Whitecaps FC add Homegrown teenagers Baldisimo and Bair to the First Team

Baldisimo eligible for Canadian Championship play, Bair agrees to pre-contract beginning 2019

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced on Tuesday that the club has signed WFC Residency midfielder Michael Baldisimo and forward Theo Bair to multi-year MLS Homegrown contracts.

Baldisimo is available for selection for the Canadian Championship beginning on Wednesday, July 18 when the ‘Caps visit Montreal Impact for the first leg of the semifinal series – Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. PT, Radio: TSN 1040, Online: CanadaSoccer.com. Bair has agreed to an MLS pre-contract beginning in 2019.

“We are excited to add both Michael and Theo to our first-team environment,” said head coach Carl Robinson. “It’s a big step going from youth to first-team football and we believe this is the best place for both players to continue their development.”

With Bair, Baldisimo, Simon Colyn, Sean Melvin, and David Norman Jr., Whitecaps FC now have signed five players from the club’s development system to MLS Homegrown contracts in the past eight months. Bair, Baldisimo, and Colyn, plus fellow Homegrown player Alphonso Davies, give the ‘Caps four teenagers on their first-team roster.

“Joining the first team is amazing. Being a Homegrown player, knowing the club is willing to invest in me, it feels really rewarding,” added Baldisimo. “I just want to work hard, try and make my first-team debut, play some games, and continue to develop.”

WFC midfielder Michael Baldisimo
• 13 goals in 82 starts and 88 appearances for WFC Residency U-16, U-18/U-19
• Made professional debut with Whitecaps FC 2 in USL
• Represented Canada at the 2017 CONCACAF Men’s U-17 Championship

“Michael does everything you want as a young midfield player, plus he can even play at right back. Ability wise, he’s got it all and we are looking forward to working with him as he continues to develop both on and off the pitch,” explains Robinson. “Whether he plays under-17, under-19, or the first team, it doesn’t faze him. When he gets his chance, he’ll be able to take it.”

“It’s an unreal feeling,” added Bair. “Earning an MLS contract with Vancouver has been my primary goal for a long time. The Academy was another unreal experience, they gave us everything and pushed us in the right direction. I’m fortunate the hard work has provided me the opportunity to step into the first-team environment and I now look forward to this challenge.”

WFC forward Theo Bair
• 60 goals in 75 starts and 98 appearances for WFC Residency U-16, U-18/U-19
• Led ‘Caps U-19s with six goals in recent Academy playoffs
• Scored a goal in four appearances for Canada U-21 at the Festival International Espoirs Provence last May

“Theo is a big, strong player. He likes to score goals and he’s caught fire recently,” said Robinson. “There’s raw potential in him. We are excited to see him develop as he trains with the first team on a regular basis.”

Baldisimo and Bair, both 18, join the first team after helping lead the WFC Residency U-19 team to a semifinal finish in the Academy Championship earlier this month.

Baldisimo originally joined the club’s Residency program at age 11 in 2011, and began competing with the U-13 Pre-Residency program. Bair entered WFC Residency in 2015, and with Baldisimo, competed for the U-16 and U-18 sides in their first year of Development Academy play. Baldisimo and Bair were members of the U-18 side that finished second in 2016, and then helped the U-16 team to a fourth-place finish in the following year.

In three seasons of DA league and cup competition with the WFC Residency U-16, U-18/U-19 teams, Baldisimo scored 13 goals in 82 starts and 88 appearances, while Bair totalled 60 goals in 75 starts and 98 appearances.

Baldisimo and Bair were teammates on the Canada U-21 national team at the Festival International Espoirs Provence in France last May, with Bair scoring a goal against Japan.

Baldisimo played for Wesburn Youth Soccer Club, South Burnaby Metro Club, Mountain United FC, and Burnaby Selects in his youth. He made his professional debut as an Academy call-up with Whitecaps FC 2 in 2016, before signing a contract with the former USL side in 2017, totalling six starts and 13 league appearances. He is one of three Baldisimo brothers to develop within the WFC Residency program, along with elder brother Mark and middle brother Matthew, who is playing with United Soccer League affiliate Fresno FC.

Bair started his youth career with Ottawa Royals, before joining Capital United FC and West Ottawa SC before his move to Vancouver.

Michael Baldisimo
Pronunciation: bal-DEE-si-mo
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-06
Weight: 150
Date of Birth: April 13, 2000 in Burnaby, BC
Hometown: Burnaby, BC
Citizenship: Canada
Status: Homegrown, Domestic
Last Club: Whitecaps FC Residency U-19 (Development Academy ’18)
Transaction: Signed to MLS Homegrown contract on July 17, 2018
Instagram: @michaelbaldisimo

Theo Bair
Position: Forward
Height: 6-04
Weight: 215
Date of Birth: August 27, 1999 in Ottawa, ON
Hometown: Ottawa, ON
Citizenship: Canada
Status: Homegrown, Domestic
Last Club: Whitecaps FC Residency U-19 (Development Academy ’18)
Transaction: Signed to MLS Homegrown pre-contract on July 17, 2018, for January 1, 2019
Twitter: @ttbair
Instagram: @theloniusbair

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