Guelph United Lands Zach Ellis-Hayden
Barbados international Zach Ellis-Hayden – who turned heads aplenty when he signed in League1 Ontario with Electric City FC last year – has made a move to Guelph United.
The 31-year-old was a marquee signing for the league last season, joining a highly-touted expansion side and making sixteen appearances for ECFC while getting an international nod for a Concacaf Nations League tilt with the Bajan Tridents.
There had been many who thought that Ellis-Hayden would be destined for the Canadian Premier League, with the full-back having accrued six seasons in the USL Championship before landing in Ontario’s semi-professional division. He’d featured regularly for the likes of Orlando City B, Fresno FC, and Oklahoma City Energy, who he left after the club embarked on a year-long hiatus whilst its stadium was constructed.
Guelph United stormed to a League1 Ontario championship during its first season in 2021, with former CPL athletes like Jace Kotsopoulos and Tomasz Skublak and high-profile L1O talents like Syvatik Artemenko and Alex Zis helping the side to victory.
The club fell to a seventh place finish last year, with some of its stars now moving on: Skublak has signed with Scrosoppi FC, while Kotsopoulos is set to help childhood club Burlington SC land in League1 Ontario’s top flight next year.
Related: Promotion and Relegation Coming To League1 Ontario
Make no mistake about it: Zachary Ellis-Hayden remains a marquee addition to League1 Ontario, and Guelph United have secured themselves one of the top talents in the league with his acquisition.
Hayden isn’t the only former pro to have left Peterborough pastures after the Electric City FC’s inaugural campaign, with forward Jordan Brown having spent the latter portion of the 2022 CPL season with Pacific FC, and Zak Drake recently completing a trial with Vancouver FC. It also saw goalkeeper Eleias Himaras turn professional with York United last year.
His time with ECFC wasn’t his first club experience in Canada, with Ellis-Hayden having won the 2015 USL PDL Championship with Kitchener-Waterloo United FC before taking his first professional steps with Orlando City.
While the move is a big gain for Guelph, it’s a big loss for Peterborough – especially after the club’s inaugural season that didn’t quite meet the lofty expectations pitched by former club President Rob Jenkins, who had a quiet but confusing departure midway throughout it.
Guelph United has also confirmed a number of returning players, wit Jack Sears, Parm Johal, Marko Maletic, Gray Yates, Amardo Oakley, and Jared Agyemang – who won defensive player of the year – all returning.