VANCOUVER ISLAND – At the dawn of last November, as Forge FC hoisted the North Star Shield in Foothills County, Pacific FC’s Terran Campbell watched from his home in Vancouver and thought about 2020.
“It makes you want to be in their position,” the 21-year-old Campbell told CanPL.ca. “I think we all feel we could have done a lot better last season.”
As the West Coast club regroups for its second Canadian Premier League campaign, no shortage of expectations will fall on the young striker’s shoulders. A breakout eleven-goal season in his rookie year made sure of that. Such was Campbell’s meteoric rise, one tends to forget how he started 2019: an unheralded rookie known more for his nickname than any goal-scoring prowess.
The first-year glow is over. No CPL club is going to be caught unawares by Campbell. One can count on opposing managers circling his name repeatedly on dressing room whiteboards — all capital letters and red marker and triple underlines.
What’s left is for the Burnaby native to prove he can do it all again — that, and lead his team (8-7-13 through spring and fall last season, good for fifth overall) to the upper reaches of the league table.
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“I personally think I can do a lot more for the team,” said Campbell. “Hopefully providing more goals, more assists, creating more [chances] on the attack; working hard defensively.”
Pacific will need it if the club wishes to join the likes of Forge and Cavalry FC as true contenders. The only CPL club to sack its coach, there’s a tinge of caution on Vancouver Island. Newcomer Pa-Modou Kah inherits a club filled largely with young talent and a front office bet that ‘The Kids’ will grow into their game together.
One thing Campbell would do well to develop is to become more of a threat with his right foot. Last season, the lefty attempted more headers (six) than right-footers (five).
“It’s been something I’ve been working on for a long time now,” he admitted. “Hopefully I’ll be able to see (more of it) next season.”
He could also do with improving his ability to win aerial duels against defenders. Despite Campbell’s size advantage — there’s a reason for the ‘Hulk’ nickname — too often, he found himself dispossessed in duels, or out-positioned on aerial chances. It could be as simple as youth, and finding confidence against more seasoned opponents. More than that, it’s a matter of the 21-year-old realizing his own strength.
The biggest difference for Campbell in 2020?
Look no further than Marco Bustos. A seven-goal scorer himself, the highly-touted attacking midfielder should draw plenty of attention from defenders, freeing Campbell.
“He’s creative; he’s quick on the ball,” said Campbell, who played with Bustos in the Vancouver Whitecaps academy. “With a lot of link-up play that he can do, we’ll be able to connect and hopefully score lots of goals.”
It always comes back to goals when the discussion centres around Campbell. Last September, Pacific FC CEO Rob Friend proclaimed the rookie could net 20 in his second season.
A dash of hyperbole, perhaps? A bit of motivation for the 21-year-old?
“I think if you have the mentality, you can do anything you want,” said Campbell.