Whitecaps FC striker Etienne Barbara
– Made 30 international appearances for Malta since his first cap in August 2004
– Won the NASL Golden Ball and was named the NASL MVP last year with Carolina RailHawks
– Scored 28 goals and added 10 assists during his two seasons in Carolina
“Etienne is an aggressive, powerful player that is determined to succeed,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “He brings versatility to our line-up both as a wide midfielder or a striker.”
Barbara, 29, played the last two seasons with North American Soccer League (NASL) club Carolina RailHawks under Rennie. Last season, the native of Pietà, Malta, led the RailHawks to the 2011 NASL regular season championship with 20 goals and eight assists in 27 appearances. For his efforts, Barbara won the NASL Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer, was selected to the NASL Best XI, and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
“I am delighted and honoured to become a member of Whitecaps FC,” said Barbara. “I would like to thank my coaches, staff, and teammates for the faith and positive support they have shown in me. I am looking forward to getting back on the pitch and contributing to my new club. I have heard many great things about the passionate fans in Vancouver, so I look forward to seeing them and playing for them at BC Place.”
During his first season with Carolina in 2010, Barbara scored eight goals and added two assists in 27 appearances, as the RailHawks claimed the NASL Conference title in the United States Soccer Federation Division-2 Professional League. Barbara concluded his RailHawks career with eight club records.
Prior to his time with Carolina, the 6-foot-0, 190-pound forward spent much of his professional career in the Maltese Premier League. During 10 seasons in his native country, Barbara scored 73 goals in 224 appearances.
A Maltese international, Barbara has scored three goals in 30 total appearances for his country. This included Malta’s qualifying campaigns for the 2004 UEFA European Championship and 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Vancouver acquired Barbara’s MLS rights from Canadian rivals Montreal Impact in exchange for Mexican defender Gienir Garcia, who was selected second overall in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft by Whitecaps FC on January 17, 2012.
Etienne Barbara (Ett-tee-n BAR-Bar-a)
Born: June 10, 1982, in Pietà, Malta
Hometown: Pietà, Malta
Last Club: Carolina RailHawks (North American Soccer League)
Acquired: From Montreal Impact in exchange for the second overall pick in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft (DF Gienir Garcia) on January 17, 2012