VANCOUVER (Wednesday, February 27, 2002) - The Vancouver Whitecaps today announced their first major new signing of 2002, as former Canadian international striker Niall Thompson of Vancouver returns to the club with which he claimed the 1999 A-League scoring title.
The 27-year-old striker joins Vancouver from the Montreal Impact where he played last season. He also spent time abroad over the past two years, playing with Airdrie of the Scottish 1st division in the 1999/2000 season, and then Wycombe Wanderers of the English 2nd division in 2000/2001.
In his lone season with Vancouver, in 1999, Thompson scored in the final game of the regular season to edge out team-mate Eduardo Sebrango and Seattle's Mark Baena to claim the league scoring title by a single point. Thompson finished with 20 goals and 7 assists for 47 points in 23 games to take both the point and goal scoring titles. Sebrango and Baena finished with 46 points each.
A former star of both the Canadian U-20 and U-23 teams, Thompson earned his first senior cap in 1993 at the age of 18 against South Korea. His most recent appearance was on October 9, 2000 in 1-0 home win over Panama in World Cup Qualifying, to give him a total of 9 "A" caps and 2 goals with the national team.
The 6'0" 176 lb (183cm 80kg) Thompson began his whirlwind career as a 16-year-old in the Canadian Soccer League with the Edmonton Brickmen and Winnipeg Fury. He then headed off to Europe, and after a stint with famed Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, moved to England where he spent 3 years with Crystal Palace of the 1st division, and another year with Colchester of the 3rd division. He returned to Canada in 1995 and signed with the APSL's Montreal Impact. Requesting a trade to Vancouver the next season, he ended up instead with the Seattle Sounders and helped them win the 1996 APSL Championship. Thompson then returned to Europe, spending a year each with Zulte FC of the Belgian 2nd division, and Brentford of the English 2nd division. He then joined Vancouver, signing on April 6, 1999, but returned to Britain at the end of the season. When Scottish club Airdrie fell into financial troubles, Thompson came back to the A-League late in the 2000 season to join the Bay Area Seals.
Born in Birmingham, England, on April 16, 1974, Niall and his family emigrated to Canada when he was 2. He is a product of Delta youth soccer.
Niall Thompson's A-League Playing Statistics
(regular season only)
Year Team GP GS Min G A Pts GWG C E
1999 Vancouver 23 17 1601 20 7 47 7 6 1
2000 Bay Area 6 6 511 2 0 4 - 3 0
2001 Montreal 21 18 1585 5 1 11 - 4 0
Total 50 41 4798 27 8 62 - 13
Alan Douglas, Soccer Information
Vancouver Whitecaps and Breakers Soccer Clubs