Thomas Meilleur-Giguère Raising the Bar Heading into 2024 CPL Season

Pacific FC have announced they are picking up centre-back, Thomas Meilleur-Giguère’s club option for the upcoming 2024 CPL season. Meilleur-Giguère, more commonly known amongst fans as TMG, was named to the CPL’s Team of the Week roster four times last season highlighting his growth offensively while minimizing opponents chances in possession. 

Meilleur-Giguère recent offensive production may have come to the surprise of Trident fans, tying Pacific FC’s record for goals in a season by a defender, but Meilleur-Giguère has always felt confident he is capable of playing both sides of the ball; it was just a matter of time before the scoring chances materialized. 

“If we look at my background, I’ve always scored one, two goals a season. And when I was in the academy (CF Montreal) there was a year where I scored ten goals, so I always used to score a lot of goals,” said Meilleur-Giguère in response to his offensive outburst last season. “It’s just something that maybe got away in my game, because I was younger, not the biggest. Now I’m getting older, getting stronger. I think that I can actually be back to always scoring four or five goals a season.”

Limiting Meilleur-Giguère’s recognition to his offensive accomplishments would be a disservice to his defensive play. At times Meilleur-Giguère led a very young defensive unit, with Pacific electing to start as many as three U21 players on the backline. The results, however, didn’t change. Pacific routinely stiffened opponents while Meilleur-Giguère’s defensive abilities acted as the backbone of his game. 

“Everything I do defensively brings me way more pride,” Meilleur-Giguère on which aspect of his game he loves the most. “It’s more important to defend and I feel it; I really believe it.”

Clearing the ball, interceptions, winning aerial duels, Meilleur-Giguère has been nothing short of a brick wall at times for Pacific FC last season. It’s safe to say that while his offensive game has expanded over the course of his time with Pacific FC, his defensive ability has kept the team competitive when chances in the final third are limited. 

Looking towards the upcoming season, Meilleur-Giguère goals for the 2024 CPL season are lofty. 

“Personally I want to lead the team defensively. I want to have the most minutes, I want to score goals, I want to help the team to win. My personal objective this year, I would love to get the Defender of the Year award at the end of the season. That is what I am aiming for. But I can’t have that if we don’t win the league as a team, so my main focus is about the team winning and from there good things are going to happen. So we just have to win the league, get to the CONCACAF, or maybe just win the playoff at the end, everything is important.”

Defender of the year. Winning the league. CONCACAF invitation. Regardless, the success of Pacific FC this season will once again turn to their defensive unit, led by Meilleur-Giguère, to neutralize opposing attacks. 

The growing passion for soccer on Vancouver Island can be seen under the bright lights at Starlight Stadium. Meilleur-Giguère is entering his fifth season with the club. Getting to witness Pacific’s growing fanbase firsthand, Meilleur-Giguère is confident Trident supporters can be a deciding factor in close games. 

“It’s really, really important. You can see it, you can feel it when you play a game,” Meilleur-Giguère on the importance of fan support in motivating the team. “When there are not a lot of fans, you get in the stadium and you feel like it’s 11v11; it’s a normal game. But when you come to a big game and the fans, everyone shows up, and the stadium is packed, we feel a difference. You go there and it’s 12 against 11. We already started with the edge.”

Meilleur-Giguère has begun to notice familiar faces in the stands as diehard Trident supporters bleed purple from April to October. Come playoff time, home field advantage at Starlight Stadium carries extra significance for players, coaches, and the opposing team. 

“I feel more passion in the fans. They actually want to be there, it is the same people, they come back and they love it and that’s why we play. We play for them, to make them happy,” expressed Meilleur-Giguère. “Honestly to get through to the championship playoff game that’s what we needed. And we got it last year, here at home. We got a game against York, last minute goal, it’s all about the fans pushing us to keep it up.”

Meilleur-Giguère’s growth as a player is one of the many Pacific FC developmental success stories. Performing at a high level throughout all facets of the pitch is easier said than done, but Meilleur-Giguère trajectory has Trident fans wondering if the sky’s the limit for the budding young star.