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Allentown native Danny Barbir signs USL deal with Vancouver Whitecaps

Former West Bromwich Albion FC center back trained with the Union over the summer

USA U17 v England U17: Nike International Friendlies Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Allentown native Danny Barbir is heading north of the border for the next stop on his professional career.

The 19-year-old, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia but grew up in the Allentown area, has signed a USL contract with Vancouver Whitecaps through the end of the season.

The center back had a brief training stint with the Philadelphia Union back in July after he was released by West Bromwich Albion in England.

Barbir was part of the Union’s youth setup in its pre-U.S. Soccer Development Academy days as a member of youth club affiliate Players Development Academy, but chose to use his dual citizenship - his father was born in Romania - to go abroad when he turned 16, joining Manchester City’s youth academy in 2014.

He signed his first professional contract with West Bromwich Albion a year later and had a goal in 10 appearances for West Brom’s U23 team in 2016-17. He made two appearances for the United States U17 team at the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile.

Vancouver announced his signing on Thursday.

“Danny is a big, strong young centre back who has experience in a highly competitive environment in England,” said Whitecaps FC 2 head coach Rich Fagan in a news release. “We’ll continue to push him and evaluate him during the final stretch of our USL season.”