Japanese midfielder Kobayashi joins Whitecaps

Japanese midfielder Daigo Kobayashi, a J-League veteran with stints in Greece and Norway as well, has signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer, the Canadian club announced.

Japanese midfielder Daigo Kobayashi, a J-League veteran with stints in Greece and Norway as well, pictured in action on August 20, 2009, has signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer, the Canadian club announced.

The 29-year-old striker spent the past two seasons with the Shimizu S-Pulse as well as scoring 14 goals in 90 matches from 2006-2008 for Omiya Ardija and helping Tokyo Verdy win the 2004 Emperor's Cup and 2005 Japanese Super Cup.

"We're really pleased that Daigo is going to be joining us," Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie said. "He's technically very gifted and he has got an excellent final pass. He can create goals for us and he has got a lot to prove.

"Those are the type of players we want in our squad."

Kobayashi, from Fuji, spent 18 months with Iraklis of the Greek league, playing in 14 matches in 2008, and the next year played for Norway's Stabaek, scoring eight times in 29 matches.

"I'm very happy to come to Vancouver," Kobayashi said. "I look forward to giving my all to help this club continue to grow and succeed."

Kobayashi won his only cap for Japan in a 2006 friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.

In 2006, Kobayashi was a Omiya Ardija teammate of Jun Marques Davidson, a returning midfielder for the Whitecaps.

"He can make the difference in the game," Davidson said. "He can take free kicks, corner kicks, with great accuracy. He can assist, he can score goals. Just the way he plays, I'm sure everyone will love him and how he plays.

"He's a pure entertainer and probably the most technical guy in the league."

That should help the goal production for the Whitecaps, the lowest-scoring team to qualify for last year's MLS playoffs.

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Writer: AFP
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