Whitecaps make Jarju first African DP

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No, the first African Designated Player in MLS won't be Didier Drogba.

The Vancouver Whitecaps announced the signing of 24-year-old Gambian forward Mustapha Jarju on Tuesday, making him the first African DP in MLS history.

Jarju, who is also known as Toubabo, most recently played for RAEC Mons, which was just promoted to the top flight in Belgium. He scored 25 goals and had 13 assists in all competitions for Mons in Belgium's second division last season and will look to combine with fellow DP Eric Hassli to spearhead an attack that has scored the third-fewest goals in MLS this season.

The move should also allow manager Tom Soehn to add width to the Vancouver attack by pushing Camilo out to the flanks.

What do you think about the signing of Jarju? Underwhelmed? Excited? Did you get your hopes up for Drogba? Think Jarju will find success in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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91 Responses to Whitecaps make Jarju first African DP

  1. Ryan says:

    Think it’s a great signing for the league. Just continue to expand.

  2. maka says:

    Why not? It’s an interesting player to give a DP contract to. Rather give it to him than de Guzman.

  3. we says:

    Bunch of idiots from ‘Caps’.

  4. GD10 says:

    Buzzkillington

  5. aristophanes says:

    haha… who???

  6. Jason B says:

    Sounds like a good signing. It was never going to be Drogba. But, next season when Beckham and his 6 million dollar salary could be off LA’s books? Hmmmm…

  7. Ian says:

    The poooooooor man’s Drogba

  8. Great signing by MLS…young player with what appears to be a knack for goals.

    Unlike our over 30 signings who are often injured and looking to use MLS as a VACA..!!

  9. MC Pharaoh says:

    What a let down…. He lit up the Belgian 2nd division for god sakes. Colin Udoh had us believing Drogba because he said “captains his national team”. Then we find out he captained his u-17 side.

    He may end up being okay, but DP money maybe a risk.

  10. ec says:

    No idea who the player is, but like that MLS teams are signing talented younger players. Nice numbers, even if it’s the Belgium 2nd division.

  11. Jimmy Bobo says:

    It will be interesting to see how he does in MLS. Evidently, he tore up the Belgian second division. Strange that there were no other clubs in Europe interested in this player. Or maybe MLS just made the guy the best offer. That would be weird.

  12. Josh says:

    A DP whose signature accomplishment at this point is getting his team promoted to the *Belgian* top flight?!?!?

    I don’t get it. From Jarju’s perspective, it ought to be easier to get noticed by scouts from the big leagues if he stays in Belgium. He’s 24, so he can still develop his game and move to a better league. From the Whitecaps’ perspective, why would you sign two quality strikers when the midfield can’t get them the ball?

    Don’t get me wrong: the kid looks talented, and I hope he does well for the Whitecaps. I just don’t see why he’s worth a DP signing.

  13. sushant says:

    MLS needs a balance in signing DPs. Some of them should be up ‘n comers that can add quality to the game. Some of them need to have name recognition so they put people in seats. This is obviously in the first category.

    Guys like Henry, Beckham and Marquez are at the tail end of their careers and can’t bring it every game, but when they do they definitely add a lot of quality.

  14. toro says:

    Not a great signing for a DP though. Although he would be half price for the rest of the season.
    Yet I’m assuming this is intended to be a long-term signing, so next year the real test begins.

    There are lots of these kinds of players in second divisions around the world. He probably won’t make a significant difference.

  15. tbkh says:

    The Whitecaps are so arrogant. This guy is going to be a bust.

  16. DC Josh says:

    Seems like a goalscorer. Good that he is under 30. Let’s see how he pairs with Hassli. I’d rather get a young, good player as a DP than an old, big name player.

  17. DaMA says:

    If Colin Udoh had you believing it was Drogba then you are a moron. Sorry but there is no way nice to put how unconnected with reality you had to be to believe it was Drogba.

  18. Jeff Awesome says:

    I’ve never heard of the guy, but it sounds like he’s good. It is an interesting move for a 24-year-old, but if African players like MLS, then it couuld be a great thing for the league going forward.

  19. Oranje Mike says:

    What has this guy done to be worth DP money? Interesting signing but potentially futile. It’s also really lame to tease your signing for a guy no one has heard of. When you make a big deal it creates the impression of a legit major signing. I’ll bet there’s a collective groan in Vancouver.

  20. RobsterCraw says:

    I much prefer the approach of building the quality of this league from the bottom up, and spending on players to get results and not hype. This is the right approach to using the DP rule. Bring in younger (<27yo) talented players and let them build their careers in the MLS and if they move on, then possibly in exchange for a healthy transfer fee.

    Whether this player is himself of DP quality is something I can’t speak to. Every signing comes with risk and uncertainty, and big signings just mean that more is at stake and the opportunity costs are that much higher.

  21. Berlin says:

    You clearly misunderstood. Udoh indirectly indicated it was Jarju this morning.

  22. jonk says:

    I love how so many are crying about how he doesn’t seem DP worthy…yet they’d also be whining if Vancouver signed some aging big name. In my opinion this is the best use of DP money (which, btw, doesn’t mean the guy is getting insane money) because it allows teams to bring in promising younger players that might have otherwise gone to 2nd tier Euro leagues that are at the same quality level as MLS anyway.

  23. jonk says:

    Vancouver said they had a major player announcement. The internet is responsible for all the hype. And then they signed the first African DP so I think that warrants a major player announcement.

  24. Brit says:

    Udoh specifically said that it was not a well known name

  25. lionel says:

    Exactly +1

  26. Morning Train says:

    thank you Vancouver…please keep making this league better by scouting west africa, random euro leagues and south america.

    now it’s time to start poaching kids from eastern europe and south america!!!!!!

  27. Jeremy says:

    would be interested to hear from someone with knowledge of Belgian football if there was talk of other teams being interested in him.

    It’s hard to get excited for this guy.

  28. Brock says:

    Excuse me but is Soehn not lighting up the league since he voted himself Manager? Ho dare we question Him!

  29. Bibby says:

    Love this signing for the Caps. That being said, the only question mark around this guy will be his age.. The sad reality of it is that the dude is probably in his mid 30’s rather than 24. Had to be said..

  30. Bob Dobalina says:

    Here’s a story from an African website that I got from someone at Big Soccer.

    link to allafrica.com

  31. jonk says:

    Come on now. He’s Gambian not Nigerian. Speaking of which, Colombia and Gambia are quietly (or maybe not so quietly) amassing a lot of representatives in MLS.

  32. joosetiger says:

    I totally agree with you on both points. Finding up and coming talent is the best approach. Also, you’re spot on in describing the risks with signing any new player. Someone had to take a chance at Drogba, some time ago, no? This is why teams have scouts and do research. Finding a young, talented player with POTENTIAL can be a bargain when you’re the team to nab them BEFORE they emerge as a top player. Some teams do it with Youth Development, others do it with scouting.

  33. Rich, UK says:

    The guy probably isn’t on a huge wage, but his transfer fee takes it to a DP level (see Fabian Castillo for a similar situation).

  34. SeattleStan says:

    I know you can be underwhelmed and I know you can be overwhelmed. But can you just be whelmed?

  35. Jonh says:

    Cmon guys. He’s getting DP money that doesnt mean he’s getting Henry or Beckham money. It’s still called DP money if you make 1% more than the maximum. Whitecaps’s first DP has turned out to be pretty exciting player so far.

  36. jonk says:

    I’m not even a Vancouver supporter but I’m hopeful this guy does well in MLS just for the ensuing Lion King themed chants either from the Southsiders or directed at him by other SGs.

  37. Shane also known nuraru says:

    People need to realize that not every team or city can attract the likes of an Henry or Beckham as a DP. I think this is a good move and use of the DP by Vancouver. I hope more young African players choose to start their career in MLS rather than the lower Euro leagues. MLS is just as good as several of the lower Euro leagues and the players on average will be treated much better in the USA than in Europe.

  38. Seriously says:

    I had never heard of Freddy Montero before he was talked about in MLS circles either. While he hasn’t been the best player in the league he has been a creative attacking force that has grown with Seattle. I think Montero was a great signing and I hope this guy turns out to be similar. Young exciting players are exactly who should be getting DP money.

  39. jonk says:

    +1, these are the types of DP signings more teams should be trying to make

  40. jonk says:

    Granted it will be a fine line not to venture into racist territory.

  41. hogatroge says:

    I agree… DP just means they’re getting over $250,000/yr (or something like that) which is what it takes to lure pretty much anyone from Europe.

    Drogba, despite his quality, is too old and will start physically breaking down before long. Teams would be wise to start investing in promising young players.

  42. Seriously says:

    I ownder if this DP signing isn’t similar to the Castillo one where the DP tag is due to a transfer fee and next year he won’t hold that same tag if the fee has been paid off by then. It may not be but it seems plausible.

  43. Seriously says:

    wonder*

  44. Modibo says:

    This is hilarious – Toubabo is basically West African slang for “Frenchman,” “European,” or just “white guy” – I know from being called that in Peace Corps for years. Wonder what it is in his background that earned him this moniker.

  45. BellusLudas says:

    Great signing…in fact shows that MLS is maturing beyond just trying to sell tickets to see a big name or someone from country with huge ex-pat population.

    Vancouver is simply trying to improve their team and got the best player available…MLS is growing up.

    Now, if they could only have gotten him before he left to Europe and got him cheaper.

  46. Dustyn says:

    I am glad to see a team use a DP slot for a young star rather than an aging star. Good for them.

  47. Alex says:

    Agreed on most points, but I have to point out that it’s likely the guy’s salary isn’t what makes him a DP, its the transfer fee involved.

  48. PCFC says:

    Thank you.

  49. Chris says:

    I agree with many that it is good for MLS to tag the young, quality player with potential so the standard of play becomes better and more attractive. I also think there is value in the aging, proven “big name.” The Henry’s and Beckhams get butts in the seats which only serves to expand interest. They also can be good stewards for bringing in more quality. And ask Agudelo or Rogers how playing with Henry has risen their level of play? I think there needs to be a good balance.

  50. Seriously says:

    I actually address that in a post on down the list. Do we know if this is the case? I Agree with you that it is probably a transfer fee that causes the tag to be used. This is really a great tool for MLS teams. They can get around the transfer fee rules MLS has by signing “DP’s” that are younger and won’t remain DP’s then allowing them to sign another young “DP”.

  51. Seriosuly says:

    I think most people will agree that there is certainly value in the older guys. Most are just glad to see that MLS is using the DP rule to attract younger talent that can stay in this league for a while and grow with it as well. I think a nice balance should be struck between aging stars and up and comers. This allows for veteran experience to come in and help young American players while at the same time growing the league by bringing in exciting young talent that will attract attention from big clubs globaly.

    It is great to see clubs use the DP tag in advantageous ways asside from paying one old player a big paycheck for his last few seasons.

  52. KNPonder says:

    +1 In a best case scenario, a team should probably use one slot for a “draw” who can still play (gotta pay the bills) and the other slot for a promising talent.

  53. dan says:

    wow….

    well that was bs. way to get everyone excited for nothing whitecaps

  54. DidierDrogbasAgent says:
  55. roger says:

    I agree.

    hopefully the dynamo can add the young colombian in trial.

  56. Sims says:

    eurodouchy

  57. Rev up those Revs says:

    I thought only the Revs could sign Gambians

  58. Joamiq says:

    Udoh did not have “us” believing Drogba. He had YOU believing Drogba. No one with a brain actually thought there was any chance of it being Drogba.

  59. Alex says:

    I confess that I don’t know that for sure, I’m only assuming it to be a similar case to Fabian Castillo. Regardless, it is a great tool and signing players like Castillo, Montero and possibly Jarju that are young, hungry and talented can only be good for the league.

  60. miked. says:

    I’m not sure that you’ve fully grasped the definition of the word “arrogant”. Because the act of signing a player and issuing a press release isn’t arrogant. If the Whitecaps were to issue a press release stating, “We are the best football club ever.” then your claim of arrogance would be justified.

  61. miked. says:

    What was the tease? Yesterday’s simple statement that a player/roster announcement would be made today?
    What was the big deal being made? Today’s press release and subsequent press conference?
    If that’s the case, you sure are easily teased and impressed.

  62. fischy says:

    You know what DPs make? At least $335k. How many top-flight players in Europe make that little? Just because Beckham and Henry came over as DPs doesn’t mean every DP will have that kind of pedigree. Becks and Henry cost their teams millions each year (the league only covers that first $335k) — I’m sure Jarju isn’t getting that kind of bank.

  63. miked. says:

    wow….

    Your comments are misdirected. Whitecaps simply made a signing and an announcement. The excitement came from some reporter on twitter and from message boards, where people simply starting naming the names of any and all African players they’ve ever heard of.

  64. fischy says:

    “Worth DP money”?? Let’s say he’s getting $500k, like Boskovic is doing with DC. That would put him at the low end of the pay scale in the EPL, and wouldn’t entice a lot of players to leave teams in Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Holland.

  65. fischy says:

    Whatever happened to “world-class” striker Omar Salgado?

  66. jonk says:

    Is that some kind of dig against Soehn? Did he say Omar was world-class when they drafted him super early? Cause I know from the tons of comments you’ve left here or at the Post that you’re not actually that naive.

  67. Ricky B. Free says:

    He will be a good signing if he adds to the quality of the league. We will just have to wait and see.

  68. Münster says:

    Why am I seeing an “AfroIntroductions” dating advertisement on the left.

  69. PD says:

    I think it’s great that MLS is using DP money to attract players who are in the beginning two thirds of their career, but it makes me wonder if we wouldn’t bet better served spending that kind of cash to make the average wage for non DP players a little more tolerable…

  70. PD says:

    I mean a DP should be a start you can build a team around, but let’s be honest, it’s also about putting a$$es$ in $eat$ (see Beckham and Henry). If your DP can’t do that, you should have an option to waive your DP and lot that “overage” to your overall roster. Real Salt Lake Dallas and Colorado are all pretty good examples of what a little extra cash to the overall roster would do.

  71. Adam M. says:

    Can we please get rid of the DP rule and let teams sign whoever they want? Its true that not every team has the pull of LA or NY or the rabid fan base as the three Pacific Northwest teams. But there are at least 6-8 teams, through either market size, fan base or both, who probably would spend more money to bring quality to the field if the weren’t restricted by the DP rule and cap (and I’m not counting the eventual Cosmos). I’ll take that league — it’d still be more competitive overall than Spain or many other countries (not as good, but more competitive). Jarju sounds like a nice find, but calling a unknown second-division Belgium league player a “major” signing or putting him into the same false category as Henry or Beckham is silly. Let’s have 15 of those like him around the league and have it be a “regular” signing. Leave the “major” announcements for major players.

  72. TR says:

    The reason it’s there is to make sure that teams spend money responsibly, since only a few of the clubs are profitable. Once MLS rises in terms of revenue, no doubt the DP rule will be abolished but until then it is probably necessary to keep the league stable.

  73. jpc says:

    Wonder what their paying him? If it’s not alot then it’s probably a good pickup based on his stats, age, and international experience

  74. jpc says:

    I think its a good rule, every league has a version of max contracts, and the MLS rule balances the reality that certain teams are in danger of getting priced out of competition w/ the other league reality that the league will stagnate unless major talent is brought in to continuously push the level of competition higher and higher, which will in turn raise revenues… It seems artificial, and it is, but that’s b/c it has to be. Clubs that are richer than the entire MLS organization are going bankrupt right before our eyes, MLS is a forward thinking organization, and I hope it stays that way.

  75. KB says:

    We give second-division Belgian players DP contracts now?

  76. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    No, bigoted stereotypes and baseless accusations really don’t have to be said.

  77. fischy says:

    I beieve it might have been Teitur…

  78. fischy says:

    Mostly, I was just wondering what happened to Salgado…

  79. Beta says:

    How about Japan, why (outside of Kimura, who went to college here) are we not scoring more J-League talent. Look what happened to Kawgawa and Honda… we need that

  80. Sean says:

    Looks like a good player, but DP’s should have to earn their status. Hopefully he isn’t a softy like Koke

  81. Livy says:

    #3 is a perfect spot for him…This guy is will fit nicely alongside Hassli or Salgado.

  82. Jake says:

    they all have DP worthy players that they will have to pay to keep

  83. Hugo says:

    It’s about the player and the right fit, not the league, eurosnob

  84. abc says:

    I support any DP signing that takes a chance on a player under 25. More Fabian Castillos please.

  85. fischy says:

    The problem isn’t the DP rule — it’s the salary cap. That’s there to keep a lid on expenses…to hold down salaries. Good luck getting the owners to agree to get rid of that….

  86. Cyrus says:

    Daniel Cruz? He’s 30

  87. abc says:

    Most Americans have never heard of Drogba!

  88. abc says:

    Ever heard of a little something called a “transfer fee”?

    Fabian Castillo is technically a DP also.

  89. abc says:

    Yeah whatever happened to a 17 year old kid in his rookie year, who many thought wouldn’t be able to play a single first team game until his birthday this fall…..

  90. abc says:

    Actually, anyone who thinks the salary cap is a “problem” is the problem, that problem being lack of intelligence.