York United FC sign Canadian international fullback Juan Córdova

York United FC announced on Thursday the signing of Canadian defender Juan Córdova on a one-year deal, plus a club option for a further twelve months.

The 28-year-old, who has spent the bulk of his career as a right-back, arrives after six excellent seasons in the Chilean Primera División.

Beginning his career in the country’s second tier with San Felipe, Córdova signed for top-flight side Huachipato FC in 2017 and immediately impressed. In his first proper campaign, he made 16 appearances and conjured one assist but more was to come. In 2019, he was an integral part of the Huachipato side that finished sixth and qualified for the following season’s Copa Sudamericana. Despite the second round exit at the hands of CA Fénix from Uruguay, both Córdova and Huachipato were hungry for more. The 2020 season proved turbulent due to the pandemic, but when it finally wrapped early the next year, Huachipato had qualified once again for the Copa Sudamericana.

This time, they navigated their way to the group stage and faced a pair of Argentine heavyweights in Rosario Central and San Lorenzo. Córdova made seven appearances in the competition overall, five of them starts.

Across 2021 and 2022, Córdova’s stock was at an all-time high as he featured 56 times in all competitions. His performances attracted the attention of Ñublense, who had just finished as runners-up in the league and were guaranteed a place in the 2023 Copa Libertadores group stage. Once again, Córdova faced two of the most high-profile sides in the competition: eventual quarter-finalists Racing Club and legendary Brazilian club Flamengo. He added a further 10 appearances for Ñublense across league and cup competition, registering one assist along the way.

Juan Córdova signs autographs ahead of Canada’s game against the United States. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

Though born and raised in Chile, Córdova carries a Canadian passport through his father, who’s a Canadian citizen. Owing to his eligibility, he was called into the Canada senior squad in June 2017 under Octavio Zambrano and made his debut in an international friendly against Curacao at Saputo Stadium, coming on as a late substitute. In October, he was included once more for a clash with El Salvador and contributed 30 minutes off the bench.

In 2019, he returned to the national team and was in the squad for three Concacaf Nations League games across September and October, including the famous 2-0 win over the United States at BMO Field.

“We’ve been watching Juan for quite a while now so he’s a player we know very well at this point,” says York United FC Head Coach Martin Nash.

“He’s an attacking fullback with plenty of experience, has excellent composure and quality in possession and makes smart decisions in the final third. There’s a flexibility there too, as he can switch flanks if needed. There’s also a pedigree to Juan: so many games in the Chilean top flight over the past few years, facing some of the toughest teams in the continent.

“His performances were so impressive and consistent for Huachipato that he got a big move to Ñublense and was facing the likes of Flamengo and Racing Club in the Copa Libertadores just last year. There’s also the experience he’s picked up in the Copa Sudamericana too, which is another immensely tough competition. A resilient player and a super addition to our squad. I’m excited to watch him in 2024.”