Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whitecaps Complete Deal With Fan Favourite

The Whitecaps inked French defender Mouloud Akloul today, one of the most popular players on the team, even though he has yet to play a full match for the team.  Akloul was signed to a division 2 contract last year with the hopes of that his play would earn him a spot on the MLS roster in 2011.  Unfortunately he hasn't been injury free since last April when he broke his ankle while scoring a goal twenty minutes into his Whitecaps debut.  Despite that injury which has required follow up surgeries it should come as no surprise that Akloul is signed to a MLS roster spot.

Akloul was born and spent his early soccer days training in France while holding dual citizenship for both his country of birth and Algeria.  He started his youth career in France and played in Ligue 2 for several years before moving in 2007 to play his club football in the Algerian League.  Akloul spent less than a year in Algeria as he decided to move to the United Arab Emirates to play for a couple of seasons with Al-Ittihad Kalba.  He was discovered by Tom Sohen in a match played by unsigned players in Switzerland and signed to a contract with the Whitecaps.

In the video posted below it’s very clear to see that Akloul’s main strength is constantly attacking the ball whether it's on the ground or in the air.  He would also be an asset in the box on either side of the field especially on set pieces where he has the ability to score goals.  Akloul is also known to join in on the attack where he often displays his above average technical skills of both bringing the ball up the field himself and distributing it to his teammates confidently.  While Akloul is not the fastest defender on the team, he has great awareness and always seems to be in the right place at the right time.  His biggest assest is his ability to communicate with teammates on the pitch as he is normally one of the most vocal players during a match.

Many in the local media feel that if healthy he would have been penciled in as the starter alongside DeMerit, ahead of Greg Janicki, at center half to start the season, if it had not been for the injury.  Akloul will especially important for the Whitecaps if DeMerit is called up to the U.S. national team for the Gold Cup.  Because of the complicated recovery from the ankle injury last year, Akloul will be brought along slowly as the team want to make sure he is physically and mentally over his injury and can play his type of game.  Once he is 100% match fit and ready to play it should not come as a surprise to see Akloul reclaim his spot in the starting eleven.

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