Canadian U-20 star Kadin Chung first to sport Pacific FC jersey

Whatever becomes of his pro soccer career, Kadin Chung will forever carry with him the footnote of being the first player signed by Pacific FC in franchise history.

“It’s overwhelming and cool to be part of history. I hope it goes well,” said Chung.

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“I used to love coming to the Island for tournaments because of the atmosphere and sporting culture here,” added the 20-year-old from Port Coquitlam.

Chung is returning to Canada after playing this season in Bundesliga 2, making eight appearances with the FC Kaiserslautern Reserves.

“It’s definitely a football culture in Germany and it was a great learning experience and I picked up so much and developed quite a bit there,” he said.

Chung has international experience with Canada at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels. Chung was named U-17 Canadian player of the year in 2016, which is an award which also has been won by capped senior national team players Russell Teibert of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich.

“My goal is to be called up to a senior national team camp and to earn my first cap and work my way up the national team ranks,” said Chung.

“Playing for the national team has been my lifelong dream and I feel I’m on the right path.”

But first he is eligible for the U-23 national team, which will begin qualifying play for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“The U-23s and Olympics is my main focus at the moment” said Chung.

At the club level, that focus becomes Pacific FC, which begins play in April at a revamped Westhills Stadium in Langfrod as one of seven charter franchises in the new Canadian Premier League.

“A Canadian league like the CPL is something that is needed for our national team and for young Canadian players as a home platform on which to build their pro careers,” said Chung.

Chung is a defender who started his career at Coquitlam Metro Ford on the wing before joining Vancouver Whitecaps 2 in the pro United Soccer League. So he describes himself as an attacking defender.

“I am solid defensively, but I like to attack,” he said.

Pacific FC assistant coach James Merriman of Nanaimo coached in the Whitecaps Academy system for seven years, which is where he first came across Chung.

“Kadin is a big talent and he’s got big potential,” said Merriman.

“He’s excellent on the ball technically and he’s good one-on-one defensively. His mindset is always to join the attack and be a part of the attack and get forward. He is exciting to watch because he is always providing you that extra attacking weapon from a deeper position.”

Terms of Chung’s contract were not disclosed.

The Hamilton Spectator has reported CPL teams will pay players between $40,000 to $60,000 per season. The league, however, has not released its salary cap details.

“Kadin is one of the top young talents in Canada and has a big future ahead of him, so we feel very fortunate to secure his services,” said former European pro and Canada-capped Rob Friend, co-owner and director of soccer operations for Pacific FC.

Chung will be on hand to meet fans today as part of the festivities from noon to 6 p.m. during the grand opening of Pacific FC’s downtown store at 665 Fort Street.

FREE KICKS: Nick Ledgerwood and Sergio Camargo (Calvary FC), Kyle Bekker and Chris Nanco (Forge FC), Skylar Thomas (Winnipeg’s Valour FC), Zach Sukunda (Halifax’s HFX Wanderers), Randy Edwini-Bonsu and Allan Zebie (FC Edmonton) and Kyle Porter (York 9 FC) were the other signings by CPL teams on Thursday.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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