Pacific FC getting good look at local talent

Familiar faces have been invited as trialists to fill out the roster at the Pacific FC training camp on the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence pitch in Saanich.

Pacific FC, one of seven founding franchises in the new pro soccer Canadian Premier League, has 15 players signed.

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“I am aiming for a roster of 22,” said head coach Michael Silberbauer, but added it could be as low as 20.

That leaves a few possible spots for invited trialists such as former University of Victoria Vikes star Cam Hundal, the 2016 U Sports player of the year. Another trialist is Sean Keith, the 22-year-old son of former Victoria star Simon Keith, who made world headlines as the first player to play pro soccer after a heart transplant.

“It is important that we have a really good look at talent from the Island,” said Silberbauer, a former Danish pro, who has played 25 times for his country, including at the Euros.

“They are trying to impress. They have a chance but they are going up against a good group [of signed players]. Hopefully, one or two of the trialists [will make the squad].”

Others trialists in camp include Chris Merriman of Nanaimo, who captained his father Bill Merriman’s Vancouver Island University Mariners side to the Canadian colleges championship in 2017, and is among three members of that championship team vying for a spot on the Pacific FC roster. Another is Ryan McCurdy from Belfast, who also played for the Victoria Highlanders of USL-2.

Former Highlander Elie Gindo is being give a look, as is fellow 23-year-old Mamadi Camara of Montreal, selected 46th overall in the 2019 MLS draft by San Jose, and Shun Takano of Chiba, Japan, the 2017 Canadian colleges MVP.

The youngest player in camp is 18-year-old Jake Ruby of Vancouver, a Whitecaps youth academy star, who represented Canada at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama.

Cem Seven is a 20-year-old French defender hoping to state his case at PISE as a trialist.

Also among the unsigned contingent of hopeful 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.

Among the 15 Pacific FC players under contract in camp are 39-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.

Pacific FC’s first game is April 28 against the HFX Wanderers of Halifax at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

Twitter.com/tc_vicsports

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