York9 FC adds ‘fantastic vision’ of creative midfielder Manny Aparicio

York9 Football Club announced Monday the signing of midfielder Manuel Aparicio, who joins the club and returns to York Region after spending the last three years in Spain.

The 23-year-old was born in Buenos Aires but was raised in East York, where he played for East York Soccer Club and Unionville Milliken Soccer Club. He moved to Spain in 2016 to play with SD Ordenes, and also featured for CD Izarra and, most recently, CD San Roque de Lepe.

York9 FC Head Coach Jimmy Brennan reunites with Aparicio, with the two last working together at the TFC Academy in 2010.

“He’s a great young creative player with fantastic vision for the game,” Brennan said. “I was fortunate enough to have him at the academy, and he’s gained great overseas experience in Spain. The timing is perfect to bring him back and make him a successful player in the CPL.”

Aparicio sees himself as a key part of the offensive strategy of York9, and intends to produce for his teammates in a creative attacking midfield role.

“My job is to be explosive, get on the ball, get into tight spaces and create chances for my forwards and let them put it in the net,” Aparicio said.

He also acknowledged the important role the CPL will play in his own development, as well as that of young Canadian soccer players across the country.

“It’s been the only thing missing for us for a long time,” Aparicio said. “It’s a step you need to help the national team, and to help all these players like myself that end up having to go to lower divisions in Europe.

“When that happens you really struggle with being away from your family and friends and hometown. This way you can keep the guys local, getting minutes and on the radar for the national team. When you’re a Canadian in those leagues, you get looked down on.”

Even with those struggles, there’s no question playing that those Spanish locales taught him important lessons about himself and his craft.

“You’re fighting day-in day-out for three points on those teams, and the atmosphere is intense,” Aparicio said. “Sometimes if you lose the next day people are looking at you on the street, but it definitely teaches you a lot about being a professional.”