Today the Halifax Wanderers Football Club are proud to announce the signing of Canadian fullback Morey Doner to a one year contract with a club option for a second year.
After playing the past two seasons with York9 FC, Morey was granted his release to pursue an opportunity in Australia but due to COVID travel complications that opportunity was put on hold. He now arrives in Halifax as an accomplished veteran player, adding talent and depth to an impressive backline of Mateo Restrepo, Jake Ruby, Peter Schaale, Jems Geffrard and newcomer Eriks Santos.
“Over the last two seasons Morey was one of the most consistent fullbacks in the Canadian Premier League and shows a good understanding of the position, both offensively and defensively.” said Wanderers Head Coach Stephen Hart “When we learned he was available and keen to sign with us, we moved quickly to sign him as he provides leadership and balance to our squad”
Wanderers Brand Manager Dylan Lawrence continued his Wanderers Q&A series and chatted with Morey over the holiday break.
Dylan Lawrence: You’ve mentioned how much you’ve wanted to play for Stephen Hart. Can you tell me what it is about Stephen that makes you feel that way?
MD: Well a lot of people don’t know actually but I was (in contact) with Halifax before I signed with York9 FC. Me and Stephen Hart had a few talks about me going there before Jimmy Brennan got in touch with me. He was really interested in me as a player and I never really forgot that. It was something I wanted to do before I was even at York9 FC and whenever I would play Halifax, it was always in the back of my mind that this was a place that I could’ve ended up (playing) and I think being a player for Stephen, he has the ability to get the best out of the players. I really want to play for someone like that because he got the best out of his players and it really showed at the (Island Games) and I think a lot of people took notice that Stephen Hart is the real deal and he can really coach players and get the best out of them. For me, I’ve been at York9 FC for the last two years and I’m looking to take my game to the next level and this is something new; a new challenge for me. I think with a lot of players returning it’s going to be a really good spot to win a championship and I’m looking forward to it.
What was your experience like at the Wanderers Grounds when you had to play against Halifax?
MD: Well I remember I made my debut about a week before – I saw the highlights of the game against Forge FC [on May 4] and I saw the highlight of Perea scoring and running off by the stands and I just felt like ‘wow, that’s a really great atmosphere – it’s very passionate’. So you always dream as a footballer to play in a full stadium and that’s something that (HFX Wanderers) have brought to the Canadian Premier League. When I was there – you know, you get up for those big games and that’s the one you always circle on the calendar and say that ‘wow, this is going to be special’. Being involved with that gives you an extra boost in your game and I remember the fans heckling me a little – they would yell my name or give me a hard time if I made a mistake – so that was different but I think it’s great for Canadian soccer. For me as a professional, this was something special and I can’t wait to be a part of that and be on the opposite end of that. So that along with other things helped me decide this was the best place for me.
What else do you know about the city of Halifax?
MD: I actually have family out there – my cousins live just outside of Dartmouth. I’m from a small town and I think there’s that combination in Halifax of a city feel and a small city feel and the people are very nice, very welcoming. I can’t wait to meet the fans obviously but just to be in a different place. Toronto is always busy and up one pace, so I’m looking forward to being in a bit quieter area. So I think there’s a lot to offer for me in that sense. I know there’s a nice waterfront there, (in 2019) we went for ice cream down at the Harbour and walked around and it really looks like a nice place to be.
I have to ask, did you have a chance to try a donair while you were in Halifax?
MD: Well actually I haven’t tried one there but I’ve tried some in Ontario – there’s a place near my old house. But I got that nickname growing up; it was either Doner like a medical doctor or Donair Kebab.
Growing up with football, who was a player you admired and looked to emulate?
MD: Well I’m a big Manchester United fan actually – my Dad got me into soccer when I was younger. I grew up watching them and I’ve actually been over to see them three times now. I watched Patrice Evra and Gary Neville in my positions but when I really started to study football, it was Dani Alves and still is. He was kind of why I fell in love with the position because he was one of the first players to make a huge impact on me because he could change the game in both (directions). For me, I’m an attacking full-back but I take a lot of pride in the defensive side of the game – (Dani Alves) was someone I really looked up to and had a photo of him on my wall and I really wanted to emulate.
As an individual, what are you looking to bring to the Wanderers in 2021?
MD: For me it’s about being happy and I think that last year I didn’t have the best season personally. 2019 was a great year for me – I broke out and a lot of people didn’t know who I was. For me firstly, it’s to get back to that player that I was and after speaking with Stephen Hart, he really likes me as a player and he knows what I can bring to the table. The Wanderers were just short of winning a championship but I think I can add experience and a different dimension. I have a lot to offer as an attacking full-back, I give a lot to the game and I give 100% on the field whenever I can. So I think it’s a perfect fit for both sides of the coin and I just want to play for the fans – play for everyone there and hopefully the fans can be there in person this year but I know regardless of that I’ll give a lot of heart and leave it all out there. There’s a few players I’m really looking forward to playing with and I’ve already sent messages to them and everyone is really happy for me to be there. It’s now about getting to know each other on the field and look to make something special happen. It says a lot when all the guys want to come back and play for that team and that’s something I really see value in. That’s why I want to be there and I think we have a really good chance of making something special happen.