Halifax Wanderers sign former CF Montreal homegrown player Tomas Giraldo

Midfielder Tomas Giraldo is shown in action for Canada on May 2, 2019, at the CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship in Bradenton, Florida. Halifax Wanderers have signed teenage midfielder Giraldo to a one-year contract with club options for 2024 and 2025. (HO-Canada Soccer/CP)

Halifax Wanderers have signed teenage midfielder Tomas Giraldo to a one-year contract with club options for 2024 and 2025.

Giraldo, who signed with Montreal as a homegrown player in June 2020, was sidelined last July after undergoing surgery on his foot following a fracture suffered in training.

The MLS side opted not to exercise its contract option on the 19-year-old after last season when Giraldo was the inaugural recipient of the Jason Di Tullio Trophy, awarded in recognition of the player who best embodied the “fiery and fighting spirit” shown by the former Montreal player and assistant coach, who died in July of cancer.

The award is voted on by CF Montreal’s first team roster.

“Tomas has exceeded at every level that he’s been at with Montreal, and the fact that he got a first-team deal there at a young age speaks volumes about his abilities and mental strength,” Wanderers head coach Patrice Gheisar said in a statement. “He’s a midfielder capable of breaking up plays and helping us win possession.” 

Born in Medellín, Colombia, Giraldo was eight when his family moved to Canada. He joined Montreal’s academy in 2015, eventually becoming the 20th player to sign a homegrown deal with the first team.

Giraldo, who played for Canada at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil, is Halifax’s second U-21 signing ahead of the 2023 season after Canadian under-20 forward Tiago Coimbra. 

In other CPL news, Atletico Ottawa has signed Canadian midfielder Noah Verhoeven to a two-year contract.

Verhoeven arrives from York United FC, whom he joined in February 2021 after spending time with Pacific FC.

Verhoeven, born in Surrey, B.C., started his career at Surrey United and the Vancouver Whitecaps academy, eventually rising through the ranks to play for Whitecaps 2 and Fresno FC. He joined Pacific ahead of its inaugural CPL season in 2019.

Verhoeven earned a call-up to the Canada national team training camp under head coach John Herdman in 2019.

“We’re thrilled to have Noah join our club,” Atletico CEO Fernando Lopez said in a statement. “He’s a talented player with a lot of potential and we believe he’ll be a valuable addition to our squad. Noah will bring a different dynamic to our midfield and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action for Atletico Ottawa.”

York United has re-signed Canadian forward Michael Petrasso on a one-year deal.

The 27-year-old made 13 appearances last season, despite an injury sustained in the second game that sidelined him until mid-July.

In 2021, Petrasso had three goals and seven assists across 24 appearances in all competitions before going out on loan to Barnet FC of England’s fifth-tier National League where he scored eight times in 30 appearances and was chosen player of the year by the club’s supporters.

“I’m delighted that Mikey returns for a fourth season with us,” York CEO and GM Angus McNab said in a statement.

“He has performed in big moments and we really believe that he can be a very important player for us in 2023. Last season was certainly frustrating for him but we all feel that he will be back stronger this year. There’s no doubt that a fit and highly motivated Michael Petrasso is one of the most dangerous players in the league.”

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