Pacific FC has drafted two young defenders in the 2023 Canadian Premier League draft.
PFC picked Eric Lajeunesse, 19, with the sixth-overall pick. Lajeunesse is a first-year at UBC and was a key part of the Thunderbirds’ run to the 2022 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship.
“Eric is a left-footed central defender with good size at six-foot-two. He plays with composure, plays simple on the ball and has good potential,” PFC head coach James Merriman said in a statement. “Eric started in all 22 matches for UBC this season in his first year. This shows his consistency and importance to the team.”
With its second pick of the draft (13th overall) Pacific selected Brandon Torresan, 19, of Trinity Western University. Torresan, from North Vancouver, can play both as a centre-back and left-back.
“Brandon is a player I know very well. He has good versatility, can play in multiple positions, and has good technique. He’s left-footed and can also play left back, which is a position we are looking at for him,” said Merriman. “I coached Brandon for many years in Vancouver and know he is very competitive and will come and fight for his opportunities.”
Both Lajeunesse and Torresan previously spent time with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy. The pair will join the team for its pre-season training ahead of the 2o23 in the hopes of getting signed to the roster.
One of last year’s draft picks Luca Ricci was signed to a deal with the team, making seven appearances in all competitions.
The club also announced earlier this week that goalkeeper Callum Irving would be headed in the opposite direction of Lajeunesse and Torresan, signing up with newly formed CPL club Vancouver FC. Irving played three seasons with the club, winning the CPL with the team in 2021, and twice being nominated for the league’s goalkeeper of the year award.
The club already has another shot-stopper waiting in the wings, with youngster Emil Gazdov re-signed to a contract earlier in the off-season.
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