Valour FC announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed Costa Rican midfielder Néstor Monge for the upcoming CPL season.
Monge, a 31-year-old with six international caps for Costa Rica (most recently against the United States in 2019), comes to Winnipeg from ADR Jicaral in the topflight of his native country.
Through his career, he’s had stints at a variety of clubs across Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica (including at Concacaf giants Deportivo Saprissa), with 343 total appearances in the top-tier Liga FPD in his homeland. Monge is slated to see out the 2021 campaign with ADR Jicaral before departing for Valour’s training camp.
In 11 seasons in Costa Rica, Monge has scored 10 goals and added 12 assists. He’s also made eight appearances in the Concacaf Champions League, playing in the continent’s top club competition for both Saprissa and Cartaginés.
The five-foot-nine technically-proficient veteran is primarily a defensive midfielder, and he will likely serve as a key piece of Valour’s transitional game this year.
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“He’s played over 337 professional games and almost 25,000 minutes,” Valour coach Rob Gale told CanPL.ca. “We can get excited about players who have played a couple of thousand here and there. But this guy has done it all. He’s played in Mexico, he’s played in the Concacaf champions league and played at the highest level in Central America and is still playing at that level.
“He was called up by the Costa Rican senior team and played against the USA as a central midfielder for the national team within the last year. He’s excited to come for a new experience and to be a dominant player in our league. His football IQ and what he will bring in the middle of the park is immense.”
Former FC Edmonton coach Jeff Paulus lauded the move, posting on Twitter: “(Rob Gale) doing some good work here. Another signing by that club that I really like and a controlling (midfielder) that should be a nice fit for the way they want to play.”
Monge is Valour’s sixth international player signed for 2021, joining fellow newcomer Ronny Maza (Venezuela), as well as Amir Soto (Panama), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Haiti), and Arnold Bouka Moutou (Congo).
In total, Valour now has 13 players signed for the upcoming year, with 10 players returning from the 2020 roster.
Last week, Gale selected goalkeeper Yuba-Rayane Yesli (University on Montreal) and defender Tony Mikhael (Carleton) at the CPL-U SPORTS Draft. Both prospects will be invited to Valour’s pre-season training camp with an eye towards signing with the Winnipeg-based club.