Marcel de Jong in staying put on Vancouver Island.
Pacific FC announced Friday that de Jong is contracted through to the 2020 season, a move that comes after the veteran midfielder suffered through an injury-plagued 2019 campaign.
De Jong, a 33-year-old native of Newmarket, Ont., signed with Pacific in February after spending the previous three seasons in MLS with the Vancouver Whitecaps. But the Canadian national team veteran suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in training the following month, an injury that sidelined him for the majority of the season.
Following a lengthy rehabilitation process, de Jong made his CPL debut on Oct. 9 when he came on as a substitute in the 66th minute of a 1-1 road draw versus HFX Wanderers. He was also used as a second-half replacement two weeks later in Pacific’s season finale, a 2-0 home win over Valour FC.
Making just two appearances wasn’t quite how de Jong expected the CPL season to unfold for himself. Still, he’s firmly settled into a comfortable life, both on and off the pitch, on the West Coast.
“The overall picture (at Pacific) is perfect for me and my family. We were in Vancouver for the last three years, and made a good connection with the city. My wife loves it out here, she has a lot of friends here, so it was a smooth transition for us. The CPL and soccer coming to Vancouver Island, it was something I wanted to be a part of. It was perfect timing for me at that point in my career,” de Jong told CanPL.ca.
De Jong debuted for Canada’s national team in 2007 and went on to earn 56 caps, scoring three goals and adding two assists. His last appearance for the Reds came in 2018.
He also has a wealth of European club experience under his belt, having previously played for Helmond Sport and Roda JC in the Netherlands, and German outfit FC Augsburg.
That pedigree at club and national team level allowed him to explore other career options when he was looking to leave the Whitecaps, but he doesn’t regret making the move to Pacific, even after all the injury woes.
“I pushed for this move to the CPL and to stay in Canada. I probably could have stayed with the Whitecaps another year or moved to another MLS club, but at some stage you have to start thinking about what’s best for your career, and that’s why I decided to come to Pacific,” de Jong said.
“I wanted to try to help build something here, get my name out in the community and start thinking about what I’m going to do after my playing is over. This is a good fit for me.”
We will have more in-depth coverage this weekend on Marcel de Jong and his future with Pacific FC. Look for John Molinaro’s feature story to appear Sunday on CanPL.ca.