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Cavalry FC signings – Calgary’s Canadian Premier League soccer club building roster for inaugural season

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Updated March 13, 2019 – Cavalry FC, Calgary’s new professional soccer team, has started signing players for its first roster in preparation for the inaugural season of the Canadian Premier League. The new soccer league’s first season is set to kickoff April 2019.

Check out the growing list of Cavalry FC players and their stories below:

  • March 2019 – Malyk Hamilton, Jay Wheeldon
  • February 2019 – Joel Waterman, Julian Büscher, Nathan Mavila and Mason Trafford
  • January 2019 – Jordan Brown, Oliver Minatel, Nico Pasquotti, Carlos Patino, Dean Northover and Niko Giantsopolous 
  • December 2018 – Marco Carducci, Chris Serban, Elijah Adekugbe and Dominick Zator
  • November 2018 – Nik Ledgerwood and Sergio Camargo

March 2019

Jay Wheeldon – Centre back

Jay Wheeldon is the brother of Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Cavalry FC head coach and general manager. He played under his brother with Calgary Foothills FC in the Premier Development League (now USL League Two) from 2015 to 2018. The brothers won the PDL championship with Foothills FC in 2018.

“I have the unique privilege to sign Jay to the Cavalry as we embark on the next exciting chapter of developing the Canadian pyramid,” said Wheeldon Jr. via a club statement Wednesday. “He has been pivotal in the growth of what we achieved with Calgary Foothills FC and a player who is a born leader, with an excellent technical base and high tactical understanding of the game. When he’s playing, it’s as though we have another coach on the field to marshal the troops.”

Malyk Hamilton – Forward

Malyk Hamilton, 19, spent his childhood playing for Calgary minor league clubs South West United and Calgary Foothills. He moved to England to join West Ham United Academy when he was 13-years-old. Hamilton spent 8 years in London before returning to Canada in 2018 to sign with Toronto FC II, Toronto FC’s reserve team. He has represented Canada at youth levels.

The CPL was built for players like Malyk, Canadians who have talent and a hunger to play professionally but just need the right platform to express themselves on,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr. Cavalry FC head coach. “Supporters will be impressed with his exciting speed, creativity and no fear approach to the game – especially as he is one of their own local players returning home to play for the City. What’s even more exciting is that he has so much potential to be an incredible player if he continues to put the work in.”

February 2019

Mason Trafford – Centre back

Cavalry FC, Mason Trafford

Cavalry FC signing Mason Trafford. Photo courtesy Cavalry FC

Mason Trafford, 32, spent two seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps from 2008 when the club was in United Soccer League. After spending time in Finland and China, he returned to Canada to play for Ottawa Fury FC in the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 2014. Trafford played two seasons with the Fury, winning the NASL Fall Championship title in 2015. Trafford then moved on to Miami FC for two years.

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Mason is a serial winner that has won championships in the USL and NASL that adds great experience, leadership and quality to our back line,” said Cavalry head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “He is one of the best left sided Canadian centre backs in the Country.”

Nathan Mavila – Full-back

Nathan Mavila, 23, has spent time with Wycombe Wanderers academy and West Ham United’s U23 team. He has most recently played for Leyton Orient, in the English fifth tier, and Dulwich FC, in the English sixth tier.

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Nathan is an exciting young talent with pedigree that has lightening pace and a terrific left foot,” said Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “He fit the profile of the modern day left back we were looking for and another exciting young import who has his best years ahead of him”.

Julian Büscher – Midfielder

Julian Büscher, 25, will come to Calgary after a season in the United Soccer League (USL) with LA Galaxy II, LA Galaxy’s reserve team. Prior to that he spent two seasons with Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, which included a loan spell with USL’s Rochester Rhinos.

Julian’s signing is a coup for us,” said Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. via a club statement Wednesday. “He’s a former German youth international who’s had great experience this side of the water in the MLS.”

Joel Waterman – Midfielder

Waterman, 23, is another Calgary Foothills FC alumnus, having won the 2018 Premier Development League(now the USL League Two) championship with current Cavalry FC head coach and general manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

 

“Joel is our first U SPORTS draft player that we’ve signed to a professional contract,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr, via a club statement. “He’s making some good history here. He’s a great competitor and a versatile player that is equally comfortable playing centrally in midfield or at the back, which gives us good depth and quality in the squad. Joel is the type of player and character that can come here, develop his game and help us grow a competitive culture.”

January 2019

Jordan Brown – Forward

Jordan Brown, 22, joins Calgary’s new professional soccer team from SC Znojmo FK, of the Czech second division.

Brown began his professional career with the Premier League’s West Ham – making a single substitute appearance for the London club in a Europa League qualifying round match in 2015. He eventually joined Germany’s Hanover 96 II, Hanover 96’s reserve team, before signing with SC Znojmo.

“Jordan is a really exciting player for our club and the Canadian Premier League,” said Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “He’s had an excellent development path at some respected European clubs. As a young player in England’s U17 team, he was highly touted as one to watch for the future and we still believe that. He’s the type of centre forward we’ve been looking for, a different (sic) maker that’s young, pacey and clinical with his finishing.”

Nico Pasquotti – Forward

“Nico (Pasquotti) is a really exciting player that adds exceptional pace and drive to our team,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Head Coach & General Manager, Cavalry FC. “He’s someone who will excite the fans and inspire his teammates.”

Carlos Patino – Midfielder

“Carlos (Patino) is technically very good. He has a great passing range that creates a ton of goal scoring opportunities,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Head Coach & General Manager, Cavalry FC. “He adds versatility to our attacking depth and is one of the hardest working players I’ve seen.”

Dean Northover – Fullback

“Dean (Northover) is a terrific player and should have been playing professionally before now,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Head Coach & General Manager, Cavalry FC. via a club statement. “Having worked with him for 5-plus years now, he is a very consistent player with exceptional control and 1v1 defending.”

Niko Giantsopolous – Goalkeeper

“Jordan Santiago (Cavalry FC goalkeeper coach) was impressed with (Giantopolous’) positioning and reflex ability,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Head Coach & General Manager, Cavalry FC. “He is also a terrific character and one we’ll need around the club and in the community.”

Oliver Minatel – Forward

Oliver Minatel, 26, is a Brazilian forward who has played in Portugal, Canada, USA and Australia. Originally from Campinas, Brazil, Minatel played for Nacional, of the Portuguese LigaPro, from 2011-2013. Since then he has played for such clubs as Ottawa Fury in Canada and South Melbourne in Australia. He spent some of his youth career with PSV Eindhoven, of the dutch Eredivisie, and Nacional.

Minatel is Cavalry FC’s first international signing.

Cavalry FC, Oliver Minatel, Canadain Premier League

Cavalry FC’s first international signing, Brazilian forward Oliver Minatel. Photo courtesy Cavalry FC

“We wanted to bring Oliver to the Cavalry as he is a fantastic professional with great personality and the type of pedigree we were looking for in our first international import that could add instant value to our team,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Head Coach & General Manager, Cavalry FC. “Oliver has had a fantastic football education in Brazil before going to the Netherlands with PSV and then onto Portugal with Nacional. He has also played in Canada and across North America so understands the landscape very well, which will make him adapt and make an impact very quickly.”

December 2018

Cavalry FC, Tommy Wheeldon Jr. Chris Serban, Marco Carducci, Dominick Zator, Elijah Adekugbe, Canadian Premier League
Cavalry FC head coach and general manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr. (centre) with Cavalry FC signings (from left) Chris Serban, Marco Carducci, Dominick Zator and Elijah Adekugbe. Photo courtesy Cavalry FC

Marco Carducci – Goalkeeper

Marco Carducci, 22, is a Calgary native who began his youth career with MacKenzie FC and Calgary Villains FC before moving on to the Whitecaps FC Residency in 2011. The six foot one tall goalkeeper signed a professional contract with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2014, playing for the club’s U23 and reserve teams. He played a single match for the Whitecaps first team in the Canadian Championship in 2014.

Carducci then spent a season with the United Soccer League’s Rio Grande Valley FC Toros in 2017 before winning the Premier Development League championship with Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s Calgary Foothills FC in 2018 as the club’s first-choice keeper.

“Marco is a highly talented goalkeeper and one who is perfect for the style of play we are looking to develop with the Cavalry,” says Cavalry head coach and general manager Wheeldon Jr. “His future is still waiting to be written and we want to be a part of his journey, as he has made his intentions clear that he wants to complete his journey and play for the full Canada National team, having represented them at U17, U20 and U23 levels. Aside from his talent, Marco is a great ambassador for our club and this community.”

Chris Serban – Full-back

Chris Serban, 23, began his youth career in Calgary with Calgary Villains FC before attending Whitecaps FC Residency in 2013. From 2014 to 2017 he made appearances for Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 and Whitecaps FC 2.

The defender then joined Calgary Foothills FC in 2018, winning the Premier Development League championship. Serban has represented the Canadian national team at the U20 and U23 levels.

(Chris) is honest, hard-working and humble off the pitch but packs a tenacious punch and plays on the front foot when on the pitch,” says Cavalry FC head coach and general manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “He suits how we want to play as a team, along with the type of character we want representing the Cavalry crest.”

Elijah Adekugbe – Midfielder

Born in England, Elijah Adekugbe moved to Calgary at the age of 8. The central midfielder began his development with Calgary Foothills Soccer Club. He attended Trinity Western University on a soccer scholarship, while returning to Calgary during the summer months to play for Calgary Foothills FC in the Premier Development League.

“Elijah is what this league is all about, giving young Canadians a chance,” says Cavalry FC head coach and general manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “He is someone I have had the pleasure of working with for over 10 years now and I’ve watched him grow as a player and a person. He is a highly technical midfielder that likes to keep his team in possession, almost like a Point Guard would in basketball. He’s a hard-working person and a studious player that just needs this platform to grow.”

Dominick Zator – Centre back

Dominick Zator, 24, played five seasons with the University of Calgary Dinos from 2012 to 2016, while playing in the Premier Development League for Calgary Foothills FC in the summers of 2015 and 2016.

The central defender signed for Whitecaps FC of the United Soccer league 2017, before joining back up with Calgary Foothills FC to win the Premier Development League in 2018.

“Dominick is a modern centre back that is quick and athletic on the ground, good in 1v1 duals and very comfortable with bringing the ball out of the back,” said Cavalry FC head coach and general manager Wheeldon Jr. “He is also a great example of staying the course and playing the long game, in that he was a late bloomer that was never selected for any Provincial or National youth team programs, but concentrated on his club soccer and school. It’s his intelligence that makes him the player we want in our club as he is very cerebral and calculated in his decision making.”

November 2018

Nik Ledgerwood – Midfielder

Nik Ledgerwood, 33, is a central midfielder with 50 international caps for the Canadian national team. The Lethbridge, Alberta born veteran played professionally in Germany from 2003 to 2015 with such clubs as 1860 Munich, MSV Duisburg and Energie Cottbus.

Nik Ledgerwood, right, in action for Calgary Foothills FC May 2018. Photo: ©Stuart Gradon/Total Soccer Project

Ledgerwood returned to Canada in 2015 to play for FC Edmonton, while the club still participated in the North American Soccer League. Recently he was a member of the Calgary Foothills FC squad that won the 2018 Premier Development League championship.

“As a player that started his professional career here in Calgary (with Calgary Storm), it seems poetic that he returns for the next chapter of his career,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Cavalry FC head coach and general manager. “Nik adds immediate quality and international pedigree not only to our team, but to the league itself. He is a very clever player with a wealth of experience, whose leadership qualities will be the cornerstone of the culture we are building.”

Sergio Camargo – Midfielder

Sergio Camargo, 24, began his career with TFC Academy in 2009 before spending his college years with Coastal Carolina University and Syracuse University.

Cavalry FC, FC Edmonton, Canadian Premier League, Spruce Meadows
Sergio Camargo, right, in action for Cavalry FC prospects September 2018. Photo: ©Stuart Gradon/Total Soccer Project

The Colombia born attacking midfielder then joined Toronto FC II, Toronto FC’s reserve team, before joining Calgary Foothills FC in 2018, where he helped the club win the Premier Development League championship.

“Sergio is an exciting attacking midfielder and the type of player we don’t have too many of here in Canada,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Cavalry FC head coach and general manager. “We are delighted to have Sergio join us as one of the first ever Cavalry FC players, as not only is he a player of huge potential but also of outstanding character. I am confident that he is a player that will excite the fans and make his team mates happy he is on their side.”

– some files courtesy Cavalry FC

 

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About Author

Stuart Gradon

Editor of Total Soccer Project | Photographer and Writer | Stuart Gradon is soccer journalist and multimedia professional, having worked at 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. He covers Cavalry FC and Canadian Premier League.

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