Valour FC’s Joe Hanson becomes first Yukon-born player to sign with CPL club

Joe Hanson made a bit of history on Monday, becoming the first player born in the Yukon to sign with a Canadian Premier League club.

The 20-year-old Whitehorse-born attacker was announced as a signing for Valour FC after two campaigns spent with the Vancouver Whitecaps 2 team in MLS NEXT Pro. In signing with the Whitecaps back in March of 2022, he became the first soccer player from the Yukon to sign a pro contract.

Hanson will give Valour some flexibility up top, as he can play either as a striker or an attacking midfielder. He played 37 matches in MLS Next Pro the past two seasons, scoring three goals. He scored his first pro goal for the Whitecaps 2 in a 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City 2 in April of 2022, assisted by now-Canadian international Ali Ahmed.

The Whitehorse native began his playing career in an academy program run by his father, Jake, in the Yukon before eventually moving to Seattle in pursuit of his dream to play professionally.

“Joe will bring additional options to our attack,” said Valour head coach Phillip Dos Santos. “He’s versatile and arrives having a good tactical understanding of what we want from him. I think he’s a young player with a high margin to progress. Joe’s minutes will be valuable and count towards the required U-21 minutes.”

Hanson represented Yukon at the 2018 Canada Soccer U-15 Championships with the Yukon Selects S.C., with whom his father was an assistant coach. He scored in a historic 2-0 victory for Yukon over Nova Scotia, helping the team to a record seventh-place finish.

Before joining the Whitecaps, he won a B.C. title with the Vancouver Island Wave program. Hanson also hosts soccer camps in the Yukon during the off-season alongside his dad, one of which saw him bring in Whitecaps 2 teammate, and former York United striker, Lowell Wright.

Hanson joins a rejuvenated Valour attack that already includes the likes of Kian Williams, Jordan Swibel, Abdul Binate and Shaan Hundal. The Winnipeg side kicks off its 2024 campaign on Sunday against Vancouver FC at the Langley Events Centre (4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET).