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Vancouver FC sign first player

Goalie Callum Irving is coming home to play for Langley-based team
Vancouver FC announced the signing of free agent goalkeeper Callum Irving on Wednesday, Dec. 14, making the native of Vancouver the first player to ink a deal in club history (Vancouver FC)

Free agent goalkeeper Callum Irving has been signed by Vancouver FC, making the native of Vancouver the first player to ink a deal in club history. The deal was announced Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Irving, 29, began playing soccer at the age of four, advancing through the local youth system with Marpole SC in South Vancouver. He represented the Vancouver Selects for two seasons and spent six years in the Vancouver Whitecaps academy before a collegiate career at the University of Kentucky.

Now a three-year veteran of the Canadian Premier League, Irving began his professional career with the Rio Grande Valley Toros in the United Soccer League. He returned to Canada to represent the Ottawa Fury in the USL in 2016, spending three seasons in the nation’s capital through 2019. Irving was back on the West Coast by February 2020, when he signed with Victoria-based Pacific FC ahead of the CPL’s second season.

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Now, Irving is even closer to home as he joins Langley-based VFC.

“I would like to thank Rob Friend and Afshin Ghotbi for bringing me in as Vancouver FC’s first signing in club history,” said Irving. “I have played across North America and am overjoyed by this opportunity to represent my hometown at the professional level. I look forward to playing my part in introducing the Lower Mainland to the Canadian Premier League and getting to know the community of soccer fans in the area.”

Irving made 69 appearances in all competitions for Pacific FC over three seasons, tied with forward Terran Campbell for most career appearances with the club. His 22 career clean sheets are a franchise record, and his 12 clean sheets in all competitions in 2022 set the club’s single-season mark.

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“Callum is a proven talent in the league, who understands the demands required of a goalkeeper at this level,” said Afshin Ghotbi, Head Coach, Vancouver FC. “A premier shot stopper who excels at being quick off his line, Callum will provide our club with exactly the kind of stability a new team needs between the posts.”

Irving led all CPL goalkeepers with 249 recoveries and 856 passes in 2022. He tied with Atlético Ottawa’s Nathan Ingham for the most punches (blocking) by a CPL goalkeeper last season and finished second among league netminders with 68 saves. The performance earned Irving a nomination for the CPL’s annual Golden Glove award, his second finalist nod in three years.

“We are thrilled to announce our first signing in club history, as we look forward to playing our inaugural season in 2023,” said Rob Friend, CEO, Vancouver FC. “I am proud to introduce Callum as a Vancouver FC player, both because of his ability on the field as well as his leadership off it. ”

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