Wed, Oct


It's Goodbye HFX Wanderers FC for Elton John.

The Canadian Premier League club says John, the soccer player not the rock star, is one of 16 veterans of its inaugural season who won't be back in 2020. 

The Halifax club made headlines last January when it signed the 32-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international — with most of the attention coming because of his name.

"I get that a lot,'' John, whose full name is Elton David Wallace John,  said in an April interview with The Canadian Press. "I got that a lot as a kid growing up. It's OK with me now.

"It's easy for me to get in the spotlight if I really think about it. I'm kind of piggy-backing off his name. But it's two different characters. He's a great singer, obviously. And I'm still trying to make a name for myself as well.''

John, a midfielder-defender who played in 18 regular-season games in 2019, and fellow Trinidad and Tobago natives Jan-Michael Williams, Akeem Garcia and Andre Rampersad were the Halifax club's first overseas signings.

The Trinidad connection is strong on the Halifax team thanks to Trinidad-born head coach Stephen Hart, who has coached both the Canada and Trinidad national teams. Wanderers assistant coach Derek King was part of Hart's coaching staff in Trinidad and was a club coach.

Williams, who made 12 starts in goal for Halifax last season, is making the move to goalkeeping coach this season with the club. 

Halifax recently re-signed German centre back Peter Schaale, saying he was the last of the returnees from the 2019 roster.

Other players not coming back are Matthew Arnone, Andre Bona, Juan Diego Gutierrez, Chakib Hocine, Kodai Iida, Mohamed Kourouma, Vincent Lamy, Ndzemdzela Langwa, Duran Lee, Kouame Ouattara, Luis Alberto Perea, Elliot Simmons, Tomasz Skublak, Zachary Sukunda and Abd-El-Aziz Yousef.

"We sincerely thank each of these players for the contributions they made to our club. They will be forever the first Wanderers and each one of them holds a special place in the history of our club and in the hearts of our fans," club president Derek Martin said in a statement Saturday.

"We wish these young men every success as they continue on their respective paths and look forward to welcoming them back into The Kitchen when their travels bring them back to Halifax."

SOURCE: The Canadian Press