Omar Salgado has received a FIFA exemption, clearing the way for him to get an International Transfer Certificate and suit up for the Vancouver Whitecaps. If Salgado had not received the exemption, he would have been forced to sit out the season until he turned 18 in September. As it is now, he'll soon be eligible for selection to the first or reserve teams.
"I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to my club on the field and I will continue working hard, so that I am ready when that day comes," Salgado said in a team release.
The Whitecaps shocked followers of MLS when they made the 6-foot-4 17-year-old the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft. Not only was Salgado considered a particularly raw talent, having never made a senior team appearance for Chivas de Guadalajara and only making nine appearances for the United States U-20 team, but it was never a guarantee that he'd be able to play for a Canadian team before turning 18. Salgado had previously represented Mexico at the U-17 and U-20 levels before choosing the U.S. and signing a Generation Adidas contract with MLS.
Since joining the Whitecaps, Salgado has proven a quick learner and has impressed many observers. He is currently with the U.S. U-20 team as it prepares to play in the CONCACAF championship.
"Omar is a great talent and will be an important player to the club," Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson said in a team release. "To have the news that he will be able to play from this point on is great for us, as Omar has already showed us that he can play on this level. I'm delighted for him and the club."