Northern Irish players confirm they’re headed to play in Canada

Daryl Fordyce

Northern Irish side Linfield FC have confirmed that two of its players are leaving the club and are moving to Canada.

But Linfield didn’t confirm to which Canadian side defender Albert Watson and striker Daryl Fordyce will be heading.

FCE coach Colin Miller was recently in the United Kingdom scouting talent. And, it’s hard to see two players from Northern Ireland’s league both making the jump to a Canadian MLS club, but to NASL? FCE will not confirm that any new players have been signed, though more announcements are expected leading up to February’s training camp.

Fordyce has scored four times for Linfield this season, while Watson has scored once. They have both appeared regularly in league play this year, including Linfield’s qualifying-round matches of the UEFA Champions League.

Fordyce, who is now 26, is a former U21 for Northern Ireland. Watson is a former captain of Northern Ireland’s U-23 side.

“I have news to report about Daryl Fordyce and Albert Watson,” said Linfield manager David Jeffrey on the club’s official website. “Both players asked to meet me on the Thursday before the recent game with Coleraine. They then proceeded to advise me that they were both emigrating to Canada during the first week of February.

“I advised the Team Committee on the day of the Coleraine game and I asked the two players to record their request in writing outlining their reasons and when and where they were going, so there could be no misunderstanding or ambiguity… While I would never want to stop anyone from following their wishes in life, the one thing I would say is that the club receiving this news has left us in a difficult situation. However, as always, the club will go on.”

The timing is also interesting. If Fordyce and Watson were going to MLS, they’d likely need to be in Canada for January, when the Impact, TFC and Whitecaps open training camp. But FCE is set to open its camp in February.

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, NASL.com and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.