Winnipegger Federico Pena Re-Signs With Valour FC
Winnipeg-based side Valour FC has re-signed 21-year-old utility player Federico Pena for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season.
The versatile player will join Rob Gale for a third year running, with the versatile Trinidad-born athlete having been deployed as both a defender and a wing-back on both sides of the pitch.
This year saw Pena appear in all but one Island Games match for Valour FC, with the youngster having also received a red card for a hard challenge which was overturned prior to the final match of the season.
All-told, the youngster impressed Valour FC head coach Rob Gale with his growth leading up to and throughout the PEI-based bubble tournament:
Federico has shown terrific improvement in the previous year. He has all of the tools to succeed in the Canadian Premier League. He’s hardworking, enthusiastic and has a bright future ahead of him. We’re delighted to welcome back another Manitoban who will play in front of his home crowd in 2021.Rob Gale
Given that Rob Gale had made mention of Pena’s growth under the tutelage of Arnold Bouka Moutou two weeks ago, this re-signing doesn’t come as a surprise. When the veteran left-back was injured, the gaffer asked Pena to step up to the plate – and by all accounts, he succeeded in doing so.
Now having represented the city he grew up in fourteen times overall, Gale says a big influence in his re-signing came due to his physical fitness, composure, and situational awareness.
I saw him maturing and growing as a person and as a player this past season. We always knew he has the technical ability – he’s like Raph Ohin in that he can juggle and do all kinds of tricks – and it’s amazing to see now that he’s slowed himself down how he is growing tactically.Rob Gale
The 21-year-old won’t be only inaugural Valour FC member to re-sign with the side, with the club having confirmed the return of Raphael Ohin this October. After overseeing a successful roster rebuild earlier this year, head coach Rob Gale has now changes focus to ensuring continuity: the club has now re-signed ten players from its Island Games roster, with 2020 additions like Arnold Bouka Moutou, Moses Dyer, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Stefan Cebara, Brett Levis, Amir Soto, Masta Kacher, and Austin Ricci all returning.
Veteran Spanish midfielder Jose Galan is on a verbal agreement to return, which would mean another returning inaugural roster addition for a side which came one match away from qualifying for its first-ever CPL postseason this year.
For Pena, he was simply happy to showcase the improvements to his technical ability during his time in Charlottetown:
There’s a time and place for everything. That was the aspect of my game I wanted to work on more, but that comes with more experience and more games. Fortunately I got that at the Island Games. I feel fortunate I got the chance to showcase a bit of my abilities, because I think I could still give a lot more.Federico Pena
In terms of outbound roster moves, it appears unlikely that James Pantemis will be loaned back to Valour FC following an impressive showing in Major League Soccer with his parent club, the Montreal Impact. The MLS side confirmed it was retaining his services last week.
Valour FC has confirmed the departure of Dylan Carreiro, who was linked with York9 FC before the play lambasted both clubs on social media following his return to Toronto. With the captain departed, the Valour FC front office found it important to have a Winnipegger rostered with the side.
I remember a little bit about Trinidad, but I consider myself a real Winnipegger. I really grew up here. I was formed here, I guess, through all my adolescent years. I’m very attached to the city. My whole family is here, all my friends are year, I went to school here at Glenlawn. This is my city and I’m very proud to play for Valour and represent the city I’m from.Federico Pena
Valour FC did not disclose the length or financial details of Pena’s contract.