Pacific FC today announced defender Jalen Watson will join its backline on loan from Toronto FC II through the end of the 2023 Canadian Premier League (CPL) season.

Toronto FC selected Watson, 23, with the 32nd overall pick in last December’s 2023 MLS SuperDraft. The native of Mississauga, Ont. went on to sign an MLS NEXT Pro contract with Toronto FC II, his first professional deal, in March 2023. He appeared in two matches for TFC II this season.

“Jalen is an intelligent defender who can play at centre or left back,” said James Merriman, Head Coach, Pacific FC. “He brings a good character and will make a great addition to our team.”

Watson drew interest from his hometown Major League Soccer club during a stellar college career at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), where he made 59 all-time appearances, starting all but seven of those matches. He was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2019, earned Academic All-Big Ten honours in 2020 and 2021 and was included in the Big Ten All-Tournament Team his senior year in 2022, after starting 16 matches that season.

The loan to Pacific marks a reunion for Watson and Tridents head coach Merriman, who previously worked together in the Vancouver Whitecaps FC academy. Watson joined the Whitecaps FC residency program in August 2017 after playing his youth soccer with Erin Mills Soccer Club in Mississauga. He represented the club in U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) competition for two seasons before beginning his collegiate career.

Watson will be tasked with helping Pacific FC maintain its spot at the top of the CPL table through the Trident’s final nine regular season matches. He will be available for selection as Pacific takes on Vancouver FC in the BC Derby this Saturday, Aug. 9 at 1 p.m. PT at Willoughby Community Park Stadium in Langley, BC.