Photo: Former Cardiff and Nottingham Forest ace Robert Earnshaw seals MLS deal

Cardiff City Stadium

The veteran striker has reunited with former Wales teammate and Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson at the Canadian club.

The Vancouver Whitecaps have bolstered their attack with the signing of experienced striker Robert Earnshaw following a successful trial.

Earnshaw, 33, first linked up with the Whitecaps in preseason after reaching out to head coach and former Wales teammate Carl Robinson and, with a deal now confirmed, is set to turn out for his third MLS team in three seasons.

“I’m very excited to officially join Whitecaps FC and be a part of this great organization,” Earnshaw told the club’s official website. “The club has treated me well since I’ve been here. I’m thrilled to help the team continue to progress, while bringing enjoyment and passion to my new team.”

Earnshaw, who has also announced his retirement from international retirement, first moved across the Atlantic in 2013 to sign for Toronto FC, where he scored eight times in 26 regular-season appearances, only to be released at the end of his debut campaign to make room for big-name signings Jermain Defoe and Gilberto.

After heading back to the UK, the 58-times capped Welshman signed a short-term deal with Blackpool last March but made just one appearance during his two-month stint before opting to give MLS another go.

He managed to earn a deal with the Chicago Fire in August for the closing stretch of the 2014 season, going on to score three times in one start and four cameos, but his form still wasn’t enough for the club to pick up his contract option for 2015.

The former Premier League marksman now has another chance to trouble stateside defenders, however, and Whitecaps boss Robinson believes he will prove an invaluable addition in the Canadian club’s hunt for their first-ever MLS Cup title.

“First off, congratulations to Earnie on a fantastic international career,” said Robinson. “I had the privilege of representing Wales together with Earnie and he always gives his all in everything he does. Not only is he a natural goalscorer, he will also bring great character and leadership to our locker room, while passing along his experience to our young group of forwards.”

Earnshaw boasts a scoring record in English football of 198 goals in 459 total appearances across spells at Cardiff City, West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City, Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Blackpool, with his transfer fees since leaving the former club in 2004 totalling £12.65 million.

In addition, the Cardiff product is the only player to record a hat-trick in every professional league in England, including the FA Cup and League Cup, as well as at the international level.

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