VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that the club has re-signed Designated Player Matías Laba to a multi-year contract extension. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Since joining the club in late February 2014, Matías has been exceptional both on and off the pitch,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “His skill, professionalism, and commitment are exemplary, and we are thrilled he will continue to be a foundational member of Whitecaps FC moving forward.”
Whitecaps FC midfielder Matias Laba
- Ranked 12th on MLS 24 under 24 list for 2015
- League-high 303 tackles in the regular season over last two seasons
- 168 interceptions since 2014, second-most among MLS midfielders
- 2014 Jock MacDonald Unsung Hero award recipient
“I have truly enjoyed my first two seasons in Vancouver,” Laba said. “I am thankful to Robbo and the club for having faith in me and bringing me here. This club has become like my family and it has a lot of potential to do big things. I look forward to being a part of that.”
Laba, 23, joined Whitecaps FC at the beginning of 2014 in a trade with Toronto FC. Since that point, the ‘Caps have posted more regular season clean sheets (26) than any other team in the league. The Argentine defensive midfielder, who was the recipient of Vancouver’s Jock MacDonald Unsung Hero award in 2014, has played a big part in that.
In fact, Laba has recorded a league-high 303 tackles over the last two seasons – 65 more than the next closest player. He also has the second-most interceptions (168) among all midfielders during that same period.
On the offensive side, Laba scored the game-winner in Vancouver’s Amway Canadian Championship semifinal win over FC Edmonton and the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Portland Timbers on July 18. He also assisted on the match-winner in the crucial 3-0 Decision Day win over Houston Dynamo on October 25.
This season, the third-year MLS midfielder recorded 235 recoveries, most among Whitecaps FC field players, and 200 duels won, highest on the team, while helping Vancouver to their first-ever Voyageurs Cup and a second-place finish in the Western Conference. He also led the club in successful passes with 1,134 and had the second best passing accuracy at 83 per cent.
Soccer media members across North America recognized Laba’s accomplishments and potential when he was ranked 12th on the annual MLS 24 under 24 list honouring the league’s top young players under 24 years old.
Laba and the ‘Caps enjoyed their most successful season in club MLS history this year, establishing new records with 16 wins and 53 points, while reaching the MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals for the first time.
Position: Central midfielder
Weight: 155 pounds
Date of Birth: December 11, 1991, in Villa Raffo, Argentina
Hometown: Villa Raffo, Argentina
Status: International, Designated Player
Previous Club: Toronto FC
How Acquired: Acquired via trade from Toronto FC on February 26, 2014