Pacific FC defender Lukas MacNaughton is moving up the soccer ladder.
A key member of PFC’s Canadian Premier League championship team this past season, MacNaughton has signed with MLS team Toronto FC, a move that marks his return to the city in which he played university soccer.
Born in New York and raised in Belgium, MacNaughton played for University of Toronto for five years and signed his first professional contract with Pacific FC in March 2019. He made a total of 59 appearances for the Langford-based team.
“Thank you to the organization for taking a chance on me, the fans for always showing their support, and my teammates for making the last three years an absolute pleasure,” MacNaughton said in a statement on the club’s Facebook page. “I’ll be playing in red now, but a part of my heart will always be purple.”
Pacific FC CEO Rob Friend said despite losing a key player, the club is celebrating MacNaughton’s accomplishment.
“This is something we envisioned as a club and something we want to continue to do: develop players and move them onto a higher level,” he said in a previous post.
MacNaughton is just the second player to make the move from the CPL to Major League Soccer, after Cavalry FC defender Joel Waterman signed with the Montreal Impact in 2019.
It’s been an off-season of changes for Pacific FC.
Following the departure of CPL coach of the year Pa Modou-Kah for North Texas SC in the MLS Next pro league, the club announced that Island soccer product James Merriman would be taking over as head coach for 2022.
Beside MacNaughton’s move, Terran Campbell (CPL most valuable player candidate) and Alessandro Hojabrpour (CPL under-21 player of the year) joined Hamilton-based Forge FC.
"Thank you to the organization for taking a chance on me, the fans for always showing their support, and my teammates for making the last three years an absolute pleasure. I’ll be playing in red now but a part of my heart will always be purple." - Lukas MacNaughton 💜 pic.twitter.com/WBTdxAD7gv— Pacific FC (@Pacificfccpl) January 25, 2022