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Vancouver Whitecaps sign Victoria goalkeeper Sean Melvin

Six-foot-four goalkeeper Sean Melvin says he has the size to “create a presence” in the crease. The Vancouver Whitecaps certainly think so, signing the Victoria product to a Major League Soccer contract on Monday.
Sean Melvin.jpg
Sean Melvin: "Work ethic."

Six-foot-four goalkeeper Sean Melvin says he has the size to “create a presence” in the crease.

The Vancouver Whitecaps certainly think so, signing the Victoria product to a Major League Soccer contract on Monday.

The Canada-capped Islander joins Kiwi Stefan Marinovic and American Brian Rowe as Whitecaps goaltenders on the roster.

“It’s something I have been working toward a long time and I’m really excited,” said Melvin. “It means a lot to me, especially to be signed by the home-province MLS team.”

Melvin, 23, was immediately recalled from the Whitecaps’ USL affiliate Fresno FC.

“I want to push [Marinovic and Rowe] for first-team minutes,” said Melvin. “I am still fairly young. This is a good step in my career. The Whitecaps said they like my work ethic. I am happy they have shown faith in me.”

It has been a steady ascent, from the Gordon Head youth association and Victoria United Metro program, to the NCAA and being capped for Canada, and now signing an MLS contract for 2018 with options for 2019 through 2021.

Melvin is the second Island goalkeeper to have signed with the Whitecaps after Simon Thomas from Oak Bay, the eight-time capped Canadian international, who now plays pro in Norway.

Melvin played three seasons for NC-Wilmington, making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament in his final year.

The lanky ‘keeper was tagged early by the Whitecaps, who brought him into their academy system at age 16. The national team took notice as Melvin was called to the pre-camp ahead of a friendly series against Iceland in 2016. He earned his first cap in 2017 against Bermuda. It was a bit of an adventure as Melvin went into the game as an injury replacement, only to be injured himself, and replaced by Canadian defender and fellow-Victorian Adam Straith.

“I hope to stay in the mix and be considered for the Canadian team,” said Melvin.

Being under MLS contract certainly doesn’t hurt anybody’s national-team prospects. He grew into the role. Quite literally. “I use my size to advantage,” said Melvin.

Now he hopes that height takes him to new heights in his career.

Also on the Whitecaps — whose ownership group includes Island products Steve Nash and Jeff Mallett — is former Victoria Highlanders defender Brett Levis.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com