Pre season training for Ottawa Fury FC got underway on February 16 (Family Day) in a frozen capital city. While most of us were trying to stay warm, wrapped in blankets sipping tea and watching Netflix in a -40 deep freeze, the squad got down to work at TD Place in the heart of the city. Coach Marc Dos Santos didn’t hide the fact that some players from the previous year would not make it into the 2015 squad, and so it was no surprise that he made some moves and brought in some new faces during the off season. However, he knows the importance of a core group of players and that’s why we have seen around 70% of the team returning to Landsdowne Stadium. Here are the returning faces and what they bring to the team.
Richie Ryan– The experienced captain and anchor in the midfield returns. Ryan played nearly every game with the Fury last season. His only goal came at home against Minnesota United. He’s a proven leader on the pitch and off and is a vital presence in front of the defenders in the midfield.
Mason Trafford– Trafford secured his spot in the team last year by signing a 2-year contract with the Fury. The Canadian defender is consistent and played the most minutes with the team. He played almost every minute of every game last season and was rock solid on the back line. Most often, he was paired with fellow Canadian Drew Beckie and the two worked well together.
Drew Beckie– Drew Beckie joined the team as an experienced defender from the reserve team of the Columbus Crew in the MLS. Most often paired with Trafford in the middle of the back line, Beckie proved to be a consistently hard working defender. It will be great to have the pair back in the defensive line up this season.
Omar Jarun– One of the more experienced players on the Fury, Jarun took some time out from the team to participate in the AFC Challenge with the Palestinian National Team and helped them along to win the tournament. At 6’4”, Jarun is a big presence in the back line for the Fury. He provides some physical force for the team and has proven to be one of the squad’s toughest players. We hope to see him start more consistently for the team this year.
Ryan Richter– Richter came to the Fury on loan from Toronto FC last year. His future with the club seemed uncertain at times as TFC would call him back into action on a couple of occasions. However, in late January, Ottawa Fury FC secured the defender as he signed a contract for the season. Richter is a tough presence in the back line and plays with poise and composure. It will be nice to see him as a regular in the squad.
Nicki Paterson– The Scottish midfielder did not get off to a great start last season. He missed all of the spring season with an injury and only appeared with the team in for the fall season. He is a strong physical force but can get a bit aggressive as he collected 5 yellow cards in just 17 appearances form the team. But he is very strong on the ball and offers good support for the forwards. It will be interesting to see what he can do at full strength for a full NASL season.
Tommy Heinemann– Heinemann was another player who had a rough start last season. He sat out the first part of the spring season with an injury and continued the season at less than full strength. Coach Marc Dos Santos has already said that he has never seen Heinemann in better shape so expect more from the big forward this season. Tommy was a consistent scorer, racking up 6 goals in 18 games played.
Sinisa Ubiparipovic– Having played with both the New York Red Bulls and the Montreal Impact in the MLS, Ubiparipovic is one of the squad’s more experienced players. Playing in the midfield, he has good vision with the ball and links well with the forwards to be a great support to the strikers. It will be great to have his experience back in the line up this season.
Mauro Eustaquio– The youngest of last year’s squad, Eustaquio did not earn much playing time but made good use of it when he got the opportunity. It was great to see such a young Canadian talent feeling comfortable in the team and with the level of play in the league. He seemed very mature and confident and had good vision on and off the ball. Hopefully the youngster can prove himself more this year and become a regular starter.
Philippe Davies– Davies may be young, but the midfielder has already logged a considerable amount of time with the Vancouver Whitecaps at the PDL, USL, NASL, and MLS levels. A versatile player, he played various positions for the Fury last season but seems to naturally play as a midfielder. It will be interesting to see what role he settles into this season.
Oliver– Another young player, the Brazilian was a force as a winger. He tallied 7 goals in 22 games played with the Fury. A fan favourite, Oliver brought a passion for the game and energy with him whenever he stepped onto the pitch. Ottawa is grateful to have him back this season.
Carl Haworth– The local boy of last year’s Fury team, fans were already familiar with Haworth, as he had played the previous season with the Ottawa Fury in the PDL and lead the league in assists. Playing an attacking role on the NASL side, Haworth had good vision and supported the strikers well, while netting a few goals for himself.
Romuald Peiser– The French goalkeeper came to the Fury in the Fall season last year. It was a surprise to many as previous keeper Devala Gorrick was seen as a strong starting keeper for the team. Peiser quickly proved his worth as a more experienced keeper and took over as regular netminder for the remainder of the season. With Gorrick not returning this year, Peiser has secured the starting position.
Marcel DeBellis-When the Fury acquired Peiser in the Fall season last year, DeBellis found himself in the position of being a non-starting goalkeeper on a team with 4 in total. DeBellis did not play any games with the Fury, but coach Marc Dos Santos has commented that he likes what he sees in the young keeper’s training and development.