If there is one name that Valour Football Club needs following the chaos that was the 2020 Canadian Premier League (CPL) season, it is that of captain Daryl Fordyce. This offseason, Valour were quick to resign Fordyce with an eye on the striker contributing more minutes in a full season. The club captain hasn’t just made Valour his club, but Winnipeg is now home. Settled in the city and with the captain’s armband around his left bicep, Fordyce will be a driving force behind Valour’s success in the eight-team CPL.
The Northern Irishman joined Valour in January 2020 ahead of the CPL’s second season. Upon putting pen to paper, Fordyce and the club had no idea that just months later, the season would be delayed due to COVID-19.
Once the CPL was able to kick off in August, Fordyce showed exactly why the Winnipeg-based club signed him. He scored against FC Edmonton in Valour’s fifth match at the Island Games and was a constant threat in attack throughout the tournament.
Now, 34, Fordyce brought veteran leadership to a team competing in just its second campaign of CPL soccer. Unfortunately, it was a campaign that ended with the club taking eight of 21 points and narrowly missing the playoffs at the Island Games. Just three points separated the team from the four-team playoffs.
Born in Belfast, Fordyce joined Rangers’ youth academy at the age of 10. He learned the soccer trade at the Glasgow giants until the age of 16 when English club Portsmouth came calling. According to Fordyce, living in Belfast was like living in a box, and his sights were set on getting outside of it from an early age. Growing up in the Northern Ireland capital would later help lead to Fordyce’s move to Canada.
Yet, before there was any thought of moving to the Great White North, Fordyce fought for a place in the Portsmouth first-team at the tender age of 16. Pompey were overseen by legendary English manager Harry Redknapp at the time. Unlike many teenagers, Fordyce had to look after himself with his parents back in Belfast and adapt quickly.
Unfortunately, an ankle injury prevented Fordyce from making the first-team and sent him on a whirlwind journey to Stoke City and Luton Town, but neither club offered up a contract. Then, Fordyce landed at Northern Irish club Glentoran where he bagged 21 goals in 75 matches. In 2011, Fordyce left Glentoran for their bitter rivals and joined the club he supported as a boy, Linfield. Despite the move, he continued terrorizing Northern Irish defences. Fordyce scored 11 goals in 57 games for the club. He helped the club win the 2012 NIFL Premiership.
After two successful spells at FC Edmonton that sandwiched a nine-match stint with FC Cincinnati, Fordyce played in the League of Ireland at Sligo Rovers before getting the opportunity to return to Canada in 2020 with Valour.
The Winnipeg club was able to fight off several teams that were interested in the striker to resign him for the 2021 campaign. Fordyce is the type of player that many clubs seek out. His skills and leadership on the pitch are invaluable, but so is the player’s ability to make others around him better.
Canada is now Fordyce’s family’s long-term home and one day, the attacking midfielder could move into a coaching role at a Canadian club – potentially Valour. For the 2021 season, Valour will hope Fordyce can roll back the clock and deliver one of his best-ever seasons. As the team’s captain and leader on the pitch, Fordyce will play a major role in the team’s success.