James Nielsen, Pacific FC

Josh Simpson (L) and Rob Friend (R)

Pacific Football Club (PFC) is pleased to announce the selection of UBC Thunderbird midfielder Thomas Gardner as the No. 6 draft pick from the CPL-U SPORTS draft following the 2018 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship at UBC in Vancouver, BC. Overall, three players have been invited to PFC’spreseason camp in early 2019.

PFC had the sixth, ninth and 20th draft picks. The club’s selected players have been invited to participate in preseason camp with the opportunity to sign either with a Standard Developmental Contract for non-graduating student-athletes wishing to preserve their eligibility or a Pro Contract for graduating seniors.

Gardner, a North Vancouver native, recently wrapped up a standout rookie year with the Thunderbirds, becoming the first player in Canada West history to receive both the Canada West Rookie of the Year as well as the Player of the Year awards in the same season.  

“I think he’s the best player in U SPORTS because of his technical ability and his intelligence,” said Pacific FC assistant coach James Merriman of the first-year midfielder. “He’s able to come out of difficult situations under control and composed.

“Tommy already knows where he wants to go next before he receives it. He shows high intelligence that’s complemented by his technical ability. I see a lot of potential in him.”

PFC also selected third-year Thunderbird forward Zach Verhoven with the club’s second pick (ninth overall), as well as first-year UBC midfielder Nick Fussell with it’s third pick (20th overall). 

“We’re familiar with these players. I’ve worked with them and watched them progress,” added Merriman. “There were a few other very interesting players in the draft but we’re happy with the players we got.

“They connect with what we want to do at Pacific FC — which is build a west coast club that connects with our communities.”

The truly unique partnership between the Canadian Premier League and U SPORTS gives top Canadian university players an opportunity to play professional soccer while continuing to maintain their education and university sports eligibility.


Founded in 2018, Pacific Football Club is bringing professional football to Vancouver Island. Playing out of a renovated, 6000-seat Westhills Stadium in Langford, the club will provide an outlet for Canadian youth to realize their dreams of playing at the professional level. Fans will be able to enjoy the thrilling, fast-paced sporting atmosphere associated with the sport when the Canadian Premier League season kicks off in April, 2019.

Pacific FC is accepting membership deposits ahead of the CPL’s inaugural season. Visit PacificFootball.Club for more information and CanPL.ca for the latest CPL news.