The Vancouver Whitecaps signed midfielder Michael Baldisimo and forward Theo Bair to homegrown contracts Tuesday.
Baldisimo will be eligible to join the Whitecaps for their visit to the Montreal Impact for the semifinals of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday while Bair was inked to a multi-year pre-contract beginning in 2019.
“We are excited to add both Michael and Theo to our first-team environment,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said in a statement. “It’s a big step going from youth to first-team football and we believe this is the best place for both players to continue their development.”
The 18-year-old Baldisimo, who also received a multi-year deal, helped lead the WFC Residency U-19 team to the semifinals of the Academy Championship this month, scoring four goals in 27 appearances for the 2017-18 season. He made his professional debut in 2016 with Whitecaps FC 2 in USL.
“Michael does everything you want as a young midfield player, plus he can even play at right back. Ability wise, he’s got it all and we are looking forward to working with him as he continues to develop both on and off the pitch,” stated Robinson. “Whether you play under-17, under-19, or the first team, it doesn’t faze him. When he gets his chance, he’ll be able to take it.”
Bair, also 18, scored 28 goals in 30 starts and 34 appearances for the WFC Residency U-19.
“It’s an unreal feeling,” stated Bair. “Earning an MLS contract with Vancouver has been my primary goal for a long time. The Academy was another unreal experience, they gave us everything and pushed us in the right direction. I’m fortunate the hard work has provided me the opportunity to step into the first-team environment and I now look forward to this challenge.”
With Bair and Baldisimo in tow, the Whitecaps have now signed five players from the club’s development system to homegrown contracts in the past eight months. Simon Colyn, Sean Melvin and David Norman Jr. are the others.
—Field Level Media