Former Humber Hawk Marcos Nunes has traded blue and gold for Toronto FC red as a newly signed midfielder for the Toronto FC II farm team.
The opportunity has taken off nearly as fast as the blazing speed that Nunes is known for. The midfielder signed his United Soccer League contract on March 27 shortly before traveling to Montreal for TFC II’s game against rival Montreal FC the following day. Nunes started in his debut and scored in the ‘37 minute in the 2-0 victory.
Nunes has been in the organization since signing with the TFC Senior Academy team last June where he produced 11 goals in League1 play. Prior to joining the Academy he played for one season in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina for division one NK Travnik.
The 22-year-old Brampton native brings along a packed resume from his Humber days. From 2012-2014 the Hawks went 19-2-0 and won two provincial and national championships, becoming the fifth program in CCAA history to repeat as national champions. The rookie was named a CCAA All-Star and led the team in goals and points. Then he missed all but the last game of the 2013-2014 regular season to injury but still managed to score a goal when he was subbed in for the final minutes of that game. But his nationals performance was off the charts with three goals in two matches, two in the semis and one in the finals, and eventually was named the Most Valuable Player of the CCAA National Championships.
Both of Nunes' former Humber coaches Germain Sanchez and Rick Fonseca said Nunes has maintained a strong relationship with them. Fonseca, who first scouted Nunes, added that they speak on a weekly basis. Throughout his collegiate career Fonseca states that he believes Nunes is the best amateur player he's ever seen and is glad that Nunes' hard work is starting to pay off. "In the bigger picture of things he has a better opportunity here," Fonseca admits. "Being in Bosnia is probably harder to be looked at". But Fonseca said he is confident that his former player will get a chance to crack the professional roster. "I spoke with him before and after his first game and he said he has the ability to make it, he just needed the opportunity. If he gets a fair look he's got a good chance."
Sanchez agrees. "I don't think he's far," Sanchez said. "But when I spoke to him I told him 'the door just opened slightly, it's up to you to enter the big place". In Sanchez's eyes Nunes has all the tools he needs and then some. "He's very fast, strong, heads the ball well and does something that's very rare even in the pro's, he can hit the ball hard with both feet," Sanchez explained.
This isn't the first time Humber has had a player move on to the professional and semi-professional stage. Sanchez remembers about a handful of players that have played in Greece, for the Toronto Lynx, the Montreal Impact and even the U20 Canadian National team. But Nunes' signing is very significant to Sanchez and to Humber. "TFC is a big time institution, you're talking about national team players from the U.S., Canada and Italy, playing all over North America and even exhibitions against Real Madrid, " Sanchez .
Humber's brand of soccer has been gaining notice since the pair of national titles. Sanchez recalls an invitation to play against the TFC Academy, one that Nunes didn't play in due to injury. But in a press release, Toronto FC II Head Coach Jason Bent highlights the program's impact stating that “[Nunes] has experienced some success early in his young career while playing at Humber. We have no doubt Marcos will be a welcomed addition to the team.” If that's not an indicator of success on both Nunes' and Humber's part, who knows what is.