The Gauldfather, the Scottish Messi or just simply Ryan Gauld, the Vancouver Whitecaps have resigned their talisman designated player to a contract extension through to the end of 2027.
The attacking midfielder, striker or wherever else head coach Vanni Sartini has played him (remember his prolific match as wingback?) said he was “delighted” to continue with the club.
“We’ve [Gauld and his fiancé Kat Hutchinson] been made to feel at home ever since arriving [in Vancouver],” Gauld said. “And we’ve both had a great couple of years there, both really enjoyed living there. And I think we’ve had some success on the pitch to go with it.
Gauld’s previous contract, a three-year deal he signed in 2021, was set to end at the end of the upcoming MLS season.
“Once the talks started, it didn’t take very long to come to an agreement,” he said.
The attacking midfielder’s contribution to the Whitecaps cannot be understated. He has 26 goals and 34 assists to his name, making him the club leader in the latter category.
In the 2023 MLS season, he was ranked seventh in assists and sixth in key passes out of all active players.
During his time, he has helped the club to two Canadian Championships (2022 and 2023). He was also the recipient of the George Gross Memorial Trophy as the Canadian Championship MVP during the 2022 cup run.
Vancouver has made the MLS Playoffs twice during Gauld’s time with the club.
Gauld said he did not need to be sold on the idea of a new contract. It was about him seeing the work that has been done in the years since he joined as the club works towards its goals.
“It was me seeing the progress that we’ve made in the last two years and seeing how we played in a few games last year. It’s just I think now, we need to have the consistency. But it’s been easy for me to see on the pitch the improvement we’ve made.”
CEO and sporting director Axel Schuster said getting the deal done before the start of the season was important for the club.
“It was always our intention to get it done before the season starts. To get it now done right away, two weeks in while we’re still here in Marbella [for preseason], it’s only an additional plus because it also sends out a message to the team,” he said.
The contract is the largest the Whitecaps have ever given to a player, surpassing the previous $2.5m of Gauld’s first contract with the club.
But for his part, Schuster was tight-lipped over the exact numbers of this new deal.
“I think there’s no doubt he deserves it,” Schuster said. “He’s Scottish. I’m German. So, we are not used to putting numbers out. So, you’ll probably have to until the player union is giving you more insight into this.”
Gauld and and his Whitecaps’ teammates will begin their 2024 campaign with the Champions Cup coming first. The first match is on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. against Mexican side Tigres. That match will be played at Starlight Stadium in Langford, B.C.
The home opener of the MLS season for the Whitecaps is on Mar. 2 against Charlotte FC.