With the NASL & USL fully wrapped up for all Canadian teams, it’s time to begin looking at next year. The Ottawa Fury, with their movement to USL, found themselves with a blank roster that needs to be filled. Contracts do not automatically roll-over as a result of the transfer between leagues, so it is important for the Fury to keep who they can and begin hunting down good players from League1 Ontario (L1O), Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec (PLSQ), and U-Sports (formerly CIS) that’ll be ready to make a USL-debut. Although we aren’t sure of the exact requirements yet, it’s a fair bet that the CSA will require a relatively high Canadian player count.
The Fury began resigning some of their players shortly after their season ended. Carl Haworth, recently announced as part of the Canadian Men’s National Team for their match against South Korea, was their first resigning. It’s a fair bet he will take on the role of Captain for the upcoming USL-season. Bruna is also signed on, giving the Fury 2 forwards at this point in time. Considering how little we were able to watch Bruna play this past season, it’s like the Fury have just signed a new player to the team. We look forward to seeing what he’ll be able to do on the field.
Similarly, they’ve resigned 2 midfielders: Rozeboom & Dixon. The first player, we aren’t too surprised about. Rozeboom has done well with the Fury, but isn’t quite where he wants to be just yet. Additionally, he probably perceives the MLS/USL connection to be a route forward after a year of proving his worth. Dixon on the other hand, that was a shock. I had him pegged at trying to make a go at MLS or moving to Europe over the offseason. The Fury are going to do very well having this Canadian MNT player on their roster in the USL.
Also among midfielders, de Guzman has expressed interest in staying with the Fury according to twitter, but perhaps not as a player. This is also in line with our predictions, especially with Martin Nash’s departure as assistant coach. At one point we had heard rumours of Williams resigning, but with no announcement as of yet, we’ll have to file that back under rumour for now. Early rumours also put Eustaquio & Olivera as moving on, but we’ve yet to see anything official on this yet. It’s too bad because Eustaquio would be a great starter for Fury in USL. We’ll keep our ears & eyes open to see how things develop in the midfield.
Some mixed news with defense. Both Venter & Edward have resigned. They’ll make a good defensive duo from which to build. Alves has decided that playing for the Fury in the USL is not the right fit for him. We’re not surprised that he declined to sign on, but he is quite a loss for Ottawa. We expect to hear a couple more players resigning in this area (Malekos and maybe Porter), but anticipate that the Fury will need to fill out their D & M with a cast of fresh faces.
So far, MacRae has signed back on as keeper. We haven’t really seen enough of the academy product to really say how good he is, but if the Fury plan to be a top-team in the USL, they’ll need someone a step up. De Bellis would be the Fury’s starter if they can get him signed for 2017, and the lad deserves it. When he’s had the chance to play, he’s shown himself a good keeper. Sure, he’s no Peiser, but there’s basically no chance of him returning. If the Fury are unable to grab De Bellis, they’re going to be searching pretty desperately for a keeper for next season.
With 7 of their current players already resigned, Fury fans are starting to get an idea of what we can expect to see in 2017. A few core players will be great to build the team around, but there are going to be a lot of holes that need to be filled. Hopefully Dalglish will be attending the D3-Interprovincial Cup match this weekend in Pickering to scout players from the top L1O & PLSQ teams. Both Vaughan Azzurri and CS Mont-Royal Outremont have developed some great players that may be ready to move over to the USL.
Update Nov 9th: As of earlier this morning, Obasi (D) & Williams (M) are now confirmed for 2017. Definitely some strong players signed on for the USL season. Can’t wait to see who else they resign.