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Halifax Wanderers get ready to kick off second season

The first game of 2020 will be played on the road on April 13, and the home opener goes Saturday, April 25 against the league's newest addition
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The Halifax Wanderers are gearing up for their second season in the Canadian Premier League.

The team's first game of 2020 will be played on the road on April 13 against York9 FC and the home opener goes Saturday, April 25 against the league's newest addition.

"We were really pleased with a lot of changes that were able to be made to the schedule this year thanks to having that 8th team, Atlético Ottawa, owned Atlético Madrid out if Spain," Wanderers president Derek Martin said.

"Having them in the league has really helped us create a little bit more balance in the schedule and eliminate a lot of those Wednesday night [games] we had last year that were a little chilly in May and June."

The team's schedule came out late last week and eight of the 14 league home matches will be on a Saturday this year.

The Canadian Premier League will also be changing the playoff structure away from the Spring and Fall split-season system.

"There was a winner of the first half of the year and that team played the winner of the second half of the year in the finals ... this year we went to a single season with playoffs at the end," Martin told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show. 

"Three teams out of the eight will make the playoff round with number 3 playing number 2 in the first round of the playoffs, and the winner of that playing against the team that finished first at their home field."

The Wanderers' goal is to bring that championship game home to the Wanderers Grounds in 2020 and Martin said fans can expect a lot of new faces on the field this year.

"We were forced with the tough task of rejigging the team and we had to let about 16 players go, which led to a pretty epic rebuild and we're really excited about who we brought in," he explained. "It's a much different-looking team."

"Our focus in the off-season has been on bringing in goal scorers."

Training camp opens at the BMO Soccer Centre in Clayton Park on March 2.

"We're allowed to have 23 players so we're going to leave a couple of spots open and see how those first 21 do over the course of the month-long training camp," Martin said. "Hopefully we have the right mix but if we need to add one or two after that period, we have the flexibility to do that."

The roster features some local talent, including the return of goalkeeper Christian Oxner and midfielder Scott Firth, who was still in high school when he signed with the Wanderers last season.

And Prince Edward Island's Ibrahima Sanoh has been added to the club.

"Who scored a ridiculous 101 goals in his career for Holland College over in P.E.I., so we're hoping he can bring that to the Wanderers and make us a Maritime team, not just a Nova Scotia team," Martin said.

Season ticket packages are on sale now, flex packages are a few weeks away and single tickets can be picked up closer to the start of the season.

Martin said 75 to 80 per cent of last year's home games were sell outs.

"We encourage the people who want to come and check out the great atmosphere at the grounds to get in and come join us for some fun this summer," he added.


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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