‘No more excuses’: Tyson Farago’s journey to Valour

WINNIPEG — The images in Tyson Farago’s head have long featured the same details under the exact same circumstances.

They feature the Winnipeg-born goalkeeper running out of the tunnel in his hometown — his friends and family helping pack the stands — while wearing the colours of a professional team representing the Manitoba capital.

And now it is one step closer to reality after Farago put his name on a contract with Winnipeg’s Valour FC on Friday and will soon step on the pitch in the brand new Canadian Premier League.

“I’ve had so many visions, so many dreams, of stepping out in front of a packed stadium at Investors Group Field,” began Farago, a 27-year-old who played his first soccer match in Wolseley as a four-year-old. “I don’t think there’s anything more appealing than that in my life right now. It’s going to be a great experience, for sure.”

Tyson Farago at Investors Group Field. (Valour FC)

Farago’s name is familiar to local fans, but for those who haven’t been introduced, a quick synopsis:

A member of the provincial team for years, Farago helped Manitoba capture gold at the Western Canada Summer Games in 2007 and was later named to the All-Star Team at the 2009 Canada Games. He has played locally for SC Hellas, Lucania and Winnipeg Juventus, as well as the University of Winnipeg.

The game has also taken him to Brazil, where he played for Goias Esporte Clube, to England where he played trial games for Brighton & Hove Albion’s reserve team, to FC Edmonton of the NASL, and this past year to Ireland, where he played for St. Patrick’s Athletic before returning home to backstop WSA Winnipeg in the Premier Development League.

He is a two-time MVP of the Manitoba Soccer Association Cup and was honoured with Manitoba Soccer’s Frank Capasso Award of Merit in 2013.

In short, he’s both travelled the world in the game and won just about every award at the local level. Suiting up for Valour FC will be both a bonus and an honour, even if his eventual signing with the new club has been one of the worst-kept secrets in the soccer community over the previous few months.

“(Coach Rob Gale) and I have been talking about this for a while. It has been one of the worst kept secrets in Winnipeg,” added Farago with a chuckle. “It’s always been a dream for me to play in Winnipeg at a pro level. As soon as I heard about this it was definitely on my list and we’ve been trying to make it happen for a while before being able to officially tie the knot today.”

Farago was 19 when he made his debut with Canada’s U-20 team and was in training camp with the men’s national team in 2016. All of this – representing Manitoba, winning locally, playing internationally – are part of his own personal highlight reel. But all of that will be hard to top playing professionally at home.

“Growing up, we never had these opportunities,” said Farago. “Going through the national training centre I was asked, ‘What do you want to do with soccer?’ And my initial response was play pro. Then they said, ‘What are you going to do to make it happen?’ And honestly, I never really had an answer for that.

“Now players don’t have that excuse any more. A pro league is now here in their backyard. It’s a great feeling to be able to finally step foot on home soil in a professional environment and finally play for my city.

“I’ve played in Brazil, England and Ireland,” Farago continued. “I’ve played in Edmonton in an American league. Now to get the opportunity to finally play in a Canadian league for Canadians, by Canadians, it’s a dream come true.”