Nicki Paterson, Charleston’s star in midfield for the past three seasons, on Wednesday became the first player signed by the Ottawa Fury F.C. since the PDL club’s elevation to the NASL.
The Canadian club announced the move on its website mid-day Wednesday. “Nicki is a player that we have been following for a while and we’re thrilled to have a player of his ability join us for our inaugural season,” said Fury FC Head Coach Marc Dos Santos. “We believe that he has the exact profile and attitude this Club needs and we’re certain that he’ll be a fan favourite and leader in our community.”
Paterson, meanwhile, took to Facebook to speak to Charleston fans:
Delighted to say I am part of the Ottawa Fury FC! Really looking forward to it now its official. Very honoured to have been chosen as the first signing and can’t wait to see the rest of the squad come together. Had a blast in Charleston the past 3 years and met some amazing people I hope I never lose touch with! But it’s time for the next chapter in Ottawa, the capital of Canada and Cheryl McSeveny and I can’t wait for it!
This is a developing story, and I’ll be updating it as the afternoon progresses…
2 P.M. UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Battery captain Colin Falvey, comments to follow shortly. In the meantime, here’s a quick email Q&A with Nicki Paterson, who is in Motherwell, Scotland, preparing for his wedding to fiance Cheryl McSeveny.
CHS: What can you tell me for publication about the deal and how it came about?
NP: After the USL season was done, Ottawa contacted Charleston and asked for permission to speak to me, which was granted. I then spoke to Mark dos Santos and from there was extremely intrigued about the move, did some research about Mark, Ottawa, etc., and in the end felt it could be a great choice. The clubs then came to an agreement and then I agreed terms.
CHS: What does it mean for you that you’re the first player in the club’s NASL history?
NP: Massively proud. Marks words in today’s press conference shows how he feels about me as a player and that gives me huge confidence going into next season. Means a lot to my family, friends, agent etc to that all their support has helped me get to this point.
CHS: What were the discussions with the Battery? Have you spoken with Anhaeuser? What did you say to each other?
NP: I mean Coach Auggie didn’t necessarily want me to leave but was extremely understandable that if an offer came along which suited all parties concerned that he wouldn’t stand in my way. I learned a lot from working under Auggie and would like to thank him, Andy Bell, Tony Backer, and all the staff for three great years, and an added thank-you for their part in this move.
CHS: Any off-season training or playing plans, or is it just going to be about the wedding and family life until the season begins?
NP: I’m just keeping myself ticking over at home just now, wedding in almost three weeks so everything is full steam ahead with that. After the honeymoon it’s all about making sure I am 100% for the start of preseason.
CHS: What are the work rules for Canada, and will Cheryl be able to work in Ottawa?
NP: Yes, completely different from USA, so she can work automatically, which was a huge factor in our decision. At this stage of my career/life it’s gotta be what’s right as a family and this move ticked all the boxes.
CHS: Again, congrats.
NP: Thank you. For your support and great work following us last year. Also you bought me a Chipotle, so will never forget that. Ottawa has Chipotle so I won’t be missing that, thankfully! … Special thank-you to The Regiment and all the fans that have supported me over the past 3 years. To all the families that come to the Three Lions Pub after the games and made the players feel like proper professionals. Really made some special friendships, I will miss you all!
Here’s a bit from Colin Falvey, who will be attending Paterson’s wedding in three weeks:
He’s one of my closest friends. We’ve won a championship together. It’s always something special about being a part of that team. He probably won us that championship, honestly. Should have been the (league) MVP, in my opinion.
I think the big thing for him was gonna be off-the-field stuff that he needed to get in order. He needed to make a family decision now. I think one of the main reasons behind it was … that Cheryl can work in Canada, because of the agreement with the Commonwealth. So it was was more than football reasons.
If it came down to it, if it wasn’t (for US work permit rules that kept McSeveny from working on Paterson’s visa, even as his wife), he’d still be a Battery player next year.
But that’s the way it goes. I’m sad to see him go, but I’m sure the club will be doing everything to replace him, if that’s even possible. We’ve got to rebuild now. I’m sure Coach will be making some big decisions, if he hasn’t already.
He goes with the best wishes of the club.
3:45 P.M. UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser. More from that interview later. But on the topic of Paterson’s departure, what’s been said above aligns pretty well with the perspective of the club’s coach/general manager.
“The big thing for him, obviously, is he’s getting married,” Anhaeuser said. “The biggest part of it was, unfortunately, he can take care of his family a little better (in Canada). So that’s where I had to open it up.”
Paterson is a quality USL PRO midfielder who almost made the jump to MLS in 2012, and he had two years left on his contract with the Battery. Which means Anhaeuser and the front office properly expected to get something of value from Ottawa to make the deal happen. But with both the coach and the club president on the record as wanting to be flexible when it comes to working with players when situations like this arise, it’s not like Anhaeuser held all the leverage in negotiations with his Canadian counterparts.
The Battery typically don’t announce the terms for transactions, so it was no surprise that Anhaeuser declined to offer any details. But did he feel that what the club received from Ottawa was commensurate with the quality of the player the Battery gave up?
“To me, that’s hard to answer as a coach,” Anhaeuser said. “Losing a player like that, for me… I’m happy for him, and I’m hoping things go wonderfully for him and his family. Call it a small wedding gift.”
Like Falvey, Anhaeuser has known for some time that the Ottawa deal was a possibility. But he said has not yet begun the serious work of trying to replace his Scottish star.
“You never know if something like this is going to go through every time. But now I have to start addressing it,” he said. “I’ve got to look a little harder for a player who can play in the middle, who can score goals… and there aren’t a lot of players like that out there.”
The signing comes the week before Anhaeuser begins what amounts to a six-week scouting blitz that starts this weekend with college tournaments. More on that to follow…
ORLANDO HEADING TO THE SHOW?
While it’s not yet a story on MLSSoccer.com or at the USL PRO website, the Orlando Sentinel has what looks like the strongest indication yet that the Orlando City Lions will be named the 21st franchise to join MLS 2.0.
The newspaper acquired a confidential memo from the club that appears to indicate that the franchise, the city, and MLS are planning to make a major announcement in Orlando on Nov. 19.
“We have received confirmation that this date/time works for MLS senior officials,” a document from team officials to local government officials said. “Assuming it still works for the Governor and both Mayors — we would like to officially confirm the time with all parties.”
In other Orlando City news from earlier in the week, the club will vacate the Citrus Bowl in 2014 to play its games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
PHOENIX RISES FROM ITS OWN ASHES?
Reports of the death of the Phoenix Wolves FC franchise in USL PRO have been greatly exaggerated. That’s according to the league, anyway.
USL PRO News Release
Saturday, November 2, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. — Earlier this week, the ownership rights for USL PRO in Phoenix held by BDR Sports were formally terminated due to the entity’s failure to meet its franchise obligations. However contrary to published reports, Phoenix FC Wolves will continue to participate in USL PRO in 2014 under new ownership. A public announcement of the ownership group and other details related to the team will be made later this month.
Whatever could go wrong for Phoenix in its expansion year apparently did go wrong. But it’s a good market for USL PRO.
UPDATE: The local blog? Not buying that vague league statement.
Meanwhile, in Wichita…
Battery players Heviel Cordoves and Maikel Chang both played in the expansion Wichita B-52s first PASL match, but neither figured prominently in the 3-15 blowout at Dallas.
I can’t tell from the box score how many minutes the two Cubans played, but Cordoves did manage to get off a shot and commit three fouls.