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Belizean Eugene ‘Pele’ Martinez to play in Canada Premier League with expansion team Vancouver FC

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2023. 11:19 am CST.

Photo Courtesy: Vancouver FC

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Canadian club Vancouver FC announced the signing of Belizean Eugene ‘Pele’ Martinez on Wednesday.

Martinez, who is from Dangriga, was signed by expansion club Vancouver FC (VFC), the eighth and newest club in Canadian Premier League (CPL) Tier 1, after attending open trials (combine).

“It is a dream come true to join Vancouver and continue my playing career as a professional,” said Martinez according to Vancouver FC.

“I believe in my ability and look forward to proving myself within my new team and within the Canadian Premier League.”

“Pele impressed me immediately with his athleticism and personality,” said Afshin Ghotbi, Vancouver FC Head Coach.

“A great character in the locker room, Pele makes everyone better around him. He is a born leader who will soon be a fan favourite in the CPL.”

Twenty-five-year-old Martinez is a right footed centre-back from Dangriga, Belize. He played four games for the Belize Men’s National Team last year in the Concacaf Nations League B and is expected to be called for the remaining two games Belize have in March.

Prior to joining VFC, Martinez played for the California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) Pomona Broncos NCAA Division II men’s soccer team in the United States. Six-foot tall Martinez, who was at Cal Poly Pomona on a scholarship, made 32 appearances for the Broncos during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Before Cal Poly, he had been at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California from 2018. He also played for the L.A. Wolves FC in the United Premier Soccer League in 2018.

“Martinez is also the owner and founder of Pele Soccer Foundation in Belize, which provides youth with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of soccer, collects new clothes and equipment to ensure they can play and instills the importance of education,” Vancouver FC said.

Martinez played for Wagiya, Bandits (now Internacional Fútbol Club), and the Belize Defence Force (BDF) in the Premier League of Belize from 2015 to 2018.

Martinez should play his first official game with Vancouver FC in the Canadian Premier League away to Pacific on Saturday, April 15.

Vancouver will play out of the Willoughby Community Park at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, British Columbia.


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