Patrice Gheisar named Halifax Wanderers head coach

The Halifax Wanderers named Canadian Patrice Gheisar as the club’s new head coach on Wednesday.

“I was ecstatic when I got the news; words can’t express it. I am just looking forward to getting started,” Gheisar said. “Halifax fits all the things I wanted, I loved the city when I came here, and it has the best fans in the league; it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Gheisar joins the Wanderers after a storied career at Vaughan Azzurri in League1 Ontario. In 2022 he was named the league’s coach of the year after leading his team to an undefeated season and league championship. As a full-time head coach in League1 Ontario, Gheisar holds a record of 41 wins, two losses and five draws between the regular season and playoffs. Over that time, Vaughan scored 173 goals and conceded just 59 times for a +114 goal differential.

“My focus from day one has been to find a winner, a builder and a communicator, and throughout this extensive process, Patrice proved to be the best option for all three,” Wanderers Founder & President Derek Martin said. “Our ambition is to be perennial winners on and off the pitch, and I believe Patrice has the drive, passion, experience and relationships to get us there!”

READ MORE: ‘Excitement beyond imagination’: Former L1O tactician Gheisar thrilled for new challenge as Wanderers coach

In Gheisar, the Wanderers get a coach with a reputation for both winning and developing high-level footballers. Players who have played under Gheisar include current Canada World Cup Team players Alistair Johnston, Kamal Miller, Jonathan Osorio and Dayne St. Clair – along with over two dozen either current or former Canadian Premier League players.

A former player for York University and York Region Shooters, Gheisar went on to become a well-respected coach in Ontario. Along with 15 years with Vaughan Soccer Club, he has also worked as a coach for Hearts Azzurri, Toronto Metropolitan University, York University, SC Toronto and most recently at Seneca College. With Seneca, Gheisar was named OCAA coach of the year in 2019.

“I work hard, and I’m proud of that. For me, it’s the higher the wall, the more I get out of myself,” Gheisar said. “Right now, the sky is the limit for the Wanderers, and it’s not about just doing better than last year, we’re going to try and go and be the best we’ve ever been and represent our city and fans at its best.”

Gheisar was ultimately selected for the job after an extensive search process which attracted many strong applicants. After making an initial shortlist of candidates, Gheisar impressed the club enough for them to pick him as the man to lead Halifax as coach.

Now what we need to do is deliver consistent playoff football for Halifax,” said Wanderers sporting director Matt Fegan. “We don’t want to be watching the playoffs on the couch anymore, we want to be competing with the top teams in this league. We want to give the fans an opportunity to celebrate those successes as well with us.”

Fegan added: “I think now we have an opportunity, with Patrice’s vision of the game, to make sure we support him with the right players that fit that model.”