The Vancouver Whitecaps have added one last piece to their 2019 roster. The club signed development squad winger Georges Mukumbilwa to a Major League Soccer homegrown contract through 2020, with club options through 2023.
“Georges has worked very hard, has the right mentality and has earned this opportunity,” head coach Marc Dos Santos said in a press release. “Georges is a great example of the vertical integration we have developed at our club. The young man understands today is a positive step forward in his journey and knows there is still a lot of work ahead of him.”
Mukumbilwa’s addition to the squad ends transfer speculations that surrounded the club all week. Dos Santos Thursday said Vancouver was planning “one player signing for the first team.” The club followed that by announced it had acquired the Seattle Sounders‘ natural second-round pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft in exchange for a 2019 international roster spot.
With the arrival of Honduran winger Michaell Chirinos earlier this month, all nine of the Whitecaps’ international roster spots were occupied.
Mukumbilwa becomes the 19th player in club history to be signed from its academy. Born the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mukumbilwa spent his childhood at a refugee camp in Kigali, Rwanda, before moving to Canada with his family at 13.
Settling in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mukumbilwa was first discovered by the club through the partnership with the Manitoba Soccer Association and the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System in 2014. He spent four years in the program and made 96 appearances in the development academy, scoring 20 goals, and as a result was signed to the Whitecaps Development Squad in July 2018.
Now his journey to Major League Soccer is almost complete.
“It means a lot to me to sign an MLS contract with this club,” Mukumbilwa said. “I’ve been here for five years and this is what I’ve always wanted. I would like to thank my family for supporting me, all of my academy coaches here at Whitecaps FC for helping me and coach Vince Scerbo back home in Winnipeg.”