Thomas Meilleur-Giguère has provided an underrated, but quietly impactful, presence on Pacific FC backline the past three seasons.
The former MLS Montreal Impact prospect had 12 appearances for Canada Under-20s, including in the 2017 CONCACAF championship, and was selected for the Canada U-23 team for the CONCACAF regional Tokyo Olympics qualifying tournament and PFC head coach James Merriman has described him as a “warrior [who] puts his body on the line and is a true defender.”
Meilleur-Giguère, known to his teammates simply as TMG, also showed his offensive chops in scoring for the Tridents in a 3-0 exhibition victory Friday afternoon over Vancouver Whitecaps-2 of MLS Next Pro at Starlight Stadium.
“TMG is extremely competitive and if the opportunity is there to attack, he will take it,” said Merriman.
Touted new striker-singing Easton Ongaro and veteran hometown Victoria attacking-midfielder Sean Young scored the other goals.
“It was a good test against the Whitecaps’ reserve team,” said Merriman. “We showed pieces of our identity today.”
It was the first of three scrimmage exhibitions the Tridents will play at Starlight Stadium. The others are Wednesday afternoon against Valour FC of the CPL and April 1 against the NCAA Pac-12 University of Washington Huskies. The scrimmages are closed to the public. The Tridents beat the UVic Vikes 3-0 in their first scrimmage game last week at Centennial Stadium.
The CPL season opener is April 15 at Starlight Stadium against expansion Vancouver FC.
“All the guys came through with really good efforts today,” said Meilleur-Giguère, the native of Repentigny, Que., who will be entering his fourth season with PFC and had 34 appearances last season.
“There’s a lot of familiarity among the returning core players. And the new faces are bringing in another dynamic. We are starting to understand each other and all the pieces are falling into place.”
That’s what training camp is all about.
Six-foot-four Amer Đidic, a twice Canada-capped former Sporting Kansas City MLS prospect, is another key returning element of the Tridents backline. Incoming new defenders include Paul Amedume and Bradley Vliet.
Veterans Đidic, Meilleur-Giguère and midfielder Manny Aparicio were named as part of the PFC leadership group for 2023 this week along with returning hometown Victoria striker and freshly-minted new captain Josh Heard.
“We have all been a part of this team and it’s in our character to be leaders,” said Meilleur-Giguère, of the announced leadership quartet.
“We were not happy about losing last year in the semifinals [to Atletico Ottawa] and want to get back to where we were in 2021 as league champions.”