Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Zanatta returns home to continue pro career with Pacific FC

CPL season begins April 13
Pacific FC opens the 2024 season at home on April 13. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Gorge FC and Lower Island Metro product Dario Zanatta became that rare Canadian soccer player able to ply his craft at the Premiership, Championship or League 1 levels in Britain, playing for eight seasons in Scotland with Hearts, Queen’s Park, Raith Rovers, Ayr United, Alloa Athletic, Partick Thistle and Hamilton Academical.

The former Canada U-20 winger, also named to the provisional roster for 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying before the pandemic, is returning home after signing a two-year contract to play for Pacific FC of the Canadian Premier League. He returns to his hometown pro club from Hamilton Academical after scoring 43 goals in more than 200 games played in ­Scottish professional soccer for the heralded likes of Hearts.

Zanatta won two Scottish Challenge Cups. His highest market value, according to Transfermarkt, was 300,000 Euros ($439,000 Cdn) in 2021 when with Raith Rovers.

The six-year-old CPL didn’t exist when Zanatta, 26, left for Scotland. The long-awaited domestic Canadian pro league now serves as a starting-point springboard for rising young Canadian talent or a fall-back and possible trampoline for veterans such as Zanatta.

“I think Dario has something to prove here and he’s determined and passionate about this new chapter,” PFC manager of football Jamar Dixon.

“He’s a player that likes to attack and score goals and he’s good at holding up the ball and link up play. Both of those traits will translate well with Pacific FC’s style of play.”

Zanatta represented Canada at the U-18 Slovakia Cup in 2015 and the CONCACAF U-20 championship in 2017 in Costa Rica and comes from a well-known Island soccer family. He used to scamper around Royal Athletic Park as a ball boy when his dad Dante Zanatta, now head coach of UBC-Okanagan in U Sports, coached Victoria United to championship success in the Pacific Coast Soccer League. Dario’s brother Keegan Zanatta is a former national champion who swam with Olympic-medallist Ryan Cochrane at Saanich Commonwealth Place Pool and had a Canada West and U Sports career with the UVic Vikes and UBC Thunderbirds.

PFC opened training camp this week at PISE ahead of the CPL season opener April 13 at Starlight Stadium against the HFX Wanderers of Halifax.