OTTAWA - Ottawa Fury FC have added their first new signing ahead of the club’s sixth season by bringing in Haitian Christiano François, the club announced on Monday. The playing rights of François were bought by Ottawa from rival USL Championship Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, who had exercised their contract option earlier in November, for an undisclosed amount, pending league and federation approval.
“We’re excited to include François in the group for next season,” said Julian de Guzman, Ottawa Fury FC General Manager. “He has great qualities we’ve been searching for in a winger. He can score, he can create and his ability to take players on is among the best you’ll find in the USL Championship. This is exactly what we’re looking for in a difference maker for this club.”
The 25-year-old attacking midfield/winger spent the 2018 season with Pittsburgh where he started 28 of the 32 matches he featured in, amassing over 2,400 minutes of play, four goals and five assists as his club made its way to the USL playoffs. François was also Pittsburgh’s leader in key passes for the season, setting up his teammates for a 3rd rank finish in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m happy to join the Ottawa Fury FC family,” commented François following the signing. “I’m looking forward to meeting everyone. I chose Ottawa because of the environment it provides, and I’ve always had love for Canada! I know I can fit in the system, the way the team plays, and I hope to take the team to the playoffs this season and hopefully win a championship – that’s my goal.”
Prior to joining the Riverhounds, François played for the Rochester Rhinos in 2017, where he led the team with six assists despite playing only 12 games (10 starts) due to injury. He also added a goal to give him eight points on the season and earned a start in both of the Rhinos’ 2017 postseason matches.
François made the jump to the professional ranks on January 24, 2014, when D.C. United selected François via a waiver draft. He did not make an appearance for the MLS-side squad and was loaned to the Richmond Kickers, where he scored one goal in 10 games played. He went on to also play with Ironbound Soul SC of the American Soccer League (four goals in 10 appearances), as well as in Portugal for second-division sides Felgueiras 1932 (three goals in 26 appearances) in 2015-16, and SC Vila Real (one goal in 14 games) in 2015.
Before turning pro, François played at the University of Maryland from 2012-13. As a freshman, he played in all 24 games and totalled five goals and four assists on 35 shots. He redshirted his sophomore campaign before leaving Maryland for the waiver draft. At this time, François also had short stints for the Central Jersey Spartans and Baltimore Bohemians, both of USL League Two.
The Cabaret, Haiti, native attended St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey, where he played prep soccer for two seasons. Racking up 44 goals and 22 assists in addition to leading his team to a state title in 2011-12, he was named Gatorade New Jersey Boys Soccer Player of the Year and The Star-Ledger’s Prep Player of the Year. In total, François recorded 60 goals and 41 assists over two seasons at St. Benedict’s.
On the international stage, François has featured three times with the Haiti Youth National Teams, most recently representing his country in the 2015 Olympic qualifying campaign.
2019 Fury FC roster breakdown
Forwards (1): François
Midfielders (4): Dixon*, Gagnon-Laparé*, Mannella*, Oliveira
Defenders (4): Attakora*, Haworth*, Obasi, Tissot*
Goalkeepers (1): Monsalve*
* denotes Canadian player
Ottawa Fury FC will take to the field for the 2019 USL Championship season starting the weekend of March 8-10. Fans can join the Fury FC Family right away by purchasing a season membership, or with the new Fury+ which gets them access to all regular season home matches for only $30 per month per seat! For more information on Fury+ and other season membership options and perks, visit OttawaFuryFC.com/Fury-plus.