Over 400 days and 10,000 hours later, Eriks Santos has finally caught up to Halifax Wanderers FC.
The 25-year-old Brazilian’s introduction to Halifax and the club that signed him in February 2020 has been a quiet one, starting with quarantine and eventual integration into training.
However, Santos’ unofficial introduction to fans came on social media this week with, well, an unfortunate nutmeg.
“They can do me like that,” Santos said through fellow Brazilian and Wanderers teammate João Morelli. “It was just a pass, Akeem [Garcia] was lucky.
“I’m waiting for the club to post a nutmeg I pulled off on a player since!”
Santos, who came through famed Brazilian club Internacional, signed for Halifax after two seasons in the Georgian Premier League where he made 39 appearances for FC Dila Gori at centre-back and left fullback. Santos, who also appeared for Ukrainian top-flight side FC Mariupol, signed his first professional deal with Internacional as a 16-year-old and won the under-15 Copa America with Brazil in 2013.
Santos was one of a handful of international players tied up in COVID-19 travel restrictions last Spring. He joins the Wanderers as pandemic restrictions continue and after completing a two-week quarantine in the city.
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“It’s very organized, you have everything a player needs,” Santos said of the Wanderers’ off-the-field team. “The support is there, so everything’s good.
“Of course, I’m very happy at this point. For me, and the other players… What we went through was very hard. I was holding out hope that the country would be reopened but It just didn’t happen.”
He was unable to make it to Canada in time for the Island Games, though he watched the season from his native Brazil.
“I knew we, the Wanderers, were good enough to get to the final,” Santos recalled. “I saw the first two games, when we drew, but I wasn’t worried in the slightest.
The Wanderers formally began training last month with a 28-player pre-season camp. Santos is one of three natural centre-backs on Stephen Hart’s roster, joining Peter Schaale and Jems Geffrard.
While it’s “just great to be back in training,” there’s no doubt Santos will be checking Instagram for the Wanderers to post a nutmeg he can be proud of.
“Of course it’s only a joke, everyone was having a good time,” Santos said of his unfortunate rondo moment.
“But they can’t do me like that. I’m waiting to see my nutmeg get posted.”