YEAR IN REVIEW: Valour’s Gale looking to ‘unite and ignite’ Manitoba soccer community

With HFX Wanderers, York9 FC, and Cavalry FC announced, CPL officials turned their attention to Winnipeg.

Valour FC was confirmed as the fifth CPL club on June 5 in front of supporters at the club’s home, Investors Group Field.



Wade Miller, the club’s president and CEO, was joined by CPL commissioner David Clanachan in introducing the club to the city, unveiling its crest and speaking to supporters.

“Winnipeg boasts one of Canada’s top sporting communities.

“It’s going to be amazing to see the community rally around the club and elevate soccer in the region for generations to come,” Clanachan said.

Valour FC coach Rob Gale. (CPL)

Twenty days later, Gale was unveiled as the club’s first head coach.

The former Canadian under-20 national team coach and technical director for the Manitoba Soccer Association signed a three-year deal with his hometown club.

“We want to unite and then ignite the soccer community here, give them exposure to something,” Gale said.

August 2018

Valour FC dipped its toes into the youth game in August, announcing the club will field an elite girls side.

The Valour FC Elite Girls program was opened to players 14 to 17 years of age.

Their competition season runs from November-April.

October 2018

Winnipeg jump
Winnipeg trialists complete physical testing. (CPL)

The #GotGame Open Trials rolled through Winnipeg on Oct. 18-19, giving players a chance to impress CPL bosses.

According to Gale, more than 85% of the trialists at Investors Group Field were from Manitoba.

November 2018

Skylar Thomas reveal
Skylar Thomas. (CPL)

On Nov. 29, Valour FC unveiled its first signing: Skylar Thomas. The powerful 6-foot-3 centreback, who was picked 11th overall by Toronto FC in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, previously played for Toronto FC II and the Charleston Battery.

Valour FC went local with the second pick in the inaugural CPL-U SPORTS Draft, selecting Winnipeg-native Dylan Carreiro. The talented York University midfielder had spells at Dundee United in Scotland and Queen’s Park Rangers in England before returning to Canada.

Rob Gale and co. wrapped up their draft by picking two Cape Breton products; second-year defender Lewis White (13th overall) and second-year midfielder Jack Simpson (16th overall).

December 2018

Stephen Hoyle
Stephen Hoyle (L).

On Dec. 11, English striker Stephen Hoyle was announced as the club’s first international signing. The 26-year-old comes to the club from Canterbury United of the New Zealand Premiership.

Gale didn’t have to look far for his next two signings. Goalkeeper Tyson Farago and midfielder Dylan Sacramento, both Winnipeg natives, were brought in later that week, bringing Valour FC’s roster tally up to four heading into 2019.

Farago is best known for his four seasons between the sticks for FC Edmonton (NASL). The 27-year-old Winnipegger returns home after spending most of the 2018 season with St. Patrick’s Athletic of the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Sacramento is fresh off of an MVP-winning season with Vaughan Azzurri in League1 Ontario. The technically-gifted forward scored 14 goals in 14 appearances en route to winning the league championship.

The 23-year-old’s childhood home is steps from Valour Rd., the club’s namesake.