Pacific FC announced on Wednesday that the club has accepted a deal to send goalkeeper Emil Gazdov on a two-year loan to German club FC Nürnberg.
Gazdov, 17, signed his first professional contract with Pacific in June, coming to the Tridents from the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program. The six-foot-three, North Vancouver native caught the attention of Pacific’s staff while at the Whitecaps, where he trained with Pacific’s current goalkeeper coach Mark Village.
Nürnberg currently plays in the 2. Bundesliga, the second tier of German football. Der Club, as they’re known, are one of the country’s most historic teams; founded in 1900, they won eight German league titles in the pre-Bundesliga era, and were one of the founding members of the league’s current iteration in 1962.
Nürnberg also won the DFB-Pokal trophy in 2007. The 2020-21 season will be their second consecutive year in the second tier, having been last relegated from the topflight in 2019. They finished 16th last season, and avoided relegation to the third tier by winning a playoff against FC Ingolstadt.
“Part of our club strategy is to move players on to new opportunities,” Pacific CEO Rob Friend said in a media release. “This is a great move for Emil and we’ll do everything we can to support him.”
Friend himself is one of several people at Pacific with experience playing in Germany, alongside fellow club executive Josh Simpson, and players Marcel de Jong and Kadin Chung.
Over the course of a two-year loan, Gazdov will have the opportunity to develop at a well-established European club in a competitive environment, with a view either to stepping up to a higher level or bringing his newly-honed skills back to Vancouver Island.
It’s a smart move for Gazdov, who is third on Pacific’s goalkeeping depth chart behind veterans Callum Irving and Nolan Wirth, and the loan deal will allow him to gain valuable playing time, something that would have been hard to achieve had he stayed with the Tridents.