Farago Ready For Second CPL Chance: ‘I Want To Compete Again’
The past offseason has seen a number of Canadian Premier League goalkeepers step away from the professional game, but one athlete went the other direction: after a year spent unattached to a professional side, Tyson Farago is back in the Canadian Premier League for a second time.
In fact, the former Valour FC goalkeeper made a small bit of Canadian soccer history when he signed for Cavalry this January, becoming the first Canadian Premier League athlete to re-join the league after spending a year outside of it.
Tyson revealed that he’s had his eye on Cavalry FC for some time, having been impressed by Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s Calgary Foothills side from what he saw in his Eddies days. It was after The Island Games that Farago got in contact with the Cavalry FC technical staff, opening discussions with Tommy Wheeldon Jr. and goalkeeper coach Jordan Santiago.
With Niko Giantsopoulos departing for York United in the winter, the side eventually found itself needing new competition for Marco Carducci, and Farago fit the bill.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper arrives to Spruce Meadows having made 17 appearances at the Canadian Premier League level for Valour FC, with Farago having impressed with with WSA Winnipeg (now FC Manitoba), made 22 appearances for FC Edmonton in its NASL era, and enjoyed a short stint overseas with St. Patrick’s Athletic in the League of Ireland, too.
The 29-year-old had what he called a ‘self-discovery year’ in 2020, where he went unattached at the professional level. He kept up with his training, hoping that an opportunity to jump back into professional football would eventually present itself.
It was a weird feeling without a club. I had to just keep calm and understand that there will be another opportunity, and the one thing that I had to concentrate on was keeping myself steady, especially with all that’s going on in the world right now. It was imperative that I had to keep myself focused on what I wanted to do, and then when this opportunity came around it was a no-brainer.Tyson Farago
His new opportunity with Cavalry FC eventually came a long time after Farago found himself released by his hometown club after the inaugural Canadian Premier League season, though he looks back fondly at his days with the Winnipeg-based side. He made 17 CPL appearances across the inaugural CPL season, two of which resulted in clean sheets – a statistic which paints a picture for what was, ultimately, a very tough year for Valour FC.
Reflecting on a season which saw him split goalkeeping duties with Mathias Janssens, Farago believes that enduring a tough campaign is something that has made him a more resilient goalkeeper overall.
What an experience. The first game at home, we had almost 13,000 fans. It was an incredible experience. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and, like with Brazil, England, and the rest of my career, it’s another chapter of learning and getting better as a human being and as a person. It definitely helps build resiliency when you have a tough season like that, and it adds to your repertoire.Tyson Farago
While his arrival to Cavalry FC was met with a relatively polite golf clap from most CPL fans rather than rapturous applause – likely due to Valour FC’s defensive struggles while he was there – Farago arrives with a unique blend of overseas experiences beyond his time in the domestic game.
As a teenager playing with the Manitoba Provincial Team, he spent several weeks in Brazil training with the provincial side. Having been identified by a local scout during his time there, he returned to Brazil shortly afterwards to train with Goias Esporte Clube (the same side Jaco once played for) for a further four months.
He would’ve remained in Brazil longer, he says, but for the need to return home to graduate, compete in the Canada Games, and fulfill a promise to go to England afterwards. In England, Farago trained with non-league side Truro City and later found himself with then-League One side Brighton, with Farago training with the reserve side as the first team went on to win the league.
Playing all over the world has definitely helped shape my game, I’ve picked and prodded at things that I like and I’ve added them to my game, turning it all into ‘Neopolitan skills’. It’s been a wild ride and a great experience, and I’m looking forward to extending it.Tyson Farago
When Farago returned home from England, he played for Winnipeg Juventus in 2011 and won the Manitoba Soccer Association Cup (which he’d won previously with Hellas SC) along with MVP honours. His hot form caught the attention of FC Edmonton, with the NASL side signing him to his first professional deal. Farago spent two seasons as the side’s third choice goalkeeper before breaking through in the club’s final year in the NASL.
The closure of FC Edmonton saw Farago jump back overseas to sign with League of Ireland side St. Patrick’s Athletic, which saw him feature in the Dublin Derby against the Shamrock Rovers. He left the side with only a handful of appearances, but lifelong memories of the full European experience.
It was a really high level, and I learnt so much – especially about the European game and playing in front of flares, a smokey pitch, and crazy fans. It was an awesome experience.Tyson Farago
Returning to Canada, Farago trained with WSA Winnipeg but ultimately went unattached to a professional side in 2018. Of course, the following year saw him picked up by Canadian Premier League side Valour FC ahead of the inaugural Canadian Premier League campaign.
While it was a tough year for the side as a whole, Farago seemed to perform well against his former team, FC Edmonton: his first clean sheet came against the Eddies in the fall campaign, and he followed that up with one of the most statistically-defying good performances in terms of expected goals against versus actual. It’s a statistic that will likely excite Cavalry FC fans, given their Al Classico rivalry with the Eddies.
Upon hearing that, Tyson gave a good laugh, though he was complimentary of the side who hosted him in his NASL days.
Well, obviously I’ll have the Edmonton fixture on my calendar circled. I’ve always loved going back to Clarke Stadium. It brings back a lot of great memories. Obviously, it’s always good to stick it to your old club. But yeah, it brings back great memories and I really enjoyed playing on that field. I’m looking forward to doing it with Cavalry, especially since the rivalry there is ten times greater.Tyson Farago
Through every step of Farago’s career, he’s had to fight hard for every opportunity. At the professional level, it took years for him to break through with FC Edmonton, while St. Patrick’s Athletic only offered him a handful of opportunities and Valour FC saw him split time fairly evenly with Janssens.
Now that his opposition is Marco Carducci – who became the first Canadian Premier League athlete to earn a Canadian national team call-up two years ago – Farago simply wants to get back to routinely competing for a spot.
Embarking on this new journey, you’ve got to look at it as just getting back in the game and competing. The number one thing I want to do is compete again. I missed out on that in 2020. That’s a major thing I want in my life right now. Cavalry FC always creates a conducive environment to competition, so I’m buzzing to get back on the pitch, compete, and push Marco. I’m sure he’ll push me, and we’ll have a great goalkeeper’s union.Tyson Farago
Historically, Cavalry FC has actually offered a fair amount of time for its second choice goalkeeper: Niko Giantsoupolos departed having made ten appearances across two seasons with the side (one of which was, of course, a shortened bubble tournament). This implies that Farago will certainly get his playing opportunities if he impresses in training.
With a second chance to prove himself at the Canadian Premier League level now on the horizon, Farago finds himself counted as one of the many domestic athletes on short-term contracts, living in the moment and taking opportunities as they come.
I don’t think there’s any footballer in the world that wants to get up and move around everywhere. I’d love to be a part of Cavalry’s organization for the long term, of course, though football is a crazy sport and things can change in an instant. I think every footballer plays it year-by-year, and at the end of the year if it works out, it works out. I’m living in the moment right now, and I’m super excited to be joining an excellent club.Tyson Farago
Cavalry FC has currently signed seventeen players ahead of the 2021 Canadian Premier League season, where Tyson finds himself part of a big defensive refresh: with the likes of Dominick Zator, Nathan Mavila, Dean Northover, and Jay Wheeldon all having departed, the side has brought in Dutch defender Daan Klomp, Irish left-back Tom Field, and CF Montreal loanee Karifa Yao to reinforce a backline that only sees Mason Trafford and Mohamed Farsi returning.
Cavalry FC did not disclose if Farago’s contract included any options, simply stating he was joining for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season.