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Pacific FC signs third Dutch import for 2023 CPL season

Ayman Sellouf is just 21 years old
Pacific FC head coach James Merriman has a new striker from the Netherlands to put to use. PACIFIC FC

Pacific FC’s European scouting connections must wear orange-tinged glasses. The Canadian Premier League club signed its third Dutch player with the announcement Wednesday that 21-year-old forward Ayman Sellouf has been inked for the 2023 season. He joins fellow Netherlands players Djenairo Daniels and Bradley Vliet on the Tridents roster.

“We have a good network [of connections] in the Dutch leagues,” said PFC head coach James Merriman.

In the European sports ­system, promising players are signed at young ages to the youth academies of pro clubs. For Sellouf, it was with his hometown NEC Nijmegen club. The five-foot-10 striker turned pro at age 18 in 2019 with NEC Nijmegen’s first team and scored three goals in 24 games over two seasons in the Eerste Divisie, the Dutch pro second division. Nijmegen won promotion to the Dutch top-tier Eredivisie in Sellouf’s last season with the club.

Sellouf move to heralded FC Utrecht in 2021 and played for its reserve team, Jong Utrecht, in the Eerste Divisie with two goals in 24 games. His ­contract was not renewed and PFC swooped in to nab him.

“He is an exciting talent and a good prospect coming through. He’s good on the ball, dynamic and a direct going forward. Ayman shows good quality one-on-one and will be a great addition to our attack,” said ­Merriman.

“He has close to 50 pro games at age 21 and big potential and can move on to higher levels. He has appreciated what CPL has done in four seasons. It’s a good opportunity for him and for us.”

A move across oceans is a perk of pro soccer and something not afforded in many professions. Sometimes it’s just what players need to recharge their careers.

“It’s a change of ­environment and a different culture for Ayman,” said Merriman.

“It’s a big move across continents so you look for quality and fit.”

The Tridents believe they have found both in Sellouf.

Sellouf’s signing brings to 16 the number of players PFC has under contract for 2023. Training camp is Feb. 20-24 at PISE.

FREE KICKS: Valour FC has signed Jordan international forward Jaime Siaj. The 27-year-old joins the Winnipeg-based team after a season with Finn Harps FC of the League of Ireland Premier Division. He scored twice in 13 appearances, logging 606 minutes. A third-round pick (45th overall) of the Colorado Rapids in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Siaj began his pro career with the Rapids USL’s affiliate, the Charlotte Independence. Siaj made 53 appearances in the USL with Charlotte, Oklahoma City Energy and Tampa Bay Rowdies, with 10 goals and three assists. He has won five caps for Jordan with one goal.

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