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Star striker Sellouf set to return to Pacific FC

PFC opens CPL season April 13
web1_ayman-sellouf-september-2023
Pacific FC striker Ayman Sellouf tallied seven goals for the CPL club last season. FORGE FC

Dutch-import Ayman Sellouf, who emerged as one of the most slithery and sly attackers in the Canadian Premier League in 2023 and a fan favourite at Starlight Stadium, will return to Pacific FC for the 2024 season.

The Tridents picked up their option on the five-foot-10 ­Sellouf, who doesn’t have size, but possesses an uncanny ability to find seams to the net. He scored seven goals in 2023 for PFC despite coming mostly off the bench in second halves of games. The 22-year-old also created opportunities for other Tridents attackers with his eight assists.

Sellouf was among the 10 finalists for the Players’ Player of the Year Award, as voted on by the CPL players.

“Ayman is the most exciting player in the CPL and someone with a huge potential,” PFC manager of soccer Jamar Dixon said in a statement.

“His one-on-one dribbling and ability to create space is among the best in the league and he has an incredibly high ­ceiling.”

It is that tall potential ­ceiling that is intriguing pundits across the CPL. Sellouf grew up in a renowned soccer nation, the home of total football, and is proving he may have a ­legitimate shot of getting back there in future seasons. He turned pro at age 18 with his Nijmegen hometown club NEC in 2019, and scored three goals in 24 games over two seasons in the second-division Eerste ­Divisie, and helped lift NEC to promotion to the Dutch top-tier Eredivise. He was moved to noted Dutch club FC Utrecht in 2021 and played for its reserve team, Jong Utrecht, in the Eerste Divisie and scored two goals in 24 games before coming to PFC last season.

Because of family ancestry, Sellouf was eligible to attend training camp with the Morocco U-18 team as a youth.

Sellouf said last year that he wasn’t aware that Canada even had a pro soccer league. Now he knows and it may help him springboard back into European football.

PFC also announced it has picked up the option year of another returning striker, ­former Canada U-20 player Adonijah Reid, a 2017 ­second-round MLS draft pick of FC Dallas, who had five goals and four assists last season for the Tridents.

Pacific FC now has 13 players signed for 2024 in Sellouf, Reid, Josh Heard, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, Georges Mukumbilwa, Kunle Dada-Luke, Steffen Yeates, Sean Young, Paul Amedume, Pierre Lamothe, Cédric Toussaint, Zakaria Bahous and goalkeeper Emil Gazdov. Also in camp will be Michael Maslanka and Ibrahem Saadi, selected by PFC in the 2024 CPL-U Sports draft.

The Tridents will open ­training camp in March ahead of their CPL season opener April 13 at Starlight Stadium against the HFX Wanderers of Halifax.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com