The Next Gen (presented by Jones DesLauriers | Navacord): Woobens Pacius heats up in second season at Forge FC

Woobens Pacius seemed to come out of nowhere.

The 21-year-old native of Terrebonne, Quebec, arrived on the Canadian Premier League scene in August 2021, and almost immediately started scoring for Forge FC upon signing for the club out of the CF Montréal academy.

It’s always difficult to score consistently at the CPL level, but even more so when you join a club mid-campaign. Pacius, however, would bank seven goals in his first half-season in Hamilton.

This past year, he was even more dangerous, putting the ball in the net 12 times in total across 30 regular season and playoff matches. He went on an absolute tear in July, scoring six goals over a span of four games to lift his side out of a mild attacking slump.

“For a striker you always try to score every game, and when you have these periods of time when you can score one, two, three, four games in a row, you just try to enjoy the moment,” Pacius said. You know it’s not easy to score, to find a way to goal every game.”

The 2022 campaign was crucial for Pacius, who admitted he hadn’t played a full season without major injury absence since 2018. He picked up steam at just the right time as well, scoring in both legs of the CPL semifinal for Forge against Cavalry FC to push them into the final en route to a championship.

This year, under the tutelage of coach Bobby Smyrniotis, Pacius has developed into a more well-rounded striker, able to hurt opposing defences in a variety of ways. As a result, he’s scored a variety of goals — powerful strikes with either foot, poached tap-ins, headers off set-pieces, penalties.

“I think something that is really important for me is my runs in the box, my position in the box,” Pacius said. “We worked a lot on it this season. And of course finishing it’s something we always have to work at as strikers — left foot, right foot, headers. As long as the ball goes in the goal, it’s good.

Pacius may have been hesitant at first about leaving an MLS academy to join a CPL team, but he hasn’t looked back since making that decision.

If you ask him, the CPL is a path that can do wonders for advancing a young player’s career.

“It’s important for young players to come here, get their experience here,” he said. “I think it helped a lot. You have your first minutes, your first taste of professional football.”