.

    "Maybe. Maybe, yes," Robinson told AFTN. "It would be good. Another two youngsters into the fray would be nice."

    Now he has them, although sadly it's only Froese that is available down the stretch. Too young and inexperienced to be thrown into a MLS playoff battle? Perhaps. But one thing I know about Bustos and Froese from watching them these past couple of years is that not only do they play with a confident swagger and without fear, but they can both score goals and haven't looked out of place playing against older opposition.

    Remember, "if you're good enough, you're old enough", and maybe, just maybe, the Whitecaps have added two players who are actually both.

    Bustos And Froese 02

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