Practise makes perfect. And the teams in the pro soccer Canadian Premier League have had plenty of it with the 2020 season delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Defender Jordan Haynes made good use of the time, working his way onto the Pacific FC roster as a trialist, also known as a walk-on in North America sporting parlance. The former UBC Thunderbirds standout in Canada West became the 18th player signed by PFC in inking a deal Wednesday.
The 24-year-old native of Peterborough, Ont., showed early promise and got plenty of international experience at the youth levels as a member of the Canadian team at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup with eight appearances and a goal and as part of the Canadian back line in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 championship with three appearances.
The hustling, five-foot-10 bundle of energy was also in the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency program from 2011 to 2014 and eventually making 29 appearances for Whitecaps FC 2 while also playing for Whitecaps U-23, Oklahoma City Energy U-23 and in USL-2 for the TSS Rovers and Calgary Foothills.
“He is driven and I’m looking forward to see how he continues to develop and grow as an individual,” said PFC head coach Pa-Modou Kah, in a statement.
“Jordan deserves this contract for the work he has put in and the attitude he has shown.”
Haynes becomes the sixth PFC defender and joins Marcel de Jong, Kadin Chung, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, Lukas MacNaughton, Abdou Samake. He will have a top-rate mentor in backline group leader de Jong, who was capped 56 times for Canada over a 15-year pro career with FC Augsburg of the Bundesliga, Roda JC in the Dutch Eredivisie and Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS.
“[Haynes’] experience in university and in the professional environment make him a great addition to our backline,” said PFC CEO Rob Friend, a former Bundesliga pro capped 32 times for Canada.
The eight CPL clubs resumed training in June to the extent allowed by their provincial health authorities.
Holding the entirety of an abbreviated 2020 pandemic season in a World Cup-style format at either Westhills Stadium in Langford or in Charlottetown, P.E.I. — without fans — is under review by the CPL with the teams and fans awaiting an announcement.