Pacific FC sign Canadian winger Dario Zanatta

On Tuesday, Pacific FC announced the signing of left winger Dario Zanatta ahead of the 2024 Canadian Premier League season.

Zanatta, 26, returns home to Victoria on a free transfer from Hamilton Academical FC in Scottish League One after a stellar eight-year career in Scotland, when he amassed more than 200 appearances for such historic clubs as Hamilton, Raith Rovers FC, Alloa Athletic FC, Partick Thistle FC, Heart of Midlothian FC, Ayr United FC and Queen’s Park FC.

“I think Dario has something to prove here and he’s determined and passionate about this new chapter,” said Jamar Dixon, Manager of Football, Pacific FC. “He’s a player that likes to attack and score goals and he’s good at holding up the ball and linking up play. Both of those traits will translate well with Pacific FC’s style of play.”

Zanatta grew up on Vancouver Island, playing for Gorge FC and Lower Island Metro. He left Victoria at 14 to join the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency program, where he played throughout high school. His father, Dante Zanatta, is well known on the B.C. soccer scene, and currently serves as head coach of the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s men’s soccer team.

Scottish football came calling in 2015, when Zanatta joined Hearts on a two-year contract. He got his start with the club’s U-20 side and eventually made 25 overall appearances at various levels of the organization between 2015 and 2019, scoring four goals and adding three assists. Zanatte also earned valuable experience during stints on loan from Hearts with Queen’s Park, Raith Rovers and Alloa Athletic, playing in 124 matches between the three clubs, scoring 29 goals and contributing 22 assists.

Following his time with Hearts, Zanatta represented Partick Thistle from August 2019 to July 2020 and Ayr United from July 2020 to July 2021. From there, he returned to Raith Rovers for the 2021-22 season, and later joining Hamilton Academical on a two-year contract. Hamilton announced Zanatta’s departure late last month.

Over his eight years in Scotland, Zanatta played more than 12,000 minutes of football and scored 43 goals.

Internationally, Zanatta has previously represented Canada at the youth levels. He was first called into camp by his country at 16 years old and went on play and train with Canada’s U-16, U-18 and U-20 squads. He competed for Canada at the Slovakia Cup in 2015 at age 17, as well as at the 2017 Concacaf Men’s U20 Championship in Costa Rica at age 19.