Malta international striker Etienne Barbara is expected to be offered a contract by MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps after they obtained the discovery rights to the player from Canadian rivals Montreal Impact.
In the past days, Barbara had complained that Montreal Impact had acquired his rights in a discovery claim which under MLS rules meant that Montreal could decide what to do with the player until the end of the 2012 season without him having a say.
Barbara was frustrated with the fact that he was stuck with Montreal with the club only seeming interest in holding his rights to try to get the best offer from another club as they were not ready to offer him a good salary.
Vancouver Whitecaps acquired the discovery rights to Barbara from Montreal Impact in exchange for Mexican defender Gienir Garcia, who was selected second overall in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft by Whitecaps FC.
Etienne Barbara has been playing in the USA for the past two years with Carolina RailHawks. While playing in NASL’s first season, he set records in the league while racking up 20 goals and 9 assists. He was also named the league’s Most Valuable Player, the Golden Boot winner and was included in the NASL Starting 11. Barbara broke records in Carolina, records he had set himself in 2010 – his first season at the club.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie, who has just joined the club from Carolina RailHawks and is therefore the person who coached Barbara for the past two years, said “Etienne is a fast, powerful player that can create goals. He understands soccer in North America and has had a good career in Europe. If we are able to sign him, he will bring versatility to our line-up as a wide midfielder or a striker.”
In Vancouver, Barbara would also join former Qormi striker Camilo da Silva Savezzo.