Valour FC announced on Monday that two players from the 2021 squad will be back in 2022, with fullbacks Andy Baquero and Federico Peña both returning for the upcoming Canadian Premier League campaign. Baquero, a 27-year-old from Havana, Cuba, signed for the Winnipeg club very shortly before the 2021 season kicked off last June. He went on to make 23 appearances for the side, playing the fourth-most minutes on the team with 1,830. He played primarily at right-back for Valour, though occasionally venturing further upfield in a wide midfield role. He has represented Cuba at the senior international level 27 times, including at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup and Concacaf Nations League, suiting up against Canada twice.
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Peña, meanwhile, is a Valour FC original, having played for the club in all three years of its history. The 22-year-old was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, but he spent most of his youth in Winnipeg and developed as a player in local programs including South End United and Bonivital SC. He had brief stints in Belgium with the youth teams of Genk and Standard Liège in 2017 and 2018, but Peña ultimately returned to Winnipeg to sign his first professional contract with Valour. With 40 games played for Valour, Peña is second all-time in appearances for the club. In 2021 he played 26 matches, splitting his time between right and left fullback positions, for the most part. Peña also made his senior international debut in February 2021, accepting a call-up to represent Trinidad and starting at right-back in a match against the United States. With Baquero and Peña officially returning, Valour now have 11 players confirmed for the 2022 roster. So far, eight players from the 2021 squad are officially coming back, with three new (or familiar) faces -- Diego Gutíerrez, Jonathan Esparza, and Matteo De Brienne -- joining them.