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Pacific FC off-season: player and salary changes for next season

Big names on their way out, club freezes season ticket prices
Fans packed into the stadium, over 4,600, to witness Pacific FC play against C.S. Herediano during their CONCACAF round of 16 tie at Starlight Stadium on Aug. 16. (Black Press Media file photo)

Pacific FC has had a busy beginning to the off-season, with plenty of comings and goings and a league-wide pay bump for players.

On the field

Retiring club captain Jamar Dixon is moving from his position on the field into one in the club’s front office, taking on the role of manager of football and player development. The job will involve supporting the first team as well as working to develop local youth players through the Vancouver Island Wave program – where Dixon has coached before.

“I could have thought about continuing, but I think I would be able to offer more if I stepped away from the game. I will be able to help players that are coming to the club, new players, I can help with explaining what the culture is, and doing all the little things creates a better environment all around, and the standard then rises. That’s what I want. I want Pacific to continue to win championships.”

The team announced they were re-signing three important players for the upcoming season. Home crowd favourite Josh Heard, one-half of the ‘Flying Dutchmen’ Djenairo Daniels and relative new boy Cedric Toussaint are all set to play at Starlight Stadium again next season.

Heading in the opposite direction, defenders Jordan Haynes and Nathan Mavila and midfielders Matteo Polisi, Umaro Balde and Luca Ricci are all leaving the club.

Another player potentially heading for the exit is the diminutive talisman Marco Bustos, who is training with MLS side Toronto FC. Formerly of Vancouver Whitecaps, the playmaker trained with the team for four sessions as an “opportunity to get to know each other more,” according to the CPL. Bustos was not available for an interview.

Off the field

The Canadian Premier League has upped the minimum salary for players and the overall salary cap for the whole team.

The player minimum salary has been increased by 36 per cent to $30,000 for the 2023 season, with the total salary cap increased by $175,000 to a maximum spend of $1.125 million. The minimum spend has also been bumped to $750,000, a 15 per cent increase from 2022. Some of that money can be claimed back with a league-wide incentive program to sign under-21 players, whereby only 50 per cent of an under-21 player’s salary counts toward the salary budget cap, up to $100,000 of relief.

“We absolutely support the increased salary cap. It’s another indication that this league is solid and stable and it’s here to stay, and it’s starting to deliver on its promise. Last season, we had a player that we were able to sell to another league. We’re unashamedly a development league and a development club – we see it as part of our reason for being, to develop players and then to unleash them into the world. So the new salary framework will allow us to do that,” said Paul Beirne, managing director of Pacific FC.

While salary costs will be up, the club announced they will not raise prices on season tickets for 2023.

“It’s still a difficult business, we still have all of our expenses going up because of supply chain issues and because of inflation, and because of just the way of the world. But at the same time, we as a club decided that we don’t want to be part of that problem in people’s lives, we don’t want to be the thing that they feel like they have to stop doing because of all the other rising costs in their lives.”

Beirne added he wanted to maintain the legion of loyal supporters who have bought tickets from the beginning but said there’s lots of room to expand.

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