Vancouver signs NASL MVP Barbara

Vancouver Whitecaps FC signed 2011 NASL MVP Etienne Barbara on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Barbara, a Malta international, played the last two seasons in the NASL with the Carolina RailHawks. He won the Golden Ball and MVP last year and had 28 goals and 10 assists in his two seasons with the club.

"Etienne is an aggressive, powerful player," Whitecaps FC coach Martin Rennie said. "He brings versatility ... as a wide midfielder or a striker."

On the international level, Barbara has made 30 appearances for Malta. He has three goals in 30 appearances, including matches in Euro 2004 and 2006 World Cup qualifying.

"I am delighted and honored to become a member of Whitecaps FC," he said.

Whitecaps FC acquired Barbara's right from the Montreal Impact in exchange for Mexican defender Gienir Garcia in January.

Per club and league policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.