Charles Gbeke

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Charles Gbeke
Charles Gbeke in 2010.JPG
Personal information
Full name Charles Patrick Gbeke
Date of birth (1978-03-15) March 15, 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1998 Vancouver 86ers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2000 Troyes B
2000 Comercial
2001 S. E. Matsubara
2001 Vancouver Whitecaps 3 (0)
2002 Seattle Sounders 1 (0)
2002–2004 Ottawa Wizards 18 (10)
2004 Toronto Lynx (loan) 16 (6)
2004 Hamilton Thunder (loan) 5 (2)
2005 Herfølge 8 (0)
2005 Toronto Lynx 6 (2)
2005 Montreal Impact 9 (2)
2006 Rochester Raging Rhinos 22 (2)
2007–2008 Montreal Impact 40 (11)
2008–2009 Vancouver Whitecaps 42 (15)
2010 Guangzhou Evergrande 21 (9)
National team
2008–2009 Canada 3 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of April 30, 2011.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of January 2, 2010

Charles Gbeke (born March 15, 1978) is a retired Canadian soccer player.

Gbeke began his career with brief stints with Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps, where he was deployed as a defender but failed to establish himself as a starter. It was in the Canadian Professional Soccer League during his stint with the Ottawa Wizards he made the transition to a striker. His achievements at Ottawa included winning a league title and an Open Canada Cup.

He returned to the USL First Division on loan to the Toronto Lynx, where he proved to be a consistent striker capable of performing in the First Division. Following a brief stint in Europe, he was acquired by the Montreal Impact in a trade deadline move after tallying two goals in six games. Gbeke led the defending champions in scoring in the postseason, tallying all three goals, but the team was knocked out 4–3 on aggregate by the eventual champion Seattle Sounders. The following year he was transferred to the Rochester Rhinos.

Gbeke found success again since his return to Montreal as he went on to record 10 goals that claimed him the Goal Scoring Championship for the first time in his career. After a slow start with Montreal he was traded back to Vancouver only to win his first USL First Division Championship, where he scored both goals in the Whitecaps' 2–1 victory over Puerto Rico Islanders. In 2009 went on to claim the Goal Scoring Championship for the second time in three years with 12 goals. In February 2010 he was ranked 18th in the USL First Division Top 25 of the Decade, a list of the best and most influential players of the previous decade.[1]

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Although Gbeke was born in Côte d'Ivoire, he grew up in Montreal and is a citizen of Canada. From 1999–2001, Gbeke played in France for the Troyes AC reserves and in Brazil with clubs Comercial and S. E. Matsubara. He played parts of three seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps[2] and had a one-game stint with the Seattle Sounders. In 2002–2003, he played with the Ottawa Wizards of the CPSL where he scored 10 goals in 18 games. During the 2002 CPSL season Gbeke helped the Wizards to 11 game undefeated streak and also helped his team win the treble by claiming the Eastern Conference title, the Rogers Cup, and for the second year in a row the Open Canada Cup. The following season he led the Wizards to an undefeated season that clinched the franchise's third Eastern Conference title. In 2004 Ottawa was facing revokation from the league which resulted in Gbeke to get loan out to the Toronto Lynx.[3] He would make his debut for the club on June 13, 2004 against the Atlanta Silverbacks, the match marked the return of Gbeke to the A-League.[4] Coincidentally he would record his first goal for the Lynx against his former club the Vancouver Whitecaps.[5] Though his tenure with the Toronto club was rather short, nonetheless he proved to be an effective striker forming a solid partnership with Ali Gerba. He would conclude his season with the Lynx as their second highest goal scorer with six goals.

Gbeke would finish off the season with the Hamilton Thunder, where he scored his first goal in his debut match against London City.[6] He helped Hamilton clinch a playoff spot by clinching the Western Conference title. In 2005, Gbeke had a short stint in Europe where he played in Denmark with Herfølge, but following the team’s relegation to the second division he was released from his contract. Following his release he secured a trial with Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb, but he returned to the Lynx for a second stint. His return to Toronto was not as successful as his previous term. With the club being run by poor management and mediocre performances resulted in him to request a transfer.

Montreal Impact and Rochester[edit]

On August 1, 2005, Gbeke was acquired by the Montreal Impact along with David Diplacido before the trading deadline.[7] With the Impact he scored the insurance goal and had an assist on the winner, in a 2–0 win against the Atlanta Silverbacks at home on August 7, in his first game with the Impact. During the playoffs he scored all three goals in the semifinals against the Seattle Sounders. The following season Gbeke departed from Montreal in order to sign a new deal with the Rochester Rhinos for the 2006 season. Unfortunately Gbeke suffered a rather disappointing season with Rochester, where he only managed to score two goals in a total of 22 league matches. Though he did manage to lead the Rhinos to the USL First Division Championship finals, only to be defeated by his former club the Whitecaps.

Headshot of Charles Gbeke in 2008

In 2007 Gbeke resigned for the Impact, where he was the top scorer in the United Soccer Leagues First Division, with 10 goals, tied with Seattle Sounders forward Sébastien Le Toux. He was named to the All-League second team[8] for the first time in his career, and was proclaimed Player of the Week for week 19 and was named five times to the USL D1 Team of the Week.[9] During the team’s annual awards banquet he was awarded the Impact's Offensive Player of the Year award.[10]

Back at Vancouver Whitecaps[edit]

On June 30, 2008, Gbeke was traded back to Vancouver in return for cash and Tony Donatelli going to Montreal. Gbeke scored both goals Vancouver's 2–1 win in the USL First Division final against Puerto Rico.[11] The victory gave the Whitecaps their second USL Championship and also marked Gbeke's first USL Championship. Gbeke won the 2008–2009 USL First Division Golden Boot award scoring 12 goals. He also managed to lead the Whitecaps back to the Championship finals for the second consecutive year. Their opponents would end up being the Montreal Impact, this marking the first time in USL history where the final match would consist of two Canadian clubs. Unfortunately for Gbeke and his entire team they were defeated by Impact losing the series 6–3 on goals for aggregate. He was released by the Whitecaps at the end of the 2009 season in order to pursue other footballing options.[12][13]

Move to China[edit]

Charles Gbeke celebrated his goal with Gabriel Melkam in a Guangdong derby match on May 29, 2010

In February 2010,Gbeke moved to China with his former teammate Lyle Martin and signed a contract with Guangzhou F.C., which was newly relegated to China League One in the fallout of a match fixing scandal.

Gbeke made his China League One debut for Guangzhou against Beijing BIT on April 3 and earned a penalty kick in 23rd minute, which helped China national team striker Gao Lin score his first goal for Guangzhou.[14] He scored his first goal for the club on his second appearance,in a 3–3 away draw against Pudong Zobon on April 10.[15] In season 2010, Gbeke scored 9 goals in 21 appearances as Guangzhou finished first place in the League One and won promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt.

International career[edit]

On February 1, 2008 Gbeke made his debut for Canada against Martinique in 1–0 victory. By December 2009, he earned a total of 3 caps, all played in 2008, scoring no goals. He has so far represented Canada in 2 FIFA World Cup qualification matches.[16] He was on the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster but did not play.

Personal life[edit]

Charles Gbeke is teacher of a soccer school (BK Football Academy) in Laranjeiras do Sul – Paraná – Brazil.

Honors[edit]

Club[edit]

Ottawa Wizards
Vancouver Whitecaps
Guangzhou Evergrande

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]