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Busy Winter Transfer Season for Canadian International Players

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A number of current and past members of the Canadian men's national team have found a new home during the winter transfer window. James Hutton breaks down the moves and what they mean for the player's future.

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The most fun some supporters have all year is "silly season", and while the offseason is a time for gossip to fly amongst fans each move signifies a big career step for each player. Waking the Red breaks down the offseason moves seen by Canadian players between seasons and implications on their careers.


Fraser Aird to Vancouver Whitecaps

One of the newest members of the Canadian national team returns to the Great White North. On loan from Rangers, Aird joins the Whitecaps for "a season long loan to get games". After joining Rangers at the age of 16 Aird saw the bulk of his playing time in his first two years appearing 59 times in his three years at the club.

With Rangers expected to win their way into the Scottish Premiership next season, Aird has seen a sharp decrease in his playing time in Glasgow. While the Caps may not start him each week Aird will almost certainly get more playing time with Champions League and Voyageurs Cup games to manage.

The move comes at a good time for Aird with Benito Floro keeping an eye on the 21-year-old. If Aird can get more club games under his belt he may see increased call ups with the national team. It appears he is using the Whitecaps as a springboard to prove himself and move to a higher league as he is quoted as being devoted to Rangers and not wanting to "look too far ahead". Aird's loan will be over at the end of the season while his contract with Rangers is up after 18 months. Vancouver have the option to buy out his contract at the end of the season.


Nik Ledgerwood to FC Edmonton

While Vancouver welcomes in a Torontonian, the FC Edmonton faithful will be welcoming in one of their own. A native Lethbridge of Alberta, Nik Ledgerwood began his career with the USL Calgary Storm at 18 before plying his trade in Europe. With the majority of his time in Germany, Ledgerwood would go on to play for seven European clubs before making the decision to come home.

The decision was one that reflected on his contribution to Canada. After 45 national team appearances Ledgerwood was quoted as wanting to develop soccer in Canada while he was still able. "I want to help out kids and younger players aspiring to be professional soccer players and to show them what it takes or help them along the way," he said in a press release. "That is one of the reasons I wanted to come back to Canada at this age as opposed to coming back when I'm 35 and don't have much to offer the game."

As someone who saw his development peak in Germany, it was important for Ledgerwood to bring that home. The 31-year-old will be joining an FC Edmonton team who hasn't qualified for the NASL playoff since 2011. He'll be looking to help the Eddies make a playoff push and potentially see out his career in the Sunshine Province.


Kyle Porter to Ottawa Fury

As we turn to the capital all eyes will be on Ottawa Fury and how they will be able to match their impressive 2015 cup run. One player that will have a hand in that is 25-year-old Kyle Porter. Porter joins the Fury looking for consistency in his career after jumping between four teams in five years.

Ottawa will be hoping Porter can use his utility to play in either a defending role or attacking role with Porter having experience in both the back line and playing as a striker. Ottawa may see the need for him up top with last year's leading scorer Tommy Heinemann leaving the team for Tampa Bay who netted 14 goals on the way to the Soccer Bowl Finals.

Despite such a strong 2015, the Fury are a team in transition with new signings and a new coach who will be looking to apply his own tactics to the team. Despite his versatility it may be best for Porter to lock down one position on the roster and solidify himself into the Fury starting eleven.

Simeon Jackson to Blackburn Rovers

While moves were occurring within our borders, Canadians were being moved around across the pond with Simeon Jackson leaving his post at Barnsley. Jackson is reunited with his previous coach Paul Lambert who managed the Norwich side that saw promotion to the Premier League in the 2010/2011 season. While Jackson has bounced around five clubs since 2013 it was Norwich where he saw the most success. In three years Jackson bagged 17 goals in 73 appearances including the goal that secured Norwich's passage to the Premier League.

While Jackson's contract is short term he will be hoping to prove himself at the Championship level and earn himself a longer contract.

Lars Hirschfeld to KFUM-Kameratene Oslo

Lars Hirschfeld, Canadian journeyman continues his path across Europe joining KFUM-Kameratene Oslo (KFUM for short) in the 2nd division of Norwegian football. His 11th team and his fifth country since moving to Spurs in 2002, Hirschfeld joins a team who have just recently been promoted to the OBOS-ligaen in Norway for the first time.

Coming from a team where he saw stability, Hirschfeld played a total of 93 games in the six years spent at his previous Norwegian club, Vålerenga Fotball. While he will be dropping down a league he may have made the move for financial security.  Vålerenga Fotball saw financial challenges beginning in 2013 while spending 2014 on the verge of bankruptcy until signing a shirt sponsor with a Norwegian financial services group DNB ASA.

Hirschfeld will hopefully see similar minutes as seen in previous seasons while the 37-year-old may begin thinking about retirement in upcoming seasons.