A week after the local media discovered that Ethan Gage would not be training with the Caps and was on trial with Reading FC in England, it is official and the reigning U20 player of the year has transferred overseas. When he did arrive a couple days after news broke Gage told reporters that he felt the trial went well and he were waiting to hear from his agent if a contract would be offered. The signing of Gage is another example of how successful the Whitecaps residency program has become in developing young football players. Gage will be the fourth player in four years to move to Europe on transfer or loan with Straith (2008), Latendresse-Levesque (2009), Haber (2010) being the other previous higher profile prospects to make the move overseas.
Prior to joining the Whitecaps in 2007, the young Canadian had trialed with Reading but at that time was not offered anything. Since Gage joined the Whitecaps organization at the age of 16 he helped the Whitecaps win a senior title and a PDL championship in 2008. With all the turnover and new players coming in during the 2010 season, Gage seemed to get lost in the shuffle and with his injury issues he may have lost his confidence on the pitch. However by the end of the season his play improved and he returned to the starting eleven in place of injured Wes Knight at right back during the playoffs. There was word among supporters of the Whitecaps and the national team that the organization was down on Gage and was not interested in signing him. The news today explains that Gage had an offer that was too good to refuse and was going to explore his options.
In the official release from Reading FC, the contracts terms are for six months with an option for an additional year. According to an article in The Reading Chronicle, Gage was linked to Wolfsburg of the Bundesliga but the Championship side was able to swoop in with an offer. Whether Gage remains in England for length of his contact and longer or returns during the summer after six months, the experience he receives in England will be valuable in his future club career and especially in his international career. Gage will always have an open invitation to return to the club and as he stated last week he will be always be thankful for the opportunity the club provided.