Former Retriever Matt Watson Signs With MLS' Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Matt Watson, circa 2005
Matt Watson, circa 2005

Last month, former UMBC standout Matt Watson signed a contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of Major League Soccer.

Watson becomes the second Retriever to sign with an MLS squad in the past year. Levi Houapeu, who earned four letters from 2007-10, was drafted and signed with the Philadelphia Union in the March of 2011.   

Watson played two seasons of for the Retrievers in 2004 and 2005. He scored seven goals and added 16 assists, while twice being named America East Conference Midfielder of the Year. In 2005, Watson received National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-South Atlantic Region First Team honors.

"I am very happy for Matt," UMBC head coach Pete Caringi said. "He has worked very hard to get to this level. We look forward to watching him play this upcoming season."

Watson, 26, joins Whitecaps FC after playing the past four seasons with North American Soccer League (NASL) club Carolina RailHawks. Last season, the native of Redditch, England, scored three goals and added two assists in 24 appearances to help Carolina capture the NASL regular season title. During his four seasons with the RailHawks, Watson scored eight goals and registered 11 assists with Carolina at the North American second division level. He ranks second all-time in club history after starting 98 of his 107 total appearances for the RailHawks.

Watson also competed for the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League from 2006-2011. He was a member of Baltimore's 2008 and 2009 championship teams.  Watson recorded 82 points in 80 Blast games, averaging just over a point a game for his career (34 goals, 11 assists).

Prior to his time in Carolina, Watson scored 10 goals and added seven assists in 41 total appearances with Richmond Kickers in the United Soccer Leagues Second Division (USL-2) seasons of 2006 and 2007. This included four goals and four assists in leading the Kickers to the 2006 USL-2 championship title.