Player of the Year finalist Manny Aparicio returning to Pacific FC for 2023

Pacific FC announced on Tuesday that midfielder Manny Aparicio will be back for the 2023 season after the club exercised his contract option, keeping him on Vancouver Island for a third season.

Aparicio, 27, has been one of Pacific’s top players since he signed for the club before the 2021 campaign. The Toronto native has made 48 appearances for the Tridents since then, scoring six goals and providing seven assists. He’s been an integral part of the club’s playoff runs the past two years, helping drive the team to a first-ever CPL championship in 2021.

He also started all four of Pacific’s matches in the 2022 Concacaf League, shining in midfield en route to a narrow loss on penalties to CS Herediano.

The 5-foot-6 attacking midfielder has been one of the CPL’s most entertaining and impactful players since day one, and will be hoping to improve on last year’s form that saw him emerge as an early MVP candidate. Aparicio has proven himself to be one of the hardest-working players in the league, particularly off the ball, but his technical ability and vision allow him to be a top-class creative force for Pacific as well.

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In 2022, Aparicio played 23 times for the Vancouver Island club and, despite missing stretches due to injury and suspension, was impactful enough to be nominated for the CPL’s Player of the Year honour. His peers also voted him in the top 10 for the first-ever Players’ Player of the Year award after a regular season where Pacific went 11-3-3 with him on the pitch, and 2-4-5 without him.

Although Aparicio played just over 51 per cent of available regular season minutes last year, Pacific outscored their opponents 19-9 with him on the pitch — being outscored 24-17 when he was absent.

“Manu is a top player in this league and one of the most dynamic box-to-box Canadian central midfielders in the game,” said Pacific FC head coach James Merriman.

“Last season was maybe his best in terms of match impact in his performances. We know the quality that he brings to our team, the energy he has on the field, and we believe he is coming into his best football.”

Prior to signing for Pacific, Aparicio spent two seasons at York United, where he captained the club and made 37 appearances. A product of the Toronto FC academy, Aparicio played a year for TFC II in the USL before spending three seasons in Spain with Órdenes, Izarra, and San Roque Lepe.

Internationally, he represented Canada a number of times at several youth levels and earned a cap for the senior national team in 2014 in a friendly against Colombia.

With Aparicio’s option picked up, Pacific now officially have 18 players signed to their 2023 roster, with more additions set to be announced in the coming weeks.