Jared Ulloa is the proverbial "work-in-progress" prospect that would have any manager gleefully rubbing their hands together at the idea of coaching him. Valour FC has acquired the 18-year-old Canadian winger in a loan agreement with Club Sporting Cristal of the Peruvian Primera División, and GM and head coach Rob Gale is excited about the youngster’s upside. "He is a really interesting prospect because he’s been at the top club in Peru. He’s only 18, but he’s in and around the first squad there," Gale told CanPL.ca. "He’s a pacey, dynamic winger and he’s Canadian even though he’s spent all of his career in Peru. "That’s a real interesting one for us." Born in Piura, Peru, Ulloa’s father is Canadian. That’s an important connection for Valour and the Canadian Premier League, which is always looking to develop young talent from this country. Plus, with the increase in U-21 minutes to 1,500 for each CPL squad this coming season, finding and nurturing players from that age range is critical. There’s also this: he’s got some offensive flair to his game that could help unlock some of Valour’s attack, especially so with Fraser Aird having signed this offseason with FC Edmonton.

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"He came on our radar through a contact and network of ours," Gale said. "We were specifically looking for Canadian players that were outside the country. "It’s a position of need with Fraser leaving, plus we also wanted to add someone dynamic with pace who was looking to get in behind more. We have a lot of technical players that can pass and stretch the line, but we needed another winger with those physical attributes and capabilities. "So when he came on our radar and the fact he’s been signed and developed by one of the top clubs in Peru, we reached out with the possibility of bringing him in on loan to get first-team minutes with us." Ulloa joins what is an intriguing Valour roster being built by Gale & Co. In addition to having veterans like Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Arnold Bouka-Moutou, Stefan Cebara, Brett Levis and others, Ulloa joins an attack that has some intriguing pieces up front now in Masta Kacher, Austin Ricci, Moses Dyer and newcomer Ronny Maza. "There’s a lot of potential when you watch him," Gale said. "It’s a very physical level down there. He’s played reserve team football and they can be uncompromising defending in South America. "He likes to get face up and go one-on-one with defenders. He gets kicked a lot and what I like is he continues to do it, he continues to not shy away, but to look for the ball and look to be a constant threat in the defenders’ rear-view mirror, a pain in their backside, as it were, playing off their shoulder and that keeps defenders guessing and stretched all game because he can get the ball to feet and go 1v1 or he can stretch them in behind and use his physical quality. "He’s similar to a Michael Petrasso-style player in that sense and quite robust, too," Gale added. "He’s going to be an interesting addition and we hope he can settle quickly and show the undoubted talent he has." TIG-book-onsale-editorialad-1024x284

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