Pacific FC In For Massive Squad Shake-Up Ahead of 2020 Season
When York9 FC gaffer Jim Brennan stated that many players in the Canadian Premier League were now playing for their jobs, few would have guessed how deeply those words would resonate around the league. After sacking Pacific FC head coach Michael Silbeabauer just hours ago, PFC CEO Rob Friend revealed that he’s prepared for a massive squad shake-up that could see half of the current roster shown the door.
Speaking with CPL editorial staffer Martin Bauman earlier today, Friend revealed that he believes many of the Pacific FC players have grown complacent as the inaugural CPL season has worn on. The entire point of Silberbauer being shown the door ahead of the offseason, he says, was to drive home the point that nobody’s job was safe. As he put it, ‘if you’re not working, if you’re not performing, the next guy’s in line’ – and there ought to be nothing more motivating than hearing that ahead of tomorrow’s season closer against Valour FC.
Whatever happens tomorrow, Friend isn’t making small talk about small moves: he’s ready to change half the club’s current roster for the 2020 season, after all. While he has a core group of players in mind, the turnover rate for players who find themselves on the fringes will be high:
I think we have a really strong foundation of young players that are coming back next season, but I can probably say that half the squad may end up leaving. And then we need to build a better squad, based on our foundation and our philosophy. So, we’re excited about the players we have going into next season, and we’re excited about adding the right puzzle pieces to be better. Again, I think we have a clearer picture of what that looks like now.Rob Friend
With the Canadian Premier League keeping quiet about contract lengths, there’s no telling how many players are currently on one-year contracts – but we’d guess it’s a lot, especially given that Friend is confident in saying that half of the club’s 22-man roster may be on the way out.
Friend had previously announced two new player signings for Pacific FC, though neither of them came to fruition. It’s still not clear what happened with them, though the club was able to bring in David Norman Jr. on a one-month loan from the Whitecaps shortly afterwards.
Of course, he’s not the only Pacific FC player currently on loan: Blake Smith was brought in on a season-long loan from FC Cincinnati to fill in for Marcel de Jong, who ruptured his Achilles tendon prior to the league kicking off in April. Come the end of the season, that leaves the west coast club with 20 players on the books, with only half of that amount expected to remain. That’s a lot of turnover.
To that end, Rob doesn’t want his club known as the side with a revolving door. He says the hunt for a new head coach will be a patient one, and emphasized that Silberbauer’s firing wasn’t a reactive decision. Pacific FC assistant coach James Merriman will be filling in for Silberbauer on an interim basis, with Friend indicating that Pacific FC will seek out a head coach who will be a better fit for the club’s philosophy.
So, what exactly is that philosophy? As per Friend himself, it’s an identity revolving around young talent – something that the club will continue to sign in the offseason. The sixth-placed club currently has the youngest average age in the league, and that’s something Friend is proud of. The new coach will need to work well with youngsters, with the caveat that there still needs to be leadership figures to help steer the ship when matches threaten to turn sour.
Whatever 2020 brings, Pacific FC fans appear to be in for a lot of changes. If this is indicative of the amount of turnover fans might see among the other six Canadian Premier League clubs, the offseason will be quite a hectic experience – though so far none of the other clubs have implied that such drastic changes will be on the cards.
Source: Canadian Premier League