Halifax Wanderers FC recently added some more Canadian content to their roster with the signing of Samuel Salter to a one year contract, with a club option for 2022 and 2023
“We’re delighted to bring a young player of Sam’s quality to our squad to add further competition in attack. Having viewed his games in PLSQ league and in discussion with our scouting network, we’ve identified a player widely considered to be one of the best attackers coming out of Quebec. His versatility to play up front or out wide is exactly what Stephen looks for in a player,” stated Matt Fegan, HFX Wanderers VP of Football Operations.
“Having considered invitations for trials from several European clubs, the fact that Sam has opted to launch his professional career with us at Wanderers is further testament to the opportunities we’re creating for Canadian talent.”
Salter, 2o, signed his first professional contract with the Wanderers after playing in NCAA Division 1 at California State University at Northridge Matadors (CSUN). The Montreal native is another exciting product from the Montreal Impact FC Academy, scoring three goals in 14 appearances during his 2015-16 season.
Following several trials from European clubs, Salter took his attacking abilities to CSUN, making 16 appearances for the Division 1 team in his freshman year.
Salter chatted with CanPL.ca about his excitement around signing with the Wanderers, what it means to play for a professional club in Canada, and much more.
How does it feel to sign with a Canadian club such as HFX Wanderers FC?
SS: It feels great. I’m thankful for the coaching staff giving me a chance to sign my first professional contract. They were great last year and I think it can be great this year and that we can do even better things.
What have the last couple years been like for you, between exploring professional opportunities and now playing for a team in the Canadian Premier League?
SS: Three years ago I was playing in France at the U19 Nationals. It was the first time I left home to play abroad and that was a big experience for me getting to play with the best players of U19 in France. I went on to play at college the next year with CSUN (California State University at Northridge). This experience has been really great playing with older guys – people with more experience. Playing at a higher level with high quality players has been really great. I got good minutes in my first year so I’m thankful for the coaches giving me that opportunity. I’m also lucky to have played with some players who have gone on to play in their professional careers and I think that was a big motivational factor for me to go on and play at the next level, now in Halifax.
What does it mean for you as a Canadian player having the opportunity to play for a team in your country?
SS: It’s great. Who would have thought four or five years ago that I’d be signing my first professional contract in my home country in front of family – I have family in New Brunswick who aren’t too far away. It means a lot to me to finally have this chance and to be playing at home. I haven’t had the chance to play at home for the last two years so I’m just thankful.
Being familiar with the squad from last year, what about this group of players has you excited to join them?
SS: I know a couple of players from the team – there’s a lot of guys from Quebec on the team. I think this is something that’s really good for me, coming into an environment that’s comfortable with people I know. They were very dominant last year and they played really well. I’m just glad to come into a team environment like this. I was convinced by the idea that we could do even greater things this year with myself and some other talent that’s coming in as well.
Outside of soccer, what other passions do you have?
SS: During the pandemic I started reading a lot of books. It’s not something I did before and I started really enjoying it during the lockdown. Apart from that I’ve played other sports – I used to play hockey. I like tennis a lot and just sports in general is something I do when I’m not playing soccer – I’m usually watching sports.
Which soccer club do you support?
SS: I’m a big Borussia Dortmund fan – I watch all of their games and this is my club. I just watch all the games, I enjoy how they play and I like the fans, the fans are great. It’s just a great club to support. I became a fan because of that team in 2013; players like Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus, they had a great team and I just loved the way they played. Their fans were so great and the passion they had was surreal. I think that’s what got me into the team was the passion around the team and the players as well.
There’s a lot of passion for the game in Halifax as well. What have you heard about the city and the people here?
SS: I’m definitely looking forward to hopefully meeting the fans if everything turns out well with the pandemic. I’ve heard a lot of good things from current players and (alumni) from the Wanderers that the fan base is really good – the fans seem really excited to have a team in Halifax and that they support the team each and every game. I’ve never been to Halifax before but I’ve heard there’s a Salter street in Halifax. My aunt told me about this a week ago, but I don’t know too much about Halifax but I’ve heard it’s a great city and that the people are great so I just can’t wait to go there.
Looking forward to the 2021 season, what elements of your play are you excited to bring to the Wanderers squad?
SS: I’m a tall guy and I’m hoping to bring a lot of aspects to this team. I’m also quick so I like to run in behind as a striker – I’m just looking to add more goals and add more depth to the squad and fight for my spot right from the beginning. I think that’s what I can bring to the table.