Bustos, Irving wave goodbye to Pacific FC

Marco Bustos takes on water during Pacific FC’s playoff game against Atletico Ottawa at Starlight Stadium in Langford on Sunday (Oct. 16). (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)Marco Bustos takes on water during Pacific FC’s playoff game against Atletico Ottawa at Starlight Stadium in Langford on Sunday (Oct. 16). (Simon Fearn/Black Press Media)
Pacific FC head coach James Merriman hugs Gianni dos Santos after the game. Merriman is up for Coach of the Year in his first season leading PFC. (Simon Fearn/Black Press)Pacific FC head coach James Merriman hugs Gianni dos Santos after the game. Merriman is up for Coach of the Year in his first season leading PFC. (Simon Fearn/Black Press)
Vancouver FC announced the signing of free agent goalkeeper Callum Irving on Dec. 14, making the native of Vancouver the first player to ink a deal in club history. (Vancouver Football Club)Vancouver FC announced the signing of free agent goalkeeper Callum Irving on Dec. 14, making the native of Vancouver the first player to ink a deal in club history. (Vancouver Football Club)

The crowds at Starlight Stadium have likely seen Marco Bustos’ silky skills for the last time, as Pacific FC announced the diminutive dribbler is leaving the club.

Bustos is following fellow stalwarts Gianni dos Santos and goalkeeper Callum Irving out the door in recent days, as PFC’s off-season refresh continues.

PFC’s no. 10 arrived on the Island ahead of the 2020 Canadian Premier League season. The 26-year-old made 63 appearances over three seasons for Pacific, scoring 15 goals and laying on 17 assists in all competitions.

“I believe Marco has progressed every season since coming to our team, he has developed on and off the field to become a complete player,” PFC head coach James Merriman said in a statement. “He’s been an important player in our success as a club and we wish him the very best in his career.”

In a statement posted to Twitter, Bustos thanked the club, fans and his teammates for the past three years.

“In the end, not only did we make history by winning the club’s first-ever championship, but I evolved on a personal level as well.”

Bustos’ destination is not yet confirmed – he had been on trial with Toronto FC last year.

dos Santos is in a similar boat, with his exit announced without a set destination for next season. The winger made his debut for the Cape Verde national team last season and scored some key goals for Pacific FC, including the last-second tying goal in the club’s CONCACAF League round of 16 tie against Costa Rican side C.S. Herediano.

Irving doesn’t have far to travel, with the goalkeeper heading to the mainland to join the newly formed club Vancouver FC.

A Metro Vancouver native, he made 69 appearances in all competitions for Pacific FC over three seasons, tied for the most career appearances in the club’s history. His 22 career clean sheets are a franchise record, and his 12 clean sheets in all competitions in 2022 set the club’s single-season mark.

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