VANCOUVER Whitecaps FC announced on Wednesday that the club has signed experienced striker Robert Earnshaw – pending receipt of his international transfer certificate. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Whitecaps FC striker Robert Earnshaw
· 59 international caps with Wales, scoring 16 goals
· Scored 216 career goals in over 500 matches at the club level in England, Scotland, Israel, Canada, and the United States
· 561 games and 232 goals for club and country
“I’m very excited to officially join Whitecaps FC and be a part of this great organization,” said Earnshaw. “The club has treated me well since I’ve been here and I’m thrilled to help the team continue to progress and bring enjoyment and passion to my new team.”
The 33-year-old striker joins Whitecaps FC after trialling with the team in preseason. Over the past two seasons in MLS, Earnshaw has accumulated 11 goals, while starting 24 of his 31 appearances. Last season, Earnshaw scored three goals in only 174 minutes with Chicago Fire. In 2013, the Welshman netted eight goals while starting 23 of his 26 appearances with Toronto FC.
A product of Cardiff City’s youth program, Earnshaw made his professional debut with the senior side in 1998. Through 2004, Earnshaw made 201 appearances and scored 105 goals across all competitions for Cardiff.
In 2004, Earnshaw joined English Premier League side West Brom Albion, scoring 12 goals in 43 matches. During the January 2006 transfer window, Earnshaw signed for Norwich City, scoring 27 goals in 45 matches before departing for Derby County in 2007. Earnshaw then represented Nottingham Forest from 2008 to 2011, where he scored 43 goals in 98 appearances before re-joining Cardiff in 2011.
In 2012, Earnshaw was loaned to Israeli Premier League side Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he made 10 appearances and scored two goals before signing with Toronto FC. After leaving TFC, Earnshaw made one appearance with English side Blackpool FC. Earnshaw also confirmed on Wednesday that he is retiring from international football. In more than a decade playing with Wales, Earnshaw earned 59 caps and scored 16 goals.
“First off, congratulations to Earnie on a fantastic international career,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “I had the privilege of representing Wales together with Earnie and he always gives his all in everything he does. Not only is he a natural goalscorer, he will also bring great character and leadership to our locker room, while passing along his experience to our young group of forwards.”
Born in Mufulira, Zambia, Earnshaw moved to Wales when he was nine years old and made his senior debut for the Welsh national team on May 13, 2002. In his debut appearance, Earnshaw scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over 2002 FIFA World Cup finalists Germany at Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff Wales.
“I fell in love with football ever since I was a kid and went to my first Wales game,” added Earnshaw. “It has been a dream come true to have the opportunity to walk out in front of the whole nation and represent Wales in so many important games. I am honoured and proud to play for my country for over a decade. I am also extremely thankful for the support I’ve received over the years from all my Welsh teammates, coaches, and staff and will be forever grateful because I know I’ve been in a position that millions dream of. I gave it my all in every minute and shared all the jubilations of scoring goals with the people of Wales. The pleasure has truly been all mine.”
Earnshaw is the only player to record a hat-trick in every professional league in England, including the FA Cup and League Cup, and for his country at the international level.
Date of Birth: April 6, 1981 in Mufulira, Zambia
Hometown: Cardiff, Wales
Citizenship: United Kingdom / Zambia
Last Club: Chicago Fire (MLS)
How Acquired: Free agent signing on March 25, 2015