“We’re very excited to add a talented player like Lee,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “He’s a young player with a bright future. We look forward to seeing him in preseason.”
A dual American/Vietnamese citizen, Nguyen joins Whitecaps FC after becoming the first American to play in the Vietnamese V-League when he joined Hoàng Anh Gia Lai FC for the 2009 season. He then moved to V-League side Becamex Binh Duong FC in 2010 before ending his spell with the club in June 2011. During his time in the V-League, Nguyen scored 14 goals in 29 league appearances.
“I’m really excited to be joining Whitecaps FC and to help this club push forward,” said Nguyen. “I can’t wait to get the season started.”
Prior to his time in Vietnam, the midfielder/striker enjoyed a stellar freshman year in NCAA Division I with Indiana University before departing for Europe, where he joined recent Whitecaps FC signing Young-Pyo Lee’s former club PSV Eindhoven for the 2005-06 season. He made just two appearances in two seasons with the Dutch Eredivisie outfit before moving to the Danish Superliga, where he joined Randers FC in January 2008. Nguyen made 23 appearances in two seasons with Randers FC.
Nguyen has represented the United States at both youth and senior international level. As an 18-year-old, he made two appearances for the USA at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands. As a 20-year-old in 2007, the midfielder/striker earned three senior international caps with the Americans, making his full international debut as a substitute during a 4-1 friendly win over China on June 2, 2007. He then made two appearances for the USA at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela. Nguyen appeared as a substitute in his country’s Group C matches versus Paraguay (July 2, 2007) and Colombia (July 5, 2007).
In acquiring Nguyen, Whitecaps FC were one of six MLS clubs to participate in Thursday’s weighted Lottery for the midfielder/striker, with the Blue and White becoming the player’s new club after being selected ahead of FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, and Toronto FC. In signing with MLS, Nguyen was put into the weighted Lottery process after initially turning down an MLS contract during his time in college.
Born: October 7, 1986, in McKinney, Texas
Hometown: Richardson, Texas
Last Club: Becamex Binh Duong FC (V-League)
Citizenship: United States/Vietnam
How Acquired: Via weighted Lottery on December 15, 2011