VORKUTA’S FADI SALBACK TRIALS IN UKRAINE……CSL kickoff delayed until August 15
PICTURE: FC Vorkuta striker Fadi Salback, signed in 2019 from the local community, is on trial with FC Podillya Khmelnytskyi, a Ukrainian football team based in Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Ukraine, and is included in the line-up for a high level exhibition game on August 7.
Fadi Salback’s introduction to professional soccer came in the spring of 2019 after signing for FC Vorkuta, not the easiest of entries at a time when the Vorkuta club ended its 2018 campaign securing its first professional championship title in the Canadian Soccer League First Division, and the double by winning the Second Division. The strength of both Vorkuta teams left little opportunity for young promising players to secure a place in what was suddenly considered one of the strongest teams in Canadian soccer.
But Salback had impressed the Vorkuta organization while playing for the opposition in an indoor match during the winter of 2018-19 and the CSL club was encouraged enough to offer the young Ontario Tech University striker an opportunity in the FC Vorkuta reserve team. Before coming to Canada, Salback, now 23, was a young academy player with Maccabi Haifa in Israel, known for its youth development programs.
While with FC Vorkuta during the 2019 season, Salback was also playing for the Ontario Tech University of Oshawa and was honoured at the championship banquet at Montreal when he received the U- SPORTS Rookie of the Year Award. U-SPORTS is the national governing body for university sports across Canada. He scored a record 16 goals for Ontario Tech in his first season and the all-Canadian Rookie of the Year was also named an east division first team all star. Six of Salback’s goals in 2019 were game winners.
Salback scored four goals in his 2019 CSL Second Division reserve team debut, a performance that caused a quick move to the highly regarded Vorkuta first string.
His father, Nabil Salback was a professional footballer in Israel.
The FC Vorkuta striker is now on trial with FC Podillya Khmelnytskyi, a professional Ukrainian football team based in Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Ukraine, and competes in the Ukrainian Second Division. His first test is in an exhibition match on August 7.
That a Canadian player is on trial in Ukraine is an achievement in itself. Few Canadians have had the opportunity, due primarily to a country having an abundance of talent and few open opportunities for foreign players to play in the rich, but limited Ukraine professional football structure.
“To break into European professional soccer is a great opportunity for Fadi and it’s an opportunity he deserves,” said Igor Demitchev, a Toronto lawyer and principal sponsor of the highly successful Vorkuta club. “He is certainly talented and his 2019 season experience in the tough CSL has served him well. I believe he has a great future at a high level.”
FC Vorkuta’s success since entering the CSL in 2017 is due largely to importing experienced players from Europe, but the club has also been well focused on young Canadian talent in the local community since forming in 2008 and considers Fadi Salback to be first of several in the organization to have an opportunity for high level soccer in Canada and abroad.
The Canadian Soccer League kickoff set for Saturday, August 8 is on hold has now been moved tentatively to Saturday, August 15. All games will be at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke and the abbreviated and revised schedule is expected to be released during the week of August 10.
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