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Pacific FC top striker Alejandro Diaz on the move to Norway

Sogndal picks up PFC leading scorer for club record transfer fee
web1_diaz-july-15-2022
Pacific FC striker Alejandro Diaz is on his way to play in Norway’s second tier. TRISHA LEES, PACIFIC FC

It’s not the greatest news for fans of Pacific FC, but for the club, the transfer of Canadian Premier League leading scorer Alejandro Diaz to Norwegian club Sogndal FC is mission accomplished.

It’s another young player developed by PFC and moved on to higher levels. It also doesn’t hurt that the transfer fee paid to Pacific FC by Sogndal is said to be a club record and is the second largest transfer fee in league history and could be more if the 26-year-old Diaz reaches performance-based bonuses worked into the contract.

PFC did not release the final fee, but the CPL’s largest transfer was the January 2020 sale of Forge FC attacking midfielder Tristan Borges, the league’s MVP and Golden Boot winner at the time, to Belgium’s OH Leuven, reportedly for between $300,000 and $500,000. Borges was loaned back to Forge in March 2021.

“We would like to thank ­Alejandro for his service to our club over the past three seasons, and for the joy he has brought to fans of Pacific FC on and off the field,” Pacific FC CEO Rob Friend said in a statement.

The transfer couldn’t have come at worse time for Pacific FC though as the club is busy preparing for a big league game Saturday at home against Atletico Ottawa and a ­CONCACAF League Round of 16 first-leg match Tuesday night against Costa Rican club CS Herediano, also at Starlight ­Stadium. And now they’ll be without their top scorer. Diaz has 13 league goals and is coming off a hat trick in PFC’s 6-0 win over Waterhouse FC of Jamaica in the opening round of CONCACAF League play.

But just like when defenders Lukas MacNaughton and Cadin Chung moved on last off-season to Toronto FC of Major League Soccer, Pacific FC will keep ­trying to find top-level talent.

“As a club, we are ­committed to helping our players develop and achieve new levels of ­success by carving out new opportunities in leagues around the world,” added Friend. “As we help our players ascend, we are prou d to set new benchmarks in terms of transfer fees for our league, which we look forward to reinvesting into Canadian ­soccer.”

Sogndal is currently in eighth place (out of 16) in Div. 1 ­(second tier) of the Norwegian soccer system. The club is coached by former Chelsea and Rangers ­forward Tore Andre Flo.

Diaz joined PFC in March 2020 from Mexico’s Club America where he came up through the youth ranks. He made 56 appearances in Mexico for Club America’s senior team and, via loan spells, at Necaxa, Atlas and second-tier Zacatepec. A Mexican youth international, Diaz won CONCACAF championships with Mexico’s under-17 and under-20 teams.

“We wish Alejandro all the best as he embarks on a new chapter of his career,” PFC head coach James Merriman said in a club statement.

“While we’ll miss having ­Alejandro lead our front line, we are confident in the talent and depth that remains in our team and are excited to be taking on CS Herediano starting next week.”

CORNER KICKS: The league has announced the official schedule change for Pacific FC’s league game that was ­supposed to be played Tuesday against Forge FC in Hamilton but needed to be rescheduled due to PFC’s CONCACAF League game landing on that date. PFC will now travel to Hamilton on Oct. 5 for a 4 p.m. PT game at Tim ­Hortons Field.

bdrewry@timescolonist.com