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Canadian Soccer Watch: Ottawa Fury putting pieces together for 2019 and beyond

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Fury FC slowly filling out their roster for 2019 USL season

Steve Kingsman/Freestyle Photography/Ottawa Fury FC

Ottawa Fury FC rejected the opportunity to join the Canadian Premier League in its inaugural season earlier this year, which caused ire among many Fury FC fans and Canadian soccer fans around the country.

Realistically, for Fury FC, a move to the CPL would have been risky and awkward, especially after jumping from the now-defunct NASL to the USL in 2017. The CPL’s endurance is still in question, even with all of the optimism and positive rhetoric surrounding the league, and the safest move for Fury FC was to remain in the USL for at least another season.

The Fury’s biggest off-season move was off the field rather than on it. General manager Julian de Guzman signed to stay as Fury FC’s GM for another three years.

The former Toronto FC player and Canadian men’s national team captain has been pivotal in restructuring Fury FC from the ground up, first with the appointment of head coach Nikola Popovic.

After a slow start to the 2018 USL season, de Guzman made several moves to improve his team. The players he added — David Edgar, Doneil Henry, Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé — weren’t just talented, but also largely Canadian, a part of his MO to create a Canadian team with Canadian players.

His commitment for another three years is a massive positive for Fury FC.

As the CPL announced its first signings, Fury FC continues to operate business as usual. After a disappointing end to the 2018 USL season — missing the playoffs on the final matchday — Fury FC announced 15 players would be departing the club, including many important players like Maxime Crépeau (recently signed by the Vancouver Whitecaps), Steevan Dos Santos and Tony Taylor.

Fury FC has begun to repopulate its squad with returning players Carl Haworth, Chris Mannella, David Monsalve and Gagnon-Laparé resigning with the club.

In addition, Fury FC added Haitian forward Christiano François from the USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC.

François had a positive season with the Riverhounds in 2018 tallying four goals and five assists in 32 appearances as a fixture on the left-wing.