Pacific FC pledge to make up for the loss of key players to rivals Forge

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If you can’t beat them, sign them. That seems to be Forge FC’s philosophy as it has attracted two key Pacific FC players.

If you can’t beat them, sign them. That seems to be Forge FC’s philosophy as it has attracted two key Pacific FC players.

Canadian Premier League champion Pacific FC pledges to counter the three-season losses of original players Terran Campbell and Alessandro Hojabrpour to compete with the CPL Power Forge of Hamilton.

Campbell, the island team’s top scorer with 25 goals, and Hojabrpour, named CPL U21 Player of the Year 2021, have joined Forge FC. Hojabrpour scored the winning goal last month when PFC beat Forge FC 1-0 in the 2021 CPL championship game at Tim Hortons Field. This ended Forge FC’s two-year reign as CPL champions.

“We now have a goal behind us and other clubs want our players. I am disappointed with the decision these players made and I doubt that decision, ”said Rob Friend, Pacific FC CEO and GM.

“But I am very confident of the foundation we have laid and the roster we have and the fresh key elements that we will add to the team with some very exciting announcements soon.”

Campbell is the all-time PFC leader in games played at 69 and Hojabrpour ranks third at 63 and will be difficult to replace.

“This is professional football. The players make their decisions, ”said PFC head coach Pa Modou-Kah.

“That’s part of winning. Your players suddenly become attractive. In 2019, nobody looked at these two players. There is no such thing as bad blood. I have great relationships with both players. After three years, they associate PFC with a championship forever and now they wanted something new. “

Kah said the PFC’s response won’t necessarily rely on the potentially splashy signings the club has announced, but rather on its already established foundation. He noted that the Campbell and Hojabrpour losses will be countered with Marco Bustos and Matthew Baldisimo, who both missed much of the 2021 season due to injuries, are back and healthy for full runs in 2022.

Bustos was the 2020 CPL MVP runner-up for Canadian international Kyle Bekker from Forge FC, while Baldisimo was called up for the Philippine national team for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers despite being unable to compete due to a registration problem.

“We already have the foundation and parts in place and are healthy now,” said Kah.

Less known is the departure of PFC striker Victor Blasco. The Spaniard is another original three-season Trident but was last replaced by the bank. He signed with Vida of the Honduran Professional League Nacional after relaunching his career with championships on the island in the amateur field with the VIU Mariners and professionals with PFC.

“Victor has a lifelong connection with PFC and we wish him all the best,” said Kah.

Both Friend and Kah said they know squad depth will be especially important this season because of the CONCACAF league spot that comes with the CPL defending champion.

“Our depth will be strong, but this season will certainly be a test of our team and our medical and training staff,” said Friend.

The first six of the CONCACAF League 2022 will advance to the CONCACAF Champions League 2023 the following year, the region’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.

Forge FC was a semi-finalist in the 2021 CONCACAF League and was promoted to the CONCACAF Champions League this year, making it an attractive target for top players.

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