After going over the goalkeepers and then the defenders in the previous “Highlights of the Season” articles, we now turn our attention to Pacific FC’s midfield unit.
Categorized by some as the most influential position on the pitch, this season’s group of midfielder showed impressive dynamism in attack and helped bossed countless games from the middle of the park for the Tridents this season.
7. Steffen Yeates
- Keen-eyed Pacific supporters may have noticed a mid-season shift in Yeates’ game this season. After starting the season playing slightly more conservatively in possession and getting used to his new surroundings, Yeates took off in the second half of the season and showed the quality that was always lurking just beneath the surface. In terms of his highlight of the season, it was likely his goal against Atlético Ottawa at TD Place in mid-September. The goal not only opened the scoring that day in the nation’s capital, but was a prime example of the footwork and finishing ability the 23-year-old has in his game. Notably, Yeates was also the only player to appear in every regular season match for the Tridents.
18. Zakaria Bahous
- After arriving half-way through the season, Bahous’ silky play style and positional flexibility was a welcome addition to Pacific and provided a nice boost for the final stretch of the campaign. Bahous made five appearances in PFC colours this season including two starts, both of which came against Cavalry FC. The second of those starts was in the CPL playoff semi-final match during which the Tridents displayed a new formation with five at the back. On the right side of that back five was Bahous whose sterling performance helped Pacific push to the very final whistle. Although the result wasn’t what Bahous and the rest of the squad wanted, the 22-year-old’s performance stood out and highlighted the trust he earned in such a short span of time thanks to his work rate, technical ability, and dynamism.
20. Sean Young
- The Island’s own Young was a revelation in midfield for Pacific this season. After coming on leaps and bounds last season, Young continued to development exponentially in 2023. Capable of playing in any midfield position – as a no. 6, no. 8, or no. 10 – and even comfortable shifting back into the defensive line as a centre-back, Young was a major force in the Tridents 2023 campaign. As for the 22-year-old’s highlight of the season, it’s hard to top winning the Player of the Month award as the best player in the league. Young took home the award for the month of May this season as a result of adding end product to his game through goals and assists. The Van Isle Wave product had two goals and three assists in four league games in May, as the CPL and beyond took notice of the talent those on the Island have known about for a couple seasons now.
28. Cedric Toussaint
- Pacific’s conductor from the base of the midfield was Toussaint this season. Often called upon to play as the deepest of the three in the team’s midfield trio, Toussaint’s tough tackling and metronomic passing ability were key to how the Tridents operated on and off the ball. The no. 6 is quickly becoming one of the most important positions on the pitch in the modern game – a fact Toussaint proved on more than one occasion this season. Some of his best showings this season came against his former club York United FC in Pacific’s 4-1 home win over the Nine Stripes in May and the 4-1 victory away to Ottawa that came the week before. But his true highlight of the season came against Vancouver FC in the Tridents’ 6-3 away win during which the 22-year-old provided an assist for Ayman Sellouf and was a force of nature in the centre of the park for the entire 90 minutes.
34. Manny Aparicio
- It’s difficult to pick a highlight for a player who’s always making things happen and positively effects matches with such regularity. For Aparicio, this season further proved how dominant he is in the CPL and how crucial he is to Pacific’s style of play. The 2023 season began with a bang for the 28-year-old when, in the opening match against Vancouver, Aparicio provided the crucial moment of magic that won the inaugural Salish Sea Derby for Pacific with about 10 minutes to go in the match. Pacific’s no. 34 followed that performance up with many, many others like it and was ultimately rewarded with a Player of the Year nomination at the end of the campaign. So, you could say that Aparicio’s highlight of the season was in the very first game as well as during the end-of-season awards announcements. A sign of his unrivalled consistency.
Also part of Pacific’s midfield group this season was 17-year-old Van Isle Wave and Pacific FC Development Player, Sami Marvasti. For the young, Island-born central midfielder, the highlight of the season came when he was named to the bench for the Tridents’ final regular season home match against rivals Vancouver. Although he didn’t see the pitch, making the bench for your local professional club at just 17 is an incredible accomplishment and speaks to the incredible potential Marvasti possesses.
All told, for Pacific’s midfield unit this season featured a little bit of everything: new players came in and positively influenced matches, young players continued their upward trajectory and showed new elements to their game, and the older heads showed the day-in, day-out commitment required to excel at this level.