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‘A pretty incredible feeling’: Winger praises Vancouver FC for creating player opportunities

Local team stormed the CPL in 2022 with one mission: make the Lower Mainland a global soccer powerhouse
Veteran winger Ben Fisk with Rob Friend, President, Vancouver FC. Fisk is thrilled to be playing professional soccer back home with Vancouver FC, and credits the club for creating more opportunity for home-grown players.

In 2022, Vancouver FC was established with a clear mission: to provide previously inaccessible opportunities within the professional soccer world to athletes near and far from Vancouver. The club aimed to be more than just a team; it sought to be a cornerstone in the local sports scene, nurturing young talent, welcoming veteran players back home, creating jobs for locals and contributing to the global growth of soccer within Canada.

Veteran winger Ben Fisk’s journey with Vancouver FC is a testament to the club’s commitment to creating opportunities for players at all stages of their careers. After a decade playing for teams away from Vancouver, Fisk’s return was nothing short of a homecoming.

Having played for Pacific FC, Atlético Ottawa and Cavalry FC, Fisk was unveiled as Vancouver FC’s first signing of the 2024 off-season. As an East Vancouver resident, his story of returning home reflects what Vancouver FC is about: making dreams come true for local talent.

"I feel very blessed to have had the career that I've had and now to be able to bring it full circle, coming back home to Vancouver and playing with a brand new professional league in Canada, it's a pretty incredible feeling."

Vancouver FC winger Ben Fisk brings a wealth of experience and leadership, helping teach young players what it means to be a professional. Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC photo

Since 2022, Vancouver FC has provided a new pathway for young talent who might have been overlooked by other professional clubs and become a home for aspiring players.

VFC defender James Cameron, for example, had a breakout season in 2023, starting in all but two of his 19 appearances after signing his first professional contract with the local club. Building on that success, the North Vancouver native also represented Canada’s U-20 Men’s National team in a series of international friendlies later this month.

TJ Tahid has had professional soccer goals since he was a preschooler – a goal that came to fruition when the Maple Ridge native set Canadian Premier League records for being the youngest player to sign a contract, youngest to receive CPL minutes, and youngest goalscorer. The cherry on top came near the end of last season when Tahid represented Canada in the U-17 FIFA World Cup.

Vancouver FC opened 2024 by signing then-15-year-old Surrey phenom Grady McDonnell to a three-year contract. The box-to-box midfielder with a well-rounded skillset broke Tahid’s record by becoming the new youngest player to sign with the Canadian Premier League, but he’s already had a taste of international play with the youth program of his father’s native country, the Republic of Ireland.

The club works closely with established youth and senior organizations, providing tangible opportunities for local talent to strive towards.

“There’s a really strong contrast between the opportunities that were available for players in my generation and those that came before me,” Fisk says. “Most players from my generation saw us either going to university and then hanging up the cleats or hooking a one-way ticket, packing a suitcase, and heading overseas to try and make a living doing what you love.”

Vancouver FC’s philosophy is deeply rooted in nurturing young athletes, with a core of veteran players to guide them. Fisk’s role is pivotal both on and off the pitch – he brings a wealth of experience and leadership, helping to teach young players what it means to be a professional.

“I just try to lead by example and do so consistently,” Fisk says. “To show up with energy and enthusiasm in the big moments on game day, but also create that consistency showing up like that Monday to Friday through the week when nobody’s watching.”

Vancouver FC's mission goes beyond the playing field. The club has provided jobs for locals in a highly competitive sports world, contributing to the local economy and fostering a sense of pride and belonging.

“I saw what they were able to build in year one, it was incredible – branding, marketing, the fanbase and they put up a stadium in what, two months? It was all pretty incredible to watch from afar,” Fisk says.

While Vancouver FC continues to grow, it remains an integral part of Canada's efforts to expand the global game. The club’s establishment is a celebration of local soccer, providing a platform for the community to rally around and support its own. For Fisk and many others, Vancouver FC represents a dream fulfilled and an exciting future for soccer in British Columbia.

Fans can follow Vancouver FC on Facebook and Instagram, or buy tickets to their next match on VFC's official website.