A healthy Marcel de Jong describes 2020 as his “personal revenge season.”
The veteran pro soccer player signed Friday to again play for Pacific FC in the Canadian Premier League. This time for the full season, the injury gods willing.
“It was tough last season, so I am extra-motivated for next season to show why I was signed in the first place,” he said.
De Jong, who played six seasons in Germany for FC Augsburg of the Bundesliga and four seasons for Roda JC in the top-level Dutch Eredivisie, recorded a tenaciously fought comeback in October as a late-season returnee for PFC after going down in training camp to a ruptured Achilles in mid-March. It was thought the severity of the injury would keep him out for the entire season. But the determined 56-time Canada-capped international did what few expected a 32-year-old to be able to do.
“I feel good and can’t wait for the season to start to get a full run at it this time,” said de Jong, who played three seasons in Major League Soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps, before joining Pacific FC last season.
De Jong was considered the biggest signing by any team for the inaugural 2019 CPL season.
“This league is what was missing in Canadian soccer,” he said.
“There comes a moment when you have to decide between chasing your dreams in soccer or finding a regular job. The CPL is allowing young Canadian players to continue chasing their dreams on the pitch and possibly of reaching the MLS or Europe.”
Young pro players need mentors. Which is a big reason de Jong was brought into play for PFC.
“I can be the veteran guy between the coaches and the players,” he said.
The coaches concur.
“Marcel brings his experience and presence on the field. This builds confidence in our group. He will help our young players express themselves on the field while also keeping them accountable,” said PFC interim head coach James Merriman.
“Marcel finished the season in a good place and brings great experience to our group.”