Pacific FC signs Canadian striker Marcus Haber

After being capped with the national team 27 times and having played nine seasons as a pro in Europe, former Vancouver Whitecaps forward Marcus Haber has pretty much accomplished everything a Canadian soccer player can to call it a successful career.

It’s hard to find new frontiers after that, at least for a Canadian who played in the Scottish Premiership for Dundee FC.

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But Haber has done just that by signing with Pacific FC of the fledgling Canadian Premier League. The league will open its inaugural season in April and fulfill the long-held dream of a domestic national pro soccer league.

“It’s exciting to be a part of history,” said Haber, whose signing was announced Wednesday by Pacific FC at its merchandise store in downtown Victoria.

“This is a big opportunity for this club, and for soccer in this country, and I’m very excited to be a part of it. We want to start a culture.

“Having the product and more outlets will help Canadian players,” said Haber, who in 2009 signed with Championship side West Bromwich Albion.

“Ten years ago, there was not as much for 18- [or] 19-year-old Canadian players to step into. Going abroad is difficult, especially as a Canadian, where you have to prove yourself more from an identity standpoint.”

Vancouver-native Haber said he feels the sense of being part of a ground-breaking venture in not only his home country, but home province.

“The Island has always had a big soccer environment with a lot of passion behind it,” he said.

At six-foot-three, Haber provides Pacific FC with the central target up front that the club feels it needs.

“I’m a big, tall centre forward and a powerfully strong target man,” said Haber, who played in Scotland last season on loan from Dundee to Falkirk.

“I do well in the box and use my size to my advantage. And I can help the team get up the pitch.”

That was evident as Haber scored three goals in 27 games for Canada, eight goals in 30 MLS games for the Whitecaps, 16 goals in 76 games for Crewe Alexandra and 11 goals in 38 appearances for Dundee.

Haber turns 30 on Friday.

“I’m in good shape and I look after myself,” he said.

“I have lots of years left.”

That includes the goal of getting the call again for Canada: “I’m looking to get the call back into the [national] team.”

In every way with this signing, Haber feels he has come home full circle.

Haber is the second signing announced by Pacific FC, which will play in the CPL at a revamped 6,000-seat Westhills Stadium in Langford.

The first signee in Pacific FC franchise history in November was 20-year-old Kadin Chung of Port Coquitlam, who is returning to Canada after playing this season in Bundesliga 2 with FC Kaiserslautern Reserves.

Haber will be instrumental on the pitch for Pacfic FC in mentoring the likes of Chung, who has international experience with Canada at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels and was named U-17 Canadian player of the year in 2016.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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