Hendrik Starostzik, a six-foot-two centre-back from Germany, has become Pacific FC’s first import signing.
The connection came through Pacific FC co-owners and former Canadian national team players Josh Simpson and Rob Friend, who both played professionally in Germany, a national that needs little introduction when it comes to soccer.
“Rob and Josh know the German mentality,” said Starostzik.
“They and [Pacific FC head coach] Michael Silberbauer all speak German. I am very happy to be here.”
Starostzik’s wife, Mandy, works in Germany. But she and the couple’s three-year-old son, Leondro, will be able to be here for the summer portion of the Canadian Premier League season, which run from April to October.
“We are treating it as an adventure. This is my first time outside Europe,” said Starostzik, as training camp opened Thursday in Tofino.
“I’m very excited. The Island is beautiful. It [CPL] is the pro league for Canada that everybody has wanted, and everybody wants it to be successful.”
The 27-year-old has played professionally in Germany since 2010, including with Dynamo Dresden of 2-Bundesliga, Germany’s second division, in 2016-17. He also played on his Hessen provincial team as a youth and arrives from Hallescher FC of the Bunesliga’s 3-Liga, where he made 15 appearances.
Nobody discounts a German background in soccer.
“With Hendrik, we have added a player who has already been in an extremely competitive environment in Germany and we expect a lot from him,” said Pacific FC bench boss Silberbauer, a former Danish pro, who has played 25 times for his country, including at the Euros.
Starostzik, who describes himself as a very active and aggressive back, concurred: “You get a very good technical education in football in Germany from a very young age.”
Meanwhile, Pacific FC also signed another centre-back. Lukas MacNaughton is a Canadian who was born in New York and raised in Belgium, where he learned his soccer. A standout with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues from 2013 to 2017, the architecture major represented Canada at both the 2015 and 2017 World University Games in South Korea and Taiwan, respectively.
“There were rumours of the CPL and then it became real,” said the six-foot-one MacNaughton, who last season was an Ontario League 1 all-star.
“It’s a great fit for young Canadian players looking to make names for themselves as pros while playing at home.”
Pacific FC has 15 players under contract in camp at Tofino. That includes 27-time Canada-capped Issey Nakajima-Farran, 27-time Canada-capped former Scottish Premiership player Marcus Haber and 56-time capped former MLS and Bundesliga pro Marcel de Jong.
Also in camp are Pacific FC’s three U Sports draftees Nick Fussell, Thomas Gardiner and Zach Verhoven, who were all selected from the UBC Thunderbirds, and who are unsigned as of yet. A select number of trialists are also invited.
Pacific FC is among seven founding franchises in the CPL.
Pacific FC’s first game is April 28 against the HFX Wanderers of Halifax at Westhills Stadium in Langford.