Halifax Wanderers Sign Dalhousie Goalkeeper Rushenas
The Halifax Wanderers are now fully roster compliant with the addition of a second goalkeeper.
Filling in behind Yan Fillion will be 19-year-old U SPORTS draft pick Aiden Rushenas, who was the club’s second round first overall pick in the 2023 CPL-U SPORTS Draft.
Rushenas is a familiar to the team after featuring for the Wanderers U-23 squad squad last year and partaking in several first team training sessions. The youngster had also trained with the North Toronto Nitros in League1 Ontario before enlisting with Dalhousie, where his debut season saw him finish as the league leader in saves and third-highest in save percentage with 0.827.
“We had him with our keeper coach Jan-Michael Williams last year, and he has massive upside,” Gheisar said of Rushenas. “He has great feet, which suits our style, has great size and agility and in my conversations with him, I was impressed by Aiden’s attitude.”
“Aiden came into pre-season and put his best foot forward in everything he did and responded great on the field to what we asked of him,” said Gheisar of the club’s new signing. “He’s worked hard to get where he is, training with the team since last season, playing U-23. He’s always working hard to improve and asking for feedback.”
Rushenas is untested at the professional level, and is expected to serve as a backup behind the more experienced Yan Fillion. He rode the bench for one match against York United last season, with the club moving on from rostered goalkeepers Christian Oxner and Kieran Baskett following a tough 2022 campaign that led to the sacking of Stephen Hart.
Given that CPL teams are required to have two goalkeepers on the master roster, it remains to be seen what the club will do when Rushenas is presumably called back to duty with Dalhousie University in the fall.
With Dalhousie, Rushenas led AUS in saved made and was named the Tigers’ MVP after recording a league-leading 81 stops in 12 appearances.
“We take drafting a player very seriously,” Gheisar said. “And then you add in that Aiden comes to us from down the street at Dalhousie, and it’s very idealistic of that vision. He’s enthusiastic, has a lot of energy, and most importantly, he fits in with the group.”
Rushenas is the fourth domestic U-21 player to join the team, behind Armaan Wilson, Tiago Coimbra, and Tomas Giraldo.
“It’s great to see all my work paying off, and I’m so happy that the club has put faith in me to be a part of this team,” added RUshenas himself. “It’s also nice to represent an Atlantic school, my mom was born and raised in Lower Sackville, and I have a lot of Dal alumni in my family.”
The Halifax Wanderers will kick off their first season of the Patrice Gheisar era with an away match against Atletico Ottawa on April 15.
Header Image Photo Credit: Nick Pearce