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

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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.

Daryl Fordyce

“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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3 Comments

  1. Robbie Stewart

    February 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I am an East Belfast transplant to Edmonton and I’ve seen both these players play live. Daryl, when he was with the Glens and Albert with Norn Iron youth. Both decent players that could do a job on any MLS team, let alone an NASL team. They are both still young and in their prime and both would be great additions to FCE and i wish them all the best of luck! All the best lads!

    Rab S. #8

  2. BMC

    January 24, 2013 at 4:52 am

    I am a transplant from N. Ireland to Toronto. There is no way an older player in the N. Irish league will be able to compete in NASL, nevermmind MLS. CSL, yes. Do not get your hopes up.

    • Adam

      February 1, 2013 at 12:32 am

      I have to disagree with BMC. Have you watched either of these players in action? Could easily do a job in the MLS or NASL. Have a look at Johnny Steele who played quite a number of games in the MLS last season and did reasonably well. The Irish League is not as bad as people think. Some good players who deserve a chance.

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