Vancouver loans Canada int’l Adekugbe to Brighton

Samuel Adekugbe (pictured) warms up before Canada faced the host USA in an international friendly on February 5, 2016, in Carson, California. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)

VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced Friday that left back Samuel Adekugbe has been loaned to English Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion FC through June 2017,

The 21-year-old trained with Brighton in December 2015 and will start the season with the club’s under-21 team.

"We continue to look for ways for our young players to develop and this will be a great opportunity for Sam," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "We'll be tracking his progress closely while on loan as he remains an important member of our club."

Adekugbe, who was born in London, England, joined the Whitecaps FC Residency program in September 2011 and was signed to Vancouver's MLS roster in August 2013. This season, he has made four first-team appearances, including two Amway Canadian Championship matches. In addition, Adekugbe has started four USL matches for Whitecaps FC 2, tallying one assist.

"We know all about Sam and his qualities from his time with us last December,” said Brighton manager Chris Hughton. “He initially began with our under-21 group, but quickly showed he was capable of stepping up to train with our first team. He will join the under-21 squad and his challenge, along with others, is to make that step up into the first-team squad.”

With Canada, Adekugbe has three international caps, including one in a World Cup qualifier at Belize on September 8, 2015. He appeared in four games at the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.

Adekugbe also played in each of Vancouver’s four games in the 2015/16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCL).

The Whitecaps will open 2016/17 SCCL play at Trinidad & Tobago’s Central FC on August 2.