‘A Lifetime Bond’: Valour Assistant Coach Damian Rocke Says Goodbye
When Valour FC announced that former team captain Daryl Fordyce was stepping into an assistant coach role last week, the club didn’t name its previous assistant coach Damian Rocke amongst those retained. His departure was confirmed tonight, with Rocke posting a farewell message online – though it looks like he’ll be staying in Manitoba.
Rocke, who was born and raised in Winnipeg, had held the position of Valour’s assistant coach since March 2019, a duty in which he balanced with an assistant general manager position as well. A former member of the Manitoba Soccer Association Technical committee, he’s been coaching since his university days in 1997.
He assisted former head coach Rob Gale through the first two-and-a-half years of the club’s history, and spent one-and-a-half seasons under Phillip Dos Santos before departing ahead of the 2023 CPL season.
Here’s what Rocke said online:
“To the Valour army, my family, and friends: above all else, I was fiercely proud to have the opportunity to represent you, our city, and Valour FC. Our shared passion for Valour will be a lifetime bond.”
“Valour FC’s foundation and symbolism is a unique Winnipeg / Manitoba story. We are fortunate as a club to have such an authentic identity. I can only thank all off you: the fans, Red River Rising, and the many friends and family who I looked forward to saluting after each match for our energy and support. You will find me in the stadium this season. I will be there alongside you, supporting our club, Valour FC.”
The 2023 Canadian Premier League season will see Phillip Dos Santos lead the team into a fifth campaign where reaching playoffs will be the big ticket goal, with the club retaining assistant coach and video analyst Jay Bhindi along with goalkeeper coach Patrick De Stefani, the latter of whom is the only original coaching staff member to remain from 2019.
Valour has come close to playoffs in the past, and the club hasn’t been afraid to change up the player roster in a bid to make history. The team is set to unveil a new goalkeeper on Monday, with these month seeing the club add Dante Campbell and Jared Ulloa, too.
Rocke, who graduated from Cornell University, had previously worked in the investment business with Pavillion Financial Corporation. It’s unclear whether his next career steps will remain in professional football or in the financial world.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques