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Vancouver Whitecaps add young defender Tim Parker at MLS SuperDraft

01/15/2015 08:22 EST | Updated 03/17/2015 05:59 EDT
PHILADELPHIA - In an MLS SuperDraft well stocked with defenders, Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said he got the one he wanted Thursday in St. John's captain Tim Parker.

The Whitecaps used their 13th overall pick to make the six-foot-two 195-pounder from Hicksville, N.Y., the fifth of eight defenders taken in the first round at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

"We've got our man and we're delighted with that," said Robinson, who had expected Parker to go earlier.

"He's a typical Whitecaps player," he added. "He's got personality, he's respectful and he's tough. And if you're going to win things, then those are the characters you need.

The Whitecaps had identified Parker prior to the MLS Combine, with Robinson calling the 21-year-old "arguably the best centre back in the Combine."

Parker appeared in 79 of 80 Red Storm matches over the past four seasons, anchoring a backline that posted 30 shutouts.

"I'm extremely excited," said Parker, who had four collegiate goals. "It's a new door for me and I'm ready to walk into it, ready to work and ready to out my head down and do my job."

Vancouver used its second-round pick to take forward Kay Banjo from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Banjo transferred there after three seasons with the Towson Tigers, whose program was discontinued at the end of 2012. Banjo started 62 of 65 of his appearances in the NCAA, recording 23 goals and 17 assists.

With Jay DeMerit, Andy O'Brien and Johnny Leveron gone, Vancouver needed help at centre back for Kendall Waston and sophomore Christian Dean. Parker is another young asset at the back.

Robinson and his braintrust have added young talent, with three or more pieces to come.

"We're a work in progress in pre-season as we continue to do that," said Robinson. "But we're going to bring talented young players in. That's the model I want this football club to do moving forward."

The acquisition of 24-year-old Uruguayan centre back Diego Rodriguez on a one-year loan with a transfer option from Juventud of the Uruguayan league helps.

Parker, a Tottenham fan who has never been to Canada before, said he will play wherever needed.

Octavio Rivero, a 22-year-old young designated player from Uruguay acquired last month, adds some teeth up front.

"I've got someone who can score goals, I know that," Robinson said. "We need to up our goals ratio by 25 to 30 odd goals this year if we want to compete with L.A. and Seattle. We've got a big piece of that puzzle.

"Is Octavio going to come in and score 30 goals? Hopefully he does but I don't want to put that much pressure on him. We've got to find goals from other areas."

Centre backs like the six foot-five Waston can help on that at set pieces.

Robinson knows his team will have to step it up with Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo moving to the Western Conference this season.

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