Valour FC announce 7 departures including Gutierrez, de Brienne
Valour FC

Change was inevitable for Valour FC’s roster heading into 2024 and now that makeover will include two of its most recognizable faces.

The club confirmed today that even after making substantial financial offers, both midfielder Diego Gutierrez and forward/left-back Matteo de Brienne will not be returning to the club for next season.

“We extended substantial offers, but the players opted to pursue other opportunities,” said Valour GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos. “This is just how free agency works.”

Their two departures are also combined with the exits of Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Walter Ponce and Guillaume Pianelli, who were not presented with a new deal. Additionally, Andy Baquero and Klaidi Cela had their options declined and will not return next season.

Said Dos Santos of Jean-Baptiste, who was a central figure for the club since 2020 but was limited to just 27 matches over the last two years, including nine in ’23:

“Unfortunately, he was decimated by injuries and limited to just a few games over the last couple of seasons.”

Dos Santos did say the organization is still in discussions with midfielder Raphael Ohin about a return and has exercised the option of centre back Abdou Samake, who will be back next season.

“He’s a player that we brought in last year and he showed glimpses of what he could bring to our team,” Dos Santos said of Samake. “But he also suffered with some setbacks with his body. He’s someone we count on for his leadership and experience and his quality as a centre back. He’s one of those players that will help us solidify our back line.”

Amid the change, Valour has been busy filling its roster, adding forward Shaan Hundal, midfielders Jordan Faria and Zach Sukunda and fullback Roberto Alarcón – all CPL veterans — as well as signing midfielder/defender Dante Campbell to a contract extension.

That crew joins the group that is returning, including goalkeepers Rayane Yesli and Darlington Murasiranwa, midfielders Marcello Polisi and Juan Pablo Sanchez, winger/forward Kian Williams and fullback Jordan Haynes. Also expected in camp when training begins in February are the team’s two selections in last week’s CPL-U Sports Draft – forward Owen Sheppard and centre back Gianfranco Facchineri.

That’s a ton of change but, again, given what unfolded last season with the team finishing out of the playoffs again the extreme makeover is also hardly unexpected.

“Look, both (Gutierrez and de Brienne) were players we wanted to keep, and we made our pitch,” said Dos Santos. “Now we look ahead.

“In any team nobody is irreplaceable. Nobody. We have put ourselves in a good spot with our latest additions and we believe we’re going to be a team that is extremely competitive.

“It’s always about the sum of the parts for us and not about individuals.”