PFC shows faith in youth development with signing of four young Canadian players

Four young Canadians have signed for Pacific FC ahead of the 2023 Canadian Premier League season.

Pacific FC goalkeeper Emil Gazdov has signed a contract extension keeping him on the Island for multiple years beyond 2023; U SPORTS Draft pick Eric Lajeunesse has signed a U SPORTS Player Contract allowing him to return to school in the fall; and two Van Isle Wave players, Sami Marvasti, 16, and Jack Garner, 17, have signed CPL Developmental Contracts which provide amateur players the opportunity to be included on a professional Club’s roster without losing the ability to train and play with their amateur team.

All four player signings highlight Pacific FC’s commitment to developing young Canadian players, especially those from the Island and developed in the club’s youth system like Marvasti and Garner.


Gazdov has signed a two-year contract extension, with an option for another season, that would see him in Pacific FC colours up to the 2026 FIFA World Cup. One of Canada’s most exciting young goalkeepers at just 19 years old, Gazdov is taking over Callum Irving’s no. 1 shirt for the 2023 season and looks to have a breakout campaign in front of him.

After making his professional debut last season, the North Vancouver born shot-stopper has spent the offseason working with PFC’s new Head Goalkeeper Coach Daniel Ortiz as well as the club’s new signing Kieran Baskett to continue his promising development.

Emil has great potential and has all the tools to become a complete goalkeeper,” said James Merriman, Head Coach, Pacific FC. “He is still very young, he knows he has work to do, he’s has many things to improve and we believe he’s committed to his development. Young players need opportunities to develop, they need professional games to learn and this is what we believe at Pacific FC.” 


Selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2023 CPL U-SPORTS Draft out of the University of British Columbia, Lajeunesse spent preseason training with Pacific before officially joining the club for the season.

Lajeunesse is an athletic, ball-playing centre-back who started all 21 games for UBC last season as they went all the way to the U SPORTS championship game. The 19-year-old helped keep 10 clean sheets and chipped in with one goal and one assist during the Thunderbirds’ campaign.

The defender fills a need for the Tridents as a left-footed centre-back and will learn from two of the CPL’s most accomplished defenders in Amer Didic and Thomas Meilleur-Giguère this season.

“Eric has come into pre-season and worked every day towards a U-Sports contract,” said Merriman. “He absolutely deserves the opportunity and we want to continue to develop him in our system.”

Marvasti and Garner

Marvasti and Garner are two Van Isle Wave players who also trained with Pacific in preseason and impressed the club’s technical staff with their technical ability and poise at such young ages.







Marvasti, who also spent part of his youth career with local club Saanich Fusion FC, is a gifted central midfielder. The 16-year-old, currently plays for the VI Wave ’06 Boys team and retains his ability to play for them by signing a Development Contract.

Garner is a member of the VI Wave ’05 Boys team and also spent time with local club Gorge FC as a young player. The goalkeeper has been an extremely promising prospect for multiple years and will spend the season training with Ortiz, Gazdov, and Baskett, but like Marvasti will retain the ability to play for his VI Wave team.

This is an exciting step in the Youth Development inside of Pacific FC,” said Shawn Fiddick, Executive Director of Youth Programs, Pacific FC. “Both players have been role models and exemplary in their performance both on and off the field.”

All 2023 ticket options are now available ahead of Pacific FC’s Season Opener against Vancouver FC on Saturday! Find the right option for you here.