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Young unknown signs to Langley’s pro soccer team

Squamish native Joey Buchanan joins Vancouver Football Club on a development contract
For the second year running, Vancouver Football Club have signed a young Lower Mainland player out of their open trials.This time it’s Squamish’s own Joey Buchanan. (Beau Chevalier, VFC/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Another young player, previously not on Vancouver Football Club’s radar, has been signed to the Langley-based pro soccer team.

And, it’s all thanks to the team’s open try-outs or trials held last month at the Willoughby Stadium.

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Vancouver FC signed 16-year-old Squamish native Joey Buchanan to a development contract just ahead of the 2024 Canadian Premier League (CPL) season – which started for VFC last weekend.

This is the second consecutive year Vancouver has scouted and signed at least one player out of open trials, continuing the club’s commitment to developing young local talent, said head coach Afshin Ghotbi.

“We are very proud to have identified a young, talented player from B.C. through our open trials for the second year in a row,” he said.

“Finding players such as Joey proves that there are still many talented gems in the B.C. football community who need pathways, such as combines, to be discovered.”

Buchanan plays for Burnaby FC and will represent the club’s B.C. Soccer Premier League (BCSPL) team and newly-established League1 BC squad, which will serve as Vancouver’s affiliate club for downward player movement this season.

He is eligible to sign two development contracts in a single CPL season.

In signing this development contract, Buchanan is eligible to train full time with Vancouver and may appear in up to three CPL games, while maintaining his amateur status and place on Burnaby FC’s roster.

The team has only played two games so far this season, and Buchanan was not among those on the pitch – yet.

The midfielder began playing soccer with his local youth club in Squamish before representing Mountain FC and North Vancouver FC.

Buchanan joined Burnaby FC, which was created through the amalgamation of five local clubs including Mountain, for the 2023 season – where he won both the B.C. provincial championship and the Under-17 boys national championship under head coach Todd May.

“Joey immediately showed personality, confidence, and a great presence as a central defender,” said Ghotbi.

“He also possesses the ability to participate in the build up and maintenance of possession football. We are looking forward to seeing his development throughout this season.”

Any game minutes Buchanan plays in 2024 will contribute to Vancouver’s league-mandated 2,000 domestic under-21 minutes tally.

Buchanan becomes the eighth domestic under-21 player signed to VFC’s master roster, joining defenders Tyler Crawford, Anthony White, James Cameron, Elage Bah, and Matteo Campagna; midfielder Grady McDonnell; and forward Taryck ‘T.J.’ Tahid.

Buchanan also becomes the 13th B.C.-born player signed to Vancouver’s squad this season.

The Howe Sound Secondary student joins goalkeeper Callum Irving; defenders Kadin Chung, White, Cameron, Paris Gee, David Norman, and Campagna; midfielders Ben Fisk, McDonnell, Zach Verhoven, and Thomas Powell; and forward Tahid as hometown athletes.

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