Vancouver FC add international wingers Nicky Gyimah and Min-jae Kwak
Vancouver FC have added international wingers Nicky Gyimah and Min-jae Kwak ahead of the club’s inaugural season in the Canadian Premier League (CPL).
Gyimah, 19, will lean on his experience from the English game as he begins his first season in the CPL. The teenage native of London, England, who also played for Ghana as a youth international, previously represented storied club Sunderland A.F.C. at the under-23 level, where he scored one goal in 10 games. Gyimah has also appeared for Peterborough United and Slough Town F.C. in the English soccer system.
“I am ready to officially get underway with Vancouver FC,” said Gyimah. “I am grateful for the chance Vancouver is taking on me and I am eager to get going for the team.”
The opportunity with Vancouver marks Gyimah’s first time playing professionally overseas, and he is expected to bring his pace, his direct, attacking style of play and his leadership to the right side of Head Coach Afshin Ghotbi’s squad.
“We are thrilled to introduce to the CPL an exciting winger with pace, creativity and precision in the danger area,” said Ghotbi. “He definitely will be a fan favourite with his ability to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.”
Kwak, 22, becomes the second Korean-born player to play in the CPL, after midfielder Son Yong-Chan represented FC Edmonton in 2019 and 2020.
Kwak, a native of Suwon in South Korea’s Gyeonggi-do province, has spent the past two years playing in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), the third tier of professional soccer in the United States. He scored four goals and added an assist for AC Syracuse Pulse in 2022, following a 2021 season when he scored four goals for California United Strikers FC. Kwak grew up in the California soccer academy system as a youth player, after moving from South Korea to the United States at a young age. He made a stop in Croatia as a 19-year-old with HNK Gorica, before returning to the United States and the NISA.
“I am happy and thankful to be joining Vancouver,” said Kwak. “I grew up on the west coast and am looking forward to continuing my career here, if a little further north. I am committed to doing everything I can to help my new team win right away.”
A left winger, Kwak was named to the 2022 NISA Best XI. He was honoured in part for his contributions to the scoresheet, but it was his ability to start scoring plays from deeper-lying positions on the field that made Kwak stand out most amongst his peers. His pace, versatility and dynamic style are just a few of the traits that contribute to Kwak’s touted potential.
“South Korean football produces great footballers, and Minjae embodies most of the qualities South Korean players are famous for: industrial, explosive and technical,” said Ghotbi. “Minjae is capable with both feet and can both score and put his teammates in scoring positions.”
Gyimah and Kwak join strikers Mamadou Kane, Nathanial St. Louis and Shaan Hundal, midfielders Gael Sandoval, Elliot Simmons, Gabriel Bitar, Maël Henry, Cristian Mares and Nima Moazeni Zadeh, defenders Kadin Chung, Pele Martinez, Rocco Romeo, Marcus Simmons, Kahlil John-Wentworth and Tyler Crawford and goalkeepers Callum Irving and Jeremy Zielinski on Vancouver’s roster.