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WorldWide Wanderers: Getting to know Halifax Wanderers

Our WorldWide team have been getting to know another of the WorldWide Wanderers: Halifax Wanderers from Canada!

4 March 2021

We hope this is the start of a growing friendship between our two clubs and we look forward to checking in on them again soon.

Our History
In December 2016, Sports & Entertainment Atlantic owner Derek Martin met with Canadian Premier League officials to discuss launching a franchise in Halifax. Martin pitched the idea of a pop-up stadium to Halifax City Councillors in March 2017, and approval was given three months later. On May 5, 2018, Halifax was one of four groups accepted by the Canadian Soccer Association for professional club membership. The Grounds were built in a modular fashion with two stands, several standing bars and an innovative use of shipping containers to serve as suites for corporate partners.

HFX Wanderers FC was officially unveiled on May 25, 2018, as the third team to join the Canadian Premier League. As well as confirming their place in the league for the 2019 launch season, the club also revealed their crest, colours and branding.

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The league launched in 2019 with a stated goal of creating a platform for young Canadians to play at a higher level while creating a formalized system for getting identified for the National Team Program.  There is a minimum of 15 Canadian players in a squad of 23 and there are mandated minutes for U 21 Canadian players.

On July 28, 2018, HFX Wanderers FC fielded an Atlantic Selects team to play a friendly against Fortuna Düsseldorf's under-21 squad at Wanderers Grounds. The Atlantic Selects won on penalties after a 2–2 score in regulation time. The official attendance was 4,809. The ground was laid to start selling season tickets and building a club. 

They played their first league game on April 28, 2019, in 1–0 away loss to Pacific FC. The club's first home game was May 4, 2019 a massive 2-1 victory with T&T attacker Akeem Garcia scoring the club's first goal and South American striker Luis Perea scoring the game winner over Hamilton in front of 6,200 fans. 



Our stated mission is to bring the community together through sport.

Our Name
The club name was chosen virtually from the beginning inspired by the famous grounds at Halifax commons, and by the supporters who adopted the moniker almost immediately. By virtue of its Atlantic coast location, the club will be “wandering” farther than most.

As stated on the official website of Nova Scotia, “It’s not an exaggeration to say Halifax, a city on the sea, owes its existence to the Citadel.” It is in acknowledgement of this strong history that the globally unique shape of the Halifax Citadel is used as the foundation for this crest.

Officially named Fort George, the current Citadel was completed in 1856. It’s distinctive star shape is typical of 19th century British garrisons.

The Macdonald Bridge opened in 1955 and for the first time in the Province’s history, Dartmouth and Halifax gained access to 24/7 travel across the Halifax Harbour. This bridge will be used by supporters from the Dartmouth region on match day and represent a unity between supporters from across both sides of the harbour.

The harbour has inspired the club. The club motto Ar Cala, Ar Dachaigh, Ar n-Anam means: “Our Harbour, Our Home, Our Soul” in Gaelic.

A city shaped by the ocean, the club’s features the Atlantic represented with a ‘W’ weave in honour of the historic Wanderers name.

An anchor sits at the base of the crest to represent the region’s proud nautical history.

Our Players
After coming in last place in the league table in 2019, the club reset our roster as many were on one year contracts. We retained only eight players from the year and built an updated squad with a better shot at competing. Many of our players came through the Montreal Impact youth system and many have Canadian National team caps at the youth level. We had three homegrown players in the 2020 squad, including Christian Oxner, Scott Firth and Luke Green. The club has looked beyond Canadian border to recruit top quality players, including two Trinidiadians, one Jamaican, one Haitian, one German, one Brit and two Brazilians. This year the club launched an Under 23 team that will play friendlies against travelling teams.

Our Manager
Head Coach and General Manager, Stephen Hart, managed the Canadian National Team for four years after coaching at all levels of the youth system. In 2013, Hart took over the Trinidad & Tobago National team from 2013-2016.

Our Motto
The harbour has inspired the club. The club motto Ar Cala, Ar Dachaigh, Ar n-Anam means: “Our Harbour, Our Home, Our Soul” in Gaelic.  

Our Fans
Consistently selling out the Wanderers Grounds in our inaugural year, the fans were devastated having no live matches in 2020.

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There are two main groups of supporters; The Privateers 1882 and the Block 108 Ultras. They generally sit in the area of the Wanderers Grounds known as The Kitchen, which is well-known for the Kitchen Party vibe. There is a move to create a family friendly supporters group for 2021. These groups have been crucial to our development. 

Three-Part Documentary Series

In 2020, a three-part documentary series was created about the start of the club and league.

Biggest Matches
Lost in the league final of the 2020 season, 2-0 to Hamilton Forge. The league winner is entered in the CONCACAF Champions League so it is a huge opportunity to test quality versus teams from Haiti, Panama and others. The 2020 season (11 matches in total) was played in a Bubble on Prince Edward Island (Canada's smallest province).

In 2019 the Wanderers were second best in a close two-legged competition with the Ottawa Fury (former USL club) 5-4 in the Canadian Championship Quarter-Final.    

Recognition
2020 Golden Boot Winner - Akeem Garcia (6 goals in 11 matches)
2020 Coach of the Year - Stephen Hart

Global Supporters Clubs
In the summer of 2020 the club had correspondence from around the world. In an effort to build a global following, the club created their global supporters program. The club now has supporters groups in the USA, Canada, UK, with more to come in Scandinavia, New South Wales, Trinidad & Tobago and Chile. Join us in supporting your second favorite Wanderers club. Games can be streamed through Onesoccer.ca.

Follow us @hfxwanderersfc on all channels, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & YouTube.

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