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National Premier Soccer League club FC Buffalo proved once again that it can be part of a path to the professional ranks, as Wolves attacking center midfielder Keane McIvor has signed a contract with Swedish second division club Gottne IF.

"It’s a great feeling to actually get started with something [I’ve] always wanted to do," McIvor said in a message. "Division 2 is a good place for me to start my professional career and build my profile. I am really excited to get going."

Encouraged by Robert Morris University teammates and returning FC Buffalo midfielders Jake Cooper and Bayley Winkel to spend his summer in Buffalo, McIvor seized a starting role for the 2018 Wolves once his international transfer certificate (ITC) cleared.

The Trinidad & Tobago native impressed in his debut against Cleveland SC before fully breaking out in road matches against rivals Rochester and Syracuse, converting two penalty kicks and regularly threatening through his distribution.

While McIvor was statistically productive in his time in Buffalo, perhaps his most valued traits were his fitness and work rate, as the occasionally undermanned Wolves entrusted him with heavy minutes, sometimes on back-to-back days.

While taking part in a showcase in Italy from July 16-30, just after the FC Buffalo season concluded, McIvor was contacted by an agent from Trinidad. His contact described a promising opportunity in Sweden, with Gottne IF, on which McIvor quickly followed up. Following a two-week trial with the second-division club, McIvor had earned his first professional contract.

Through 17 matches, Gottne IF sits in eighth place with a record of 7-6-4 (W-L-D), a comfortable 18 points above relegation and just 10 out of a promotion spot. According to an FC Buffalo press release, McIvor is expected to debut this weekend.

The town near Sweden's is absolutely tiny, holding roughly 225 people, but it's only a half hour from Ornskoldsvik, which boasts a population of 33,000 (roughly equal to Clarence, NY).

"It’s peaceful.. something I enjoy," McIvor remarked of his new digs. "A very quiet place, which is a good thing. [I'm] finding myself much more focused."

Several players with local ties have wound up playing pro in Sweden, including former Canisius College Griffins Alex DeCarolis, a fullback for Umea in the top tier, and John Hollinger, a goalkeeper with IFK Amal in Division 3.

Among the current and former Wolves to play professional outdoor soccer are Ian McGrath, Asani Samuels, Mike Reidy, Gary Boughton, Kendell McFayden, Matt Stedman, Dan Stevens, Peter Marlette, Russell Cicerone, Liam Callahan and Krystian Witkowski.


SOURCE: The Buffalo News