Pacific FC re-signs 5 players, including Campbell, Blasco, Irving

Pacific FC’s roster for the 2021 CPL season continued to take shape on Friday, with the announcement that five more players from the 2020 squad have re-signed for next year.

The latest crop of returnees includes goalkeeper Callum Irving, attackers Victor Blasco and Terran Campbell, midfielder Jamar Dixon and Mali-born defender Abdou Samake, all of whom played key roles for the Tridents at The Island Games.

“All these re-signings are fantastic for us as we continue to build a roster to fight for championships,” Pacific coach Pa-Modou Kah said in a media release. “We have a bright future ahead of us.”

Irving, 27, made six appearances for Pacific this summer in PEI, performing well enough to earn a nomination for the CPL’s Goalkeeper of the Year award. The Vancouver native joined the club last winter from the Ottawa Fury, where he’d played the previous two years. He took over the starting job for Pacific midway through The Island Games, claiming the No. 1 spot after posting a clean sheet in his club debut, a 2-0 win over Valour FC.

Up front, Pacific will be retaining the services of Blasco and Campbell, two attackers who have been with the team through the first two CPL seasons. Blasco, a Spanish-born 26-year-old, has seven goals and five assists in his 35 league matches for Pacific. The tricky winger played in all of Pacific’s 10 matches at The Island Games, providing two goals and two assists.

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Campbell — known affectionately as The Hulk — has recorded 12 goals and three assists for the Tridents, including a breakout 11-goal season in 2019 that saw him fall just short of the CPL’s Golden Boot award. The 22-year-old native of Burnaby, B.C., has been one of the league’s top young strikers in his time with the club, and he’s one of the CPL’s most imposing physical presences in the penalty area.

In the middle, Pacific will be glad to have re-signed Dixon, an experienced central midfielder who brought a veteran presence to the side in 2020. The 31-year-old Ottawa native and former Ottawa Fury stalwart played in nine of Pacific’s matches in 2020, scoring one goal and captaining the side three times. With three Canadian national team caps to his name, Dixon was a key leader for the club as they improved their fortunes from 2019.

Finally, Pacific announced they’ll be bringing back Samake. The 24-year-old, who signed with Pacific after a strong college career with the University of Michigan, appeared three times for the Tridents at The Island Games, playing 88 minutes in total. Samake is a strong centre-back with good technical ability who could develop into a bigger piece of the squad’s defence in 2021.

Pacific now has 16 players signed for 2021 (although goalkeeper Emil Gazdov will be on loan at FC Nürnberg), with 15 of them returnees from the 2020 squad. Former York9 FC captain Manny Aparicio is the only newcomer signed so far.