Soccer

Ousted ready to take over in Whitecaps' net

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The Canadian Press
6/21/2013 4:02:06 PM
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VANCOUVER -- Goalkeeper David Ousted received a most fitting welcome to Vancouver when he arrived Thursday afternoon.

It rained.

Although the new Vancouver Whitecaps recruit was beaming about his move to Canada from Danish Superliga side Randers FC, the grey skies and wet weather perhaps reminded him that pinching the starting spot from Brad Knighton is going to be no summer walk along the Stanley Park seawall.

Ousted, 28, is coming off a superb season in Denmark where he steered Randers to third place in the Danish Superliga on the back of 14 shutouts and a spot in the upcoming UEFA Europa League.

But the six-foot-three goalkeeper felt it was time for a change of scenery and a new challenge.

"I wanted to try and go abroad and play in other places than Denmark and this was the place that had all the right features for me both on and off the field," he said at his introductory press conference Friday.

While Ousted will have to wait until July 9 before he is eligible to play, his signing sets up a tantalizing battle in net between him and Knighton, who has a 3-1-1 record and a 2.00 goals-against-average in five MLS games this season.

Could the Whitecaps have a Vancouver Canucks goalie situation on their hands?

Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie said the club was "really honoured" to have snared the services of the respected Dane, however the onus is on the new recruit to earn his stripes.

"He's coming into a team that's doing well and he's coming into a situation where he will have to be at his absolute best to even get on the field," Rennie said.

"Right now Brad Knighton's the number one and he's been doing well while we've been getting good results.

"(Brad's) got a great presence as well and he's a strong leader too so I think that it will be a great battle. They're both around similar ages (Ousted is older, by five days), they'll push each other really hard and I think they'll both become better through the competition."

Ousted said it was "important" for any team to have players vying for every position, but he is well aware of what is needed to claim the coveted No. 1 spot.

"Hard work is the key to getting in there," he said. "I'm going to get my physical levels up, I'm going to work as hard as I can and when the coaches think I'm ready, I'll get the chance and I will have to grab it."

Before arriving in North America, Ousted's exposure to MLS was minimal at best, but he was able to get a taste of what to expect.

"I quickly saw that the level is quite good over here," he said. "I went over and saw some of the matches and just the spectators and the whole hype around the game is something I'm really looking forward to."

Ousted hopes to bring his family over to Vancouver in about a month, but in the meantime he is aiming to get straight down to business on the training track on Monday.

"I'm looking forward to try and see if I can hit the ground running here, work hard and come in (to the team) as early as possible," he said. "So there's a lot of hard work for me in the next couple of weeks and then I hope to get settled really quick."

Ousted's arrival brings the number of goalkeepers at the Whitecaps to four, with Knighton, veteran Joe Cannon and Simon Thomas already in the ranks, so plenty of eyes will be on the player between the posts going forward.

But it doesn't bother the soft-spoken Roskilde native.

"I love it (the scrutiny)," he said, flashing his pearly white smile. "You have the chance to be the hero and the villain on the same day.

"I'm looking forward to the pressure and I hope I'll be the hero most of the time."

David Ousted (Photo: Bjorn Lindgren/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bjorn Lindgren/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
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