WHITECAPS FC ACQUIRE CENTRE BACK JOSÉ AJA FROM ORLANDO CITY SC

24-year-old Uruguayan comes to Vancouver following two seasons in Florida

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VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC made another important addition to the roster on Saturday with the acquisition of 24-year-old Uruguayan centre back José Aja from Orlando City SC, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

In exchange for Aja, Orlando City SC will receive $125,000 of 2019 Targeted Allocation Monday (TAM). Orlando will receive an additional $100,000 of TAM if Aja is on the ‘Caps roster next season, as well as Vancouver’s 2021 natural second round draft pick if Aja remains with the club during the 2020 season. Orlando will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if Aja is transferred outside of MLS.

Aja is the latest acquisition in a busy offseason that has included the additions of centre back Doneil Henry and right back Sean Franklin, central midfielder Efraín Juárez, and strikers Anthony Blondell and Kei Kamara.

Whitecaps FC centre back José Aja

  • 6-foot-4 centre back from Montevideo, Uruguay
  • 24 starts in 25 MLS appearances since joining Orlando City SC in 2016
  • 81% passing accuracy during his first two seasons in MLS
  • Two goals and one assist while starting 20 of his 22 appearances in the Uruguayan Primera División from 2014 to 2016
  • Two appearances with Nacional in South America’s Copa Libertadores, and three appearances and one goal in the Copa Sudamericana

“José is a player who I first identified while scouting Cristian Techera in Uruguay three years ago,” said Carl Robinson, Whitecaps FC head coach. “He’s a big lad who is very comfortable on the ball. He will add another dimension to the group and complement our backline well, and he understands the league now after playing in MLS for 18 months. We’re excited to welcome him to our team and continue to help him grow to his full potential.”

Aja has been with Orlando since July of 2016, making 24 starts in 25 appearances. In his first MLS season in 2016, his 83.6% passing accuracy was among the best in the league for players at his position. His 4.87 duels won per game in 2017 was ninth in MLS among centre backs with at least 15 appearances.

The 6-foot-4 defender originally joined Orlando in 2016 on a six-month loan from Racing Club de Montevideo in his native Uruguay. In total, Aja started 20 of his 22 appearances in the Uruguayan Primera División with both Racing and Nacional from 2014 to 2016, scoring two goals and adding one assist. In cup competition with Nacional, he made two appearances in the Copa Libertadores and three appearances with one goal in the Copa Sudamericana.

The Uruguayan joins fellow countrymen Nicolás Mezquida and Cristian Techera on the Whitecaps FC roster, sharing the same hometown of Montevideo with Mezquida.

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