Home NASL & USL Ottawa Fury JDG on rebuilding the Fury: “You want people who are well in tune with what the league offers”

JDG on rebuilding the Fury: “You want people who are well in tune with what the league offers”

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The Ottawa Fury missed the USL playoffs in 2018, but the team’s general manager has received a large vote of confidence from the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

On Wednesday, the Fury announced that Julian de Guzman has signed a three-year contract extension.

JDG, who distinguished himself with an excellent playing career which included stints in La Liga and the Bundesliga, hung up his boots as a member of the Fury. He rose through the ranks from assistant coach to head coach to general manager in the space of one year.

“It’s a great joy to know I’ll continue at a club I’ve fallen in love with,” he said. “It was a certainly a roller-coaster, but it was something that allowed me a full hands-on experience in these roles.

“I fell in love with everything Ottawa Fury had to offer as a professional club.”

There’s little time for JDG to celebrate. He needs to rebuild the Fury’s roster, which currently has just 10 players on it. He said that the club is talking to handful of players, some of them what he called “difference-makers.” Some of those could translate into signings that are announced before the new years. JDG said that some of the players are Canadian, but said he won’t name any of his targets.

“I don’t want to make the players or agents feel forced.”

But he said that he prefers to look for players who have USL experience or now what the league is all about. He wants players who know what to expect in the USL. He said that he’s seen that bringing in name players from Europe or South America doesn’t always work, and it’s expensive, to boot.

“You want people who are well in tune with what the league offers.”

That was certainly true in the recent deal that saw the Fury acquire Haitian forward Christiano Francois from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

He admitted that it’s a crowded marketplace, with seven Canadian Premier League clubs also building their rosters. He said the increase in Canadian clubs is creating a “good culture” for soccer in this country. But he said Ottawa can sell itself on its history.

“You have to be confident with what we’ve done in the past five or six years.”

And he said that stability will appeal to Canadian players and foreigners who want to play in Canada.

“The history we offer is something you can’t take away from us,” he said. “My intention is to put Ottawa on the map as a Canadian club.” He added that internationals who consider the Fury will know they will “play for a Canadian club with above-average Canadian players.”

And, now that three more years is a thing, where does de Guzman envision the club in December of 2021?

“For me, it would be the chance to win a trophy, two trophies, whether it’s in the Canadian Championship or USL… If I was to leave the club in three years, I want to leave this club with a trophy.”

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