After a six-week stay at The Island Games, Pacific FC players are now sticking close to home.
All but one player on Pacific’s squad are back on the West Coast, swapping the red shores of Prince Edward Island for the beaches of Vancouver Island.
It’s a huge advantage for Pacific coach Pa-Modou Kah, who enters this off-season fresh off a second-round departure at The Island Games, as he tries to prepare for the 2021 CPL campaign.
The Tridents finished the 2020 season with a 4-2-4 record after an incredible final match in the second round against HFX Wanderers FC– a 5-0 win featuring Marco Bustos’ record-breaking two-goal, two-assist performance.
“Frankly, people have seen a different Pacific than last year,” Kah told to CanPL.ca “We can be happy to see where the club is building towards.
“It’s a step-by-step process and the first step is giving positivism around the club. We’re proud of seeing the club development and staying true to our philosophy of developing young players and giving them a chance.”
There’s no denying Kah’s young group shined in PEI: Kadin Chung earned a CanPL.ca Best XI nod after solid shifts at fullback, while midfield standouts Matthew Baldisimo and Sean Young logged more minutes than expected.
With sour second-round losses to Forge FC and Cavalry FC fresh in his mind, Kah anticipated getting back on the training pitch with his team in the near future.
“We played okay but people want to see results. Obviously, we can look back and say, all right, we could have done better,” offered Kah, who is eagerly planning to set up the off-season.
“You still want to do some work, with the boys. We’re also looking at possibilities to get players on loan but, with COVID, it’s very difficult. You got to be creative in ways to engage with players.”
Kah said Pacific will look at loan deals once players return from their “down time,” as well as setting up friendlies against local teams, if local health and safety restrictions allow it
“If we are permitted to, we will,” Kah said.
“You want to see where you can fit in the games because that’s eventually the most interesting part for them. We like training, but they’ve done enough with no opposition, honestly, before we went to the Island Games.”
“Right now, as we’re speaking, I haven’t heard anything. But will there be interest? Yes, I do believe so,” Kah stated. “We won’t stand in our way of guys when the opportunity is right for them and for the club. We need the right deal for the club because that is important for the CPL.”
Exactly when Pacific will be back on the training pitch is unknown at the moment. Centre back Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, who otherwise is based on the West Coast, is the lone squad member currently away, visiting family in Montreal. Mexican Alejandro Díaz has decided to relocate permanently to Vancouver Island with his partner.
Kah won’t have any trouble wrangling players on either side of the Georgia Strait in the coming weeks. But, for now, it’s about refocusing his players.
“We need their minds to get away – then come back again and refocus,” Kah said. “It was a very hectic six weeks on PEI. Football is the last thing that you want them to have in their mind.”