Amer Didic named to Whitecaps’ training camp roster

One of the big questions that looms over the current off-season pertains to the future of Amer Didic, whether he’ll be back in the CPL in 2020 or find a new home with an MLS club.

Speculation has run rampant about the FC Edmonton defender in the past few weeks, and now it appears Didic is one step closer to making a move to MLS as he was named to the Vancouver Whitecaps’ training camp roster on Sunday.

Didic is one of several players invited to Vancouver’s pre-season camp, which opened this weekend and will see the team travel on Friday to California where they will play three friendlies in 11 days. Also earning an invite to the Whitecaps pre-season camp was midfielder Aboubacar Sissoko, who signed with HFX Wanderers FC in November

When asked by late last week about his future, Didic said “Yeah, at the moment I’m just weighing out my options.”

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FCE coach Jeff Paulus has been eager to re-sign Didic to a new deal, while at the same time trying to secure a move to an MLS club for his star defender.

“We’re trying to get Amer signed here, and he’s happy here. This is home for him,” Paulus told back in November. “But, he’s a player that I said from the get-go, it’s no secret: I want to do everything I could to get him back to the MLS, because I believe he’s an MLS-quality defender.”

If the trial with the Whitecaps doesn’t work out, Didic will be back with the Eddies, OneSoccer’s Kurt Larson is reporting.

Current Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos is familiar with Didic, as the FCE defender played under Dos Santos in 2016 when he managed Swope Park Rangers in the USL. Didic walked on at Swope Park as an undrafted trialist, and by the end of the year he was a USL all-star, and earned call-ups to Sporting Kansas City to play in the Concacaf Champions League.

“This past year, from the first day of training camp to the last day of the season, his development was terrific,” Dos Santos said as he left Swope Park at the end of the 2016 season.

“Here was a kid who had gone to FC Edmonton’s Academy and had moved on to Baker, a small college. He came to Kansas City on a trial. He goes on to play in a USL final and gets called up for three Champions League games. I think he has the tools to have an excellent future in this game.”

In an interview with last year, Didic credited Dos Santos for helping him make great strides early on in his career.

“Marc? He was tremendous. He gave me the confidence to be where I am today, and he and Nikola Popovic (the then-assistant at Swope Park who currently coaches the USL’s Ottawa Fury), they believed in me when I didn’t really believe in myself,” Didic said.

“They pushed me and gave me the tools and said to me ‘you can do this, you’ve just got to put in that work and focus on yourself.’”