Whitecaps officially complete signing of 2022 J-League best XI goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka through 2024
The Vancouver Whitecaps reinforced their goalkeeping ranks on Friday, signing 2022 J-League Best XI goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka through the 2024 MLS season, with a club option for 2025.
The 26-year-old arrives in Vancouver with a wealth of experience under his belt, having played over 100 games in the J-League, as well as 8 in the AFC Champions League, a big boost for a young Whitecaps side.
Plus, he comes to the Whitecaps fresh off a career year in Japan, as he helped lead Yokohama F. Marinos to a league title in 2022, keeping 16 clean sheets in 42 games across all competitions, including 13 in 34 J-League games, and 3 in 7 Champions League outings. Thanks to that, he was also named to the J-League Best XI, capping off a fantastic season for the Yokohama-born native.
In Vancouver, he’s expected to slot in as the #1 in goal in front of 23-year-old Canadian Thomas Hasal, although the pair could split duty with the Whitecaps involved in multiple competitions in 2023, including MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, Canadian Championship and Leagues Cup.
Takaoka was signed using Target Allocation Money (TAM), and will occupy an international spot for the 2023 MLS season.
The Whitecaps are getting set to kick off their 2023 MLS season on February 25th when they host Real Salt Lake at BC Place. They also kick off their Champions League journey on March 8th, when they host Honduran side Real C.D. España at BC Place in the Round of 16, live on OneSoccer.