Mekideche On CPL, MLS, And What’s Next
While Vaour fans had hoped to see Nassim Mekideche extend his stay at IG Field, the Canadian-Algerian centre-back made his next move stateside with Sporting Kansas City II, where he’s inked an MLS NEXT Pro contract.
His transition to the MLS pipeline isn’t a shock to those who watched his ten CPL appearances last year, where he helped trim down Valour’s average goals against from 1.47 to 0.62.
Reflecting on his time in the CPL following a training session in Arizona, Mekideche is grateful to the Winnipeg-based side for giving him the opportunity to showcase himself.
“Honestly, I liked it very much. I was getting off from an injury before Valour, and the coach gave me the confidence to show my quality in the field. It was a very good experience, it was a new challenge for me. I gave everything for the club and for the team for my teammates. I think for every young player, like me, it’s very good.”
Mekideche had arrived to Valour as a mid-summer reinforcement, with Philip Dos Santos describing him as a young athlete with the potential to be one of the best centre-backs in the league. He showed good defensive awareness and a good eye for a pass, ultimately impressing on his first playing stint in Canada.
“When I went to Valour, I wanted to get games, get minutes, and to take some good steps. For every young player, honestly, it’s the best thing to do.”
“The league is a new championship with very good players and very good quality, and you get the confidence and get help for you future. I played three years in Algeria, I got the experience and I wanted new challenge. I wanted good facilities and everything you have to work on the field, and to discover a new championship. I liked it very much.”
Following the 2022 Canadian Premier League season, it wasn’t long before his agent rang him up and told him that an opportunity with Sporting Kansas City had arisen. They liked what they saw during his stint with Valour and wanted him to come in for a closer look.
For a player who made six appearances in three years with Algerian side JS Kabylie and four with Tunisian outfit CS-Hammam-Lif in 2021, the bountiful minutes at Valour had allowed him to showcase himself in a highly visible manner, and clubs had taken notice.
Things moved quickly after that, with Mekideche trialing with the MLS outfit for two weeks before ultimately landing an MLS NEXT Pro contract with SKC, opening a potential pathway tothe first team he had been training with.
Last year saw Mohamed Farsi use that same pathway to land a first team contract with Columbus Crew, with Mekideche hoping to put his best foot forward and follow suit. While SKC II finished eighth in the eastern conference last year, there is hope that the team can make large improvements in 2023.
“We want to win the championship and have our players in the first team. I’m always looking forward, and I’m gonna do my best. I’m always giving 100% on the field and I’ll get ready for my chance,” adds Mekideche.
The 22-year-old centre-back was born in Canada, but has Algerian heritage through both of his parents. While he prefers to focus on his club football ahead of any potential national team interest, he notes that his present opportunities were ones that simply weren’t available to him when he grew up in Quebec – that’s why he left to start his professional career in Algeria.
“The Canadian league, it’s very young, but it’s very top. I think it’s going to get bigger, and I think in the future it’s going to be a very big league. You can look at the transfers now, there’s a lot of good coming from the league.”