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Homegrown midfielder Young set to reach century mark in games with Pacific FC

Pacific FC hosts Valour FC on Friday night
Pacific FC defender Sean Young, right, will suit up for his 100th game for Pacific FC tonight. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

If Sean Young didn’t exist, the Canadian Premier League would have to invent him. He represents the very model of the ideal CPL player — the homegrown talent given a chance to play pro soccer in his native country where no such recent opportunity existed prior to the start of the CPL in 2019 as the first domestic pro league since the CSL (which included the Victoria Vistas) from 1987 to 1992.

Young is a product of the Bays United, Victoria Highlanders and Island Wave programs and will play his 100th career game across all competitions for hometown Pacific FC when the Island club (1-0) takes on Valour FC of Winnipeg (0-1) tonight at 7 p.m. at Starlight Stadium. Young becomes the first Trident player to reach the century mark in games played for the club.

“It’s very special and means a lot to reach the 100th game for your local club and to do it at home,” said Young. “It’s a big milestone in a career. But it’s also just another game and it won’t be as special if you don’t win.”

It seems like yesterday that the Belmont Secondary graduate was signed as a 19-year-old to his first pro contract after winning the Vancouver Island Soccer League Jackson Cup in 2019 with Westcastle United.

“It seems quick. It seems so fast,” said PFC head coach James Merriman, who was the assistant coach when Young was first inked by the Tridents in 2020.

“It was just a dream in those days to get a Vancouver Island player into the first team and asking ourselves can we help them make that jump? Sean is proving the model of what the CPL was created for and can be an example. Sean has proven himself at this level. That gives us confidence and belief in our system and what we are doing.”

Young, entering his fifth season with the Tridents, turns 23 on Saturday. He has been thrust into more of a prominent role this season in the midfield with the departure of Manny Aparicio to Atletico Ottawa.

“I’m in my fifth season and looking to step up to be more of a leader in our young midfield,” said Young.

“Any game in which you win the midfield battle, you have a good chance of winning the game.”

PFC announced Thursday it has signed Young to a new two-year deal for the 2025 and 2026 CPL seasons with a club option for 2027. That gives the Tridents not only three more possible seasons of his service but also the assurance of a potential transfer fee as Young is also looking to step up in his career as an already five-season pro at 23 with the better years of his future ahead of him.

The CPL hopes to be a launching pad for young Canadian players to MLS or Europe, with several players already having made that jump over the first six years of CPL history, and even earned caps for Canada.

“I want to just keep improving and reach my goal of playing at a higher level,” said Young, who had four goals and four assists last season.

“This [CPL] lets me shoot for the level I want to reach.”

PFC edged the HFX Wanderers of Halifax 1-0 in their season opener last weekend at Starlight Stadium while Valour FC comes into tonight following a 4-1 loss to Vancouver FC in its opener in Langley.

“We have lots of home games at the beginning of the season and we need to take advantage of them,” said Young.

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