To say Émile Legault is a fancied young soccer player would be a bit of an understatement.
Pacific FC landed the rising 19-year-old back-line performer as its 17th signed player ahead of the Canadian Premier League opener Sunday against the HFX Wanderers of Halifax at Westhills Stadium.
“Montreal Impact [of the MLS] wanted to sign me after training camp but couldn’t because of administrative problems with my old club [in France],” said Legault.
This kid is MLS- or European Premiership-bound some day. Until then, Pacific FC will be the beneficiary.
“There was lots of interest in Émile from European teams as well as the MLS,” said Pacific FC CEO and GM Rob Friend.
“He is a sought after young player and we feel fortunate to have him join us.”
Legault made his debut for the Canadian youth program at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 championship in Panama along with Pacific FC teammate José Hernandez. Leagault’s most recent foray on the international pitch was in the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 championship in the U.S.
“Playing in the 2026 World Cup in front of our home fans in Canada would be awesome,” said Legault, allowing himself to dream big.
He also competed at the Toulon Tournament with Canada’s U-20 squad alongside fellow Pacific FC midfielder Noah Verhoeven.
“I like the fact Pacific FC is a young team and I know some of the players,” said Legault.
The native of Longueuil, Que., was raised in Saint-Lambert. He has played club the past two seasons for the AJ Auxerre U-17 team in Burgundy, France.
The versatile Legault can play anywhere on the back line, which has become a crucial issue for Pacific FC. The squad was left scrambling after the shock season-ending injury in training camp sustained by 56-time Canada capped former MLS and Bundesliga pro Marcel de Jong.
Pacific FC responded to the loss of the marquee-signing de Jong, who underwent surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon, by this month adding former Montreal Impact import American defender Blake Smith on loan from FC Cincinnati of the MLS.
Legault now looks to be the second piece of that puzzle to replace what de Jong would have brought to the Pacific FC back line. The thinking is the 28-year-old Smith’s veteran presence will be supplemented by an emerging young talent in Legault, who appears to have a big upside in the pro game down the road in the MLS or Europe. And Legault dovetails nearly perfectly with what the CPL says is its core mandate to develop young Canadian pro talent.
“I play right back for Canada and the Impact had me at left back in Montreal’s MLS training camp. Pacific FC say they want me at fullback.”
He may be on the back line but it doesn’t appear this kid is going to take a back seat to anybody as his career progresses.