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Cavalry FC continues defensive rebuild with Karifa Yao loan signing

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Cavalry FC announced the season-long loan signing of Canadian defender Karifa Yao for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season Wednesday.

The 20-year-old centre back joins from his parent club CF Montréal (formerly Montréal Impact) of Major League Soccer.

And while Yao is young, Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. expects the 6-foot-2-inch defender to bring the physical presence, and dominance in the air, the Montréal native is already becoming known for.

“He’s a powerful and athletic centre-back that is very imposing on the ground or in the air,” said Wheeldon via a club statement Wednesday. “He also has a good technical base that will help us in our possession game too. We believe Karifa is a great signing for our squad as we evolve into a younger and even more dynamic team for 2021.”

Olympic ambitions

Yao is Montréal Impact Academy product and signed with the club proper in 2019, making two appearances in MLS. He’s also been named to the provisional Canadian U-23 squad that is scheduled to compete for Olympic Games qualification later this year.

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But he says his focus will be on performing for his new club.

“I am happy to join Cavalry FC for the 2021 season and I will do my best to fight for the city and the club,” said Yao.

New-look Cavalry FC defence

Cavalry FC’s defence is going through a bit of a rebuild, having lost regular starting central defenders Dominick Zator and Jonathan Wheeldon, and full-backs Nathan Mavila and Dean Northover in the off-season.

Newly signed Tom Field, 23, and last season’s breakout star Mo Farsi, 21, are currently the only named full-backs.Yao joins newly signed Daan Klomp, 22, and club veteran Mason Trafford, 34, at centre-back. But the Cavs will likely name at least one more central defender before the start of the 2021 season if Calgary’s club wants to have the standard four-man CB rotation.

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Stuart Gradon

Editor of Total Soccer News | 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. Stuart is available for media appearances, including podcasts, television, and radio. Email stuartgradon@totalsoccernews.com to inquire.

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