Pacific FC launches training camp in Tofino

Pacific FC has really put the Pacific into it. Breakers, beach and all.

The Canadian Premier League soccer club is conducting their training camp this week through Friday in Tofino.

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The biggest camp buzz is about having a healthy Marcel de Jong for the entire season. He has been named Pacific FC captain. The veteran was capped 56 times for Canada and played six seasons in Germany for FC Augsburg of the Bundesliga, four seasons for Roda JC in the top-level Dutch Eredivisie and three seasons in Major League Soccer for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

De Jong suffered a ruptured Achilles in training camp last season. It was thought to be season-ending but de Jong defied the medical odds by tenaciously fighting back to return late in the season.

“Having our captain Marcel de Jong returning from injury will be massive for our team,” said Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah.

The 19-player PFC training camp features 16 signed players and three players selected in the U Sports draft.

Names to watch include the four Pacific FC players — Terran Campbell, Noah Verhoeven, Kadin Chung and Thomas Meilleur-Giguère — who have been named to the 50-player Canadian national team provisional list for the Olympic qualifying tournament for Tokyo 2020.

“We are excited about the talent and quality we have added to our squad, and to have the returning core group back,” said Kah.

“We are a technical, versatile and dynamic squad.”

PFC opens the 2020 CPL season April 11 at Westhills Stadium in Langford against FC Edmonton.

Meanwhile, CPL-expansion franchise Atletico Ottawa announced former Pacific FC player Ben Fisk as its first signing Wednesday. The twice Canada-capped winger/midfielder was one of the most popular PFC players and scored six goals in 24 appearances last year for the Island team and wore the captain’s armband on several occasions. The native of Vancouver came to PFC from Derry City of the Ireland Premier Division, where he made several UEFA Europa League appearances.

“I’m very honoured and very proud obviously to be announced as the first signing and to represent our nation’s capital,” Fisk told the Canadian Press.

PFC indicated the split was mutual and amicable.

“In pro sports, player talks sometimes break down,” said Pacific FC CEO and GM Rob Friend in announcing Fisk’s departure last month.

“Ben is a fantastic person and professional and was a big part of our inaugural season.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

Twitter.com/tc_vicsports

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