York9 FC’s backline will be holding steady on either side, as the club announced Wednesday the re-signings of both right fullback Morey Doner and left fullback Diyaeddine Abzi for the 2020 Canadian Premier League season.
Doner, 25, and Abzi, 21, formed one of the top fullback duos during the CPL’s inaugural campaign, and will return next year alongside captain Manny Aparicio, who was announced as returning earlier in the week.
“Morey and Diyaeddine represent two of our hardest-working and most talented players,” York9 FC coach Jimmy Brennan said of his fullbacks. “I was impressed with their ability to work in tandem throughout 2019 and I’m delighted to have both of them back for 2020.”
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Indeed, Doner and Abzi both impressed this past season, combining with their teammates as they overlapped on the right and left side. Abzi, in particular, drew attention for his clean defensive and offensive showings, while Doner grabbed headlines when he scored a spectacular volley against Valour FC on Canada Day.
“Selfishly, I think they are the two best in the league,” Brennan said of Abzi and Doner earlier in the 2019 campaign. “You can’t take anything away from other teams, they’ve got some good (fullbacks), but I am extremely happy with these two guys right now.”
Doner made 25 appearances for York9 in 2019, while Abzi made 24. Abzi, who joined York9 out of PLSQ, also scored one goal, against Forge FC on Oct. 12 as the Nine Stripes would go on to win 4-0 against their 905 Derby foes.
The two were also fast friends at York9, according to Doner.
“My French is non-existent, but he’s one of my best friends on the team,” said Doner, a Collingwood, Ontario native. “I met (Abzi) a few months before we all got together because he was on trial as well, he came from Quebec for a few weeks. We started talking after that.
“I’m more of a natural fullback, he’s more of a winger converted into a fullback, but we love the way we complement each other. He knows how to get forward and come back, me the same.
“Not only are we friends off the pitch, but we do a lot of similar things on the pitch. That helps.”