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Whitecaps part ways with seven
Gbeke among players not staying in Vancouver

Vancouver Whitecaps News Release -

Friday, October 23, 2009

VANCOUVER, BC -- Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced that they will not offer new contracts to free agents Vicente Arze, Charles Gbeke, and Lyle Martin. The club also announced that they will not exercise the 2010 contract options on goalkeeper Diego, defenders Michael Ndubuisi Onwatuegwu and Marco Reda, as well as striker Aaron Wheeler.

Gbeke led league in goals in 2009 (Bob Frid)

Arze, 23-years-old, made 19 appearances for 887 minutes of action, having recorded one assist this past year. In his two seasons with the Whitecaps, the native of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, had a goal and three assists in 48 appearances with the club, for a total of 2,015 minutes of action. Before signing with the 'Caps in 2008, the winger played four years of NCAA Division I soccer with Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Gbeke, 31-years-old, leaves the Whitecaps after completing his fourth spell with the club. Acquired midway through 2008 in a trade with Montreal Impact, the striker played in 38 matches, scored 14 goals and added three assists this past season. His 12 goals during the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) regular season made him the league's top goalscorer, an honor that followed him earning the 2008 USL-1 Championship MVP award. As a member of the Whitecaps, the native of Longueuil, Quebec, made 61 career appearances for 3,650 minutes of action. During that time, the striker scored 19 goals and recorded seven assists for the club.

Martin, 24-years-old, leaves the Whitecaps after three seasons with the club. The native of Bakersfield, California, made 25 appearances in all competitions for Vancouver in 2009, scoring one goal and adding two assists during the year. In his three seasons with the 'Caps, the right-sided player appeared in 82 matches for 6,415 minutes of action, scoring two goals and adding eight assists during that time. Prior to joining the Whitecaps, the defender/midfielder played four years of NCAA Division II soccer with California State University - Bakersfield.

Diego, 23-years-old, leaves the Whitecaps after one season with the club, having initially signed on January 30. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound native of Curvelo, Minas Gerais, Brazil, did not see any action with the 'Caps men's team during the season, through he made four appearances with the Residency team in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL). The South American shot-stopper posted two wins and two defeats in the PDL for a goals-against average of 1.43.

Onwatuegwu, 22-years-old, made one appearance with the Whitecaps this season. The centre back played the first half of the club's final regular season match on September 18, as Vancouver defeated Cleveland City Stars 2-1 at Swangard Stadium. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound native of Onitsha, Nigeria, initially joined the club on August 13 after a spell in the Indonesian Premier Division with Persiba Bantul from 2005 to 2008.

Reda, 32-years-old, scored two goals in 17 appearances during his lone season with the Whitecaps, having first joined the club from USL First Division rivals Charleston Battery on February 19. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound native of Woodbridge, Ontario, completed his seventh USL-1 season in 2009, with the defender spending his first five years in the league with former USL-1 club Toronto Lynx. In 2007, the centre back was part of Toronto FC's inaugural season in Major League Soccer.

Wheeler, 21-years-old, joined the Whitecaps on August 28, but did not see any action with the men's team during the season. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound native of Dundalk, Maryland, arrived in Vancouver after playing the 2009 PDL campaign with Reading Rage. He also played three seasons of NCAA Division II soccer with Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina, before transferring to Towson University in Maryland last spring.

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