Halifax Wanderers trigger contract options for Daniels, Loughrey, Ferrazzo

The Halifax Wanderers have triggered contract options for the 2024 season on a trio of players as part of the club’s end-of-year roster moves.

Halifax has triggered the 2024 options for defenders Cale Loughrey and Riley Ferrazzo and midfielder Aidan Daniels. All three players signed deals with the Wanderers ahead of the 2023 season that included options for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. The Wanderers have 13 players signed for 2024 following these latest contract extensions.

“After a year with so many changes, we are excited to have a large core group of players back for next season,” Wanderers head coach Patrice Gheisar said. “Now, to go to the next level, we will bring in pieces that compliment the team, and we expect the group returning from last season to continue to grow as well.”

Daniels, 25, moved to fifth on the Wanderers’ all-time appearances list (53) after completing his second season with the club. He is coming off a strong 2023 campaign where he tallied three goals and five assists across 28 matches. Each of his goals came at key times for the Wanderers, including two separate occasions where Daniels scored a tying goal late in the match to give Halifax an away point (May 27 vs. Pacific FC and June 22 vs. York United) and one match-winner.

“Aidan is a player who came into last season with the desire to adjust to a new environment from day one,” Gheisar said. I think we saw him at his best late in the season, and I am excited to see his growth. He’s the type of player that knows how to step up when we need him.”

Ferrazzo, 24, showed his versatility throughout his first season as a professional. The Vaughan Azzurri product saw time as a full-back, midfielder and winger across his 24 appearances for the Wanderers, registering an assist in Halifax’s home opener with a beautiful over-the-top through ball.

“We thought he did a good job coming in and making an impact,” Gheisar said. He started our first game, and I thought he was brilliant. He did a good job winning his duels this season and is a great personality to have in our locker room.”

Loughrey, 22, is coming off his first season in Halifax, where he became a mainstay along the Wanderers’ backline. Loughrey made 25 appearances across all competitions, averaging over three interceptions per game while completing 87% of all passes. In tandem with Dan Nimick at centre-back, Loughrey was crucial to Halifax setting a club record for the fewest goals allowed in a season.

“I’ve known Cale for a long time and knew he could adjust to how we play because he will do anything we ask of him,” Gheisar said. “His size and style of play makes you forget just how young he is, and his maturity continues to grow.”

Meanwhile, the Wanderers have declined contract options for 2024 on defenders Cristian Campagna, Doneil Henry, Ryan James, Jake Ruby, midfielder Armaan Wilson and forwards Théo Collomb and Fumpa Mwandwe.

“We sincerely appreciate the contributions of Cristian, Doneil, Ryan, Armaan, Theo, Mo, Joao and Fumpa during their time at the club, and particularly Jake who has been with us for four seasons,” Wanderers sporting director Matt Fegan said. “These decisions never come lightly as we work to meet CPL squad composition rules and ensure we have the right positional balance each season. We wish the players all the best for the future. They’ll always get a warm welcome back at Wanderers Grounds.”

Midfielder Mo Omar is joining San Antonio FC in the USL once his contract expires at the end of 2023, forward João Morelli announced his retirement from football on Nov. 3 and forward Jordan Perruzza returned to Toronto FC following the end of his loan to Halifax.

The Wanderers have also retained the U SPORTS rights of goalkeeper Aiden Rushenas. On December 14, the club selected goalkeeper Daniel Clarke (Cape Breton University) and defender Max Bodurtha (Saint Francis Xavier University) in the CPL U SPORTS Draft. All three players will be invited to Halifax’s training camp in 2024.

The first of several exciting new player signings will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 31.