After an impressive turnaround season at The Island Games, HFX Wanderers FC have revealed a number of roster moves that will allow the club to build upon its 2020 success.
The Wanderers announced on Tuesday that 12 players in total will be back for the 2021 CPL season, having signed some players to long-term extensions while also exercising the contract options of other players.
Here’s the list of 12 returning players: goalkeeper Christian Oxner; defenders Peter Schaale, Jems Geffrard, Eriks Santos and Mateo Restrepo; midfielders Andre Rampersad and Omar Kreim; and forwards Alessandro Riggi, Joao Morelli, Cory Bent, Alex Marshall and Akeem Garcia.
In total, the Wanderers confirmed that 11 of the 13 players who played for them in the 2020 CPL Final vs. Forge FC will officially be coming back next year, including Player of the Year nominee and Golden Boot winner Garcia, and Goalkeeper of the Year nominee Oxner.
The club also revealed that under-21 players Scott Firth and Jake Ruby will be invited to training camp in 2021 with a view to re-signing them.
“These players have embraced their role as representatives of our city, our fans and our club, earning themselves the opportunity to continue to build on the momentum they created at the Island Games,” said Derek Martin, HFX Wanderers president. “Our goal of bringing a championship to our rabid supporters remains at the forefront of every decision we make and we are confident these returning players put us in a great position to compete.”
HFX indicated that it is continuing to negotiate with four members of the 2020 squad – Alex De Carolis, Daniel Kinumbe, Aboubacar Sissoko and Ibrahima Sanoh – whose futures have not yet been decided, and that a crop of new players will likely be announced in the coming months as well.
The Wanderers will be moving forward without a couple of players from the 2020 season, however.
Right-back Chrisnovic N’Sa, an U-21 Player of the Year nominee, will not be returning after two seasons in Halifax, having declined the club’s new contract offer. The Wanderers also chose not to extend midfielder Louis Béland-Goyette, who made 10 appearances for the side at The Island Games.
The club also announced that goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu has chosen to retire in order to pursue a career in engineering, and that youngster Luke Green will be attending St. Francis Xavier University in 2021.
“It is always difficult to say goodbye to players who have given their all for the club,” Wanderers coach Stephen Hart said. “We thank them for their contribution to our club. Despite making our best efforts to maintain continuity, in football there will always be some off-season movement and we wish all of these young men continued success wherever their careers and lives take them.”