Winnipeg-based Valour FC is hopeful that veteran forward Daryl Fordyce of Belfast, Northern Ireland, will be part of a much-improved offence in 2020 for the team’s second season in the Canadian Premier League (CPL).
Fordyce brings some impressive credentials to the mix for Valour coach and general manager Rob Gale. The 33-year-old played for five seasons with FC Edmonton from 2013 to 2017 in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and remains the all-time leading scorer in that franchise’s history with 30 goals in 110 appearances.
“Daryl brings a wealth of experience of playing in North America. He will add leadership and a proven attacking quality,” Gale said in a news release announcing the signing. “Despite offers from Europe, Daryl showed a great desire to return to Canada, and we are delighted.”
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Fordyce joins a Valour squad that won just eight of 28 regular-season games during its inaugural season in the CPL. A lack of timely scoring was a major factor in Valour’s performance that season as the Winnipeg team was shut out in nine of those 28 games, scoring just 30 goals overall.
But Fordyce told media on a conference call that he’s not concerned about any of that.
“Every team has their struggles; they also have their triumphs. Me, as a person, I love a challenge. I put my foot and head down to it and get on with it,” Fordyce said.
“Anything can happen in soccer. There’s always the things you’re not going to do too well. I always look back and who’d ever thought Leicester City would have won the Premier League? I’ve seen a couple of things on Twitter, a lot of people have written Valour off already. As long as there’s professionalism and everybody sticks together, you always have a chance at anything.”
While Fordyce has no previous experience with Gale, his new soccer boss, he does have a connection to Valour through goalkeeper Tyson Farago, who was Fordyce’s former teammate during his time in Edmonton. The veteran forward played in Sligo, Ireland last year in the Irish Premier Division with former Canadian U20 and U23 team member Kris Twardek.
“Kris couldn’t speak highly enough of Rob. Once I had that chat with Kris and I spoke to Rob, I got off the phone and I had a good feeling,” said Fordyce, who began his pro career in Portsmouth, England back in 2005.
“I said to my wife, ‘I’m excited. I like working with professional people.’”
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Fordyce is also looking forward to his first-ever trip to his new home in Winnipeg, especially since obtaining permanent Canadian residency for him and his wife Tina back in June 2017.
“I always do my research, just to make sure everything’s cool for my family. It didn’t take me long to see the facilities. It’s not going to be any different to Edmonton or any other place I’ve been,” he said. “I’m very adaptive no matter where I go. I made many appearances for Edmonton, it was the NASL then, different climates — you’re playing in Florida, you’re playing in Edmonton. It’s not going to be strange for me when I set foot on the pitch for Valour.”
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