‘Can we inspire them?’: Kah drawing on Van Isle soccer history to drive PFC’s youth

Quick: Who was the last player to earn a cap for Canadian national team while playing for a Vancouver Island-based club?

Incoming Pacific FC coach Pa-Modou Kah knows.

“Now that the (2026) World Cup is coming to Canada, I think it’s the right moment to have players, especially Island players that have played for the Canadian men’s national team. The last time was George Pakos, Jamie Lowery, and Ian Bridge,” Kah told

That trio, of course, all had roles in Canada’s 1986 World Cup qualification — indeed, Pakos scored in the game that got them there.

Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of the B.C. soccer community, Kah — a Gambian-born Norwegian international — is determined to make Van Isle a hotbed for professional youth development.

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After travelling the world as a player, plying his trade in seven different countries on three different continents, Kah has returned to the province he’s adopted as his home. He finished his playing career with the Vancouver Whitecaps before transitioning into their coaching staff in 2017, and he’s woven himself into the fabric of the sport in B.C.

“I’m here to build a legacy together with the people at the club, so that together they can create something for the Island,” Kah said. “The Island actually has a great football background and history, and we have to tap into that. All the young players, can we inspire them? Can we make them ambitious?”

Kah should be able to hit the ground running at Pacific, fitting in fairly seamlessly with plenty of faces that are familiar to him. In his time with Vancouver, he worked with (and even briefly played with, as the grizzled vet alongside youngsters at Whitecaps 2) much of Pacific’s young core — Victor Blasco, Kadin Chung, and Terran Campbell, to name a few.

Pacific FC's Terran Campbell. (James MacDonald/CPL).
Pacific FC’s Terran Campbell. (James MacDonald/CPL).

Of course, he was also a teammate of Marcel de Jong’s for years at Dutch side Roda JC, and an antagonist to Pacific FC CEO Rob Friend while playing in Norway and the Netherlands.

So, Kah has already earned some goodwill with many around his new club. He’ll surely earn more when, as he was quick to mention, he perseveres in Pacific’s modus operandi: trust the kids.

“We want to create an environment where players can come in and be themselves. For us to be able to get the best out of players, you must also understand the person,” Kah explained.

“That’s what we want to create, a great environment for young players to come in and develop themselves, and also (veteran) players that are looking to help the young generation grow. That’s the type of people that we want to surround the club with.”

Of course, the CPL isn’t just a proving ground for young players. It’s also provided most of its coaches with their first opportunity at the helm of a professional club. Kah is no exception; he’s been an assistant at various levels, from the Whitecaps’ reserve team to MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati, but never the man in charge.

So, he’s well aware of the chance that he, too, has found in the CPL.

“If you look at the league, you see the possibilities for players as well as for coaches,” Kah said. “That was one of the things I looked at for myself as well. Having people that know you as a person, know you as a coach, what I’m able to do and being given the possibility to showcase it was also one of the reasons why I wanted to come to Pacific.”

Kah is well-versed in the intricacies of the CPL, having kept tabs on his B.C. acquaintances during the inaugural season. A self-professed “football fanatic,” he watched on from Cincinnati, noting how critical it was for Canada to get its professional league off the ground in advance of the 2026 World Cup.

That World Cup on the horizon seems an important touchstone to Kah, who looked ahead to the CPL’s involvement in 2026 several times while chatting with

“You have Josh (Simpson) and Rob (Friend), who are accomplished players, but they actually never got to play and live in their own country,” Kah said. “They had to go outside to be able to play. Now we can provide it to the younger generation, and in six years there’s a World Cup coming.

“If the league continues to grow step-by-step, it will be in a place where you’ll get to see maybe players that actually play in the CPL going to the World Cup, or players that developed in the CPL then get the possibility to go abroad and play.”

So, then: is Terran Campbell the next George Pakos?

“There’s a lot of good players in Canada,” Kah said.

“They just have to be seen.”