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Steven Ferguson reveals Canadian connections put Victor Loturi on Ross County’s radar several years ago

Ross County midfielder Victor Loturi. Image: SNS
Ross County midfielder Victor Loturi. Image: SNS

Ross County’s successful pursuit of Victor Loturi is one that could have come to fruition several years ago.

Canadian midfielder Loturi joined the Staggies on a three-year deal earlier this summer as part of Malky Mackay’s summer recruitment drive.

Loturi’s performances for previous club Cavalry FC put him on the radar of Staggies’ head of recruitment Enda Barron.

But the 21-year-old was no stranger to Staggies chief executive Steven Ferguson.

During his previous role as co-manager alongside Stuart Kettlewell, Ferguson welcomed a number of Cavalry officials to Dingwall while the Canadian Premier League were on a trip to Scotland.

The idea of a working partnership between the two clubs was floated, which was stopped in its tracks by the Covid pandemic.

During the exchange County became aware of a number of Cavalry’s young prospects, including a then teenage Loturi.

Ferguson says that made it all the more satisfying to get the deal over the line this time around.

He said: “When the Victor one came around, it was like it was meant to be.

“Enda had flagged up Victor Loturi. We have our meetings regularly and when the name came up we recognised it.

Young Canadian midfielder Victor Loturi signed for Ross County from FC Cavalry of the Canadian Premier League. Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson said the Staggies were aware of Loturi from before the pandemic.
Victor Loturi

“It actually stems back to pre-Covid when Stuart Kettlewell and I had Calvary’s owner, manager and director of football over. We were looking at trying to create some sort of partnership.

“It went on the backburner because of Covid, but when this came up Victor was one of the names that was highlighted.

“We were aware of Victor when he was a young player, even before he was playing first team games.

“Since Covid he has ended up playing 30 or 40 games in that period, so it was a different type of Victor we were speaking about. We had been looking at a younger version.

“It all kind of joined together. I already had a really good relationship with their manager, while Enda and Malky had identified him as a player of interest.

“The communications from then on were really simple and smooth.”

Canadian market has given County chance to cast net wider

Loturi has been joined at Dingwall by his brother William Akio, who was drafted in from Cavalry’s Canadian Premier League rivals Valour FC.

William Akio in action for Ross County against East Fife.

The foray into the Canadian market signals County’s intent to branch further afield in their search for players.

Ferguson added: “When we were looking at how we would do things differently moving forward, one of the big things was trying to cast our net a little bit wider.

“A lot of clubs of a similar size fish in the same sort of pond. We just wanted to give ourselves the best opportunity to fish in a bigger pond.

“In terms of Canada, we obviously had good success with Harry Paton and Ben Paton coming.

“Regarding the type and character of players, we felt that North American profile was a decent fit to our league and the way we wanted to play.

Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson.

“It’s not that it has not been done before, people have been looking to cast their net wider for years and will forevermore.

“For us here, we feel that there are good players across there who are within our budget.

“We have come across Victor and William who we feel fit into our structure and culture, and the profile of player we are looking to try and bring to the club.

“They are hungry, and they see it as a brilliant opportunity to play in Europe and further their own careers.

“That makes it a really good fit.”

Admin staff have pulled out all the stops to get deals over the line

Ferguson paid tribute to the Staggies’ backroom staff for their role in ensuring the Staggies succeeded in the complicated process of recruiting players from overseas.

Ferguson added: “The problem is when you are taking in players from outside the UK, they need a visa application. They need to go through a governing body endorsement panel, which we have managed to do.

“Enda Barron, Fiona MacBean and all the people behind the admin put a really robust document together, regarding the reasons we would like to bring Victor and William to the club.

Enda Barron

“They put a lot of time into sifting through things.

“When you go into the Home Office side of it, then it becomes difficult. We have to put together a document to say why we want to do that, and the reasons behind it.

“Getting those things in place is OK, but then it comes out of your hands. You have to do a governing body endorsement if they don’t have enough points to get into the country automatically.

“You have to look to the league governing body to give you that endorsement, that the reasoning for us doing it is correct.

“We have had a couple of them now, where we have to present to the panel as every club has to do.

“It’s basically why we see it enhancing our football club, but also Scottish football as well.

“It has been really interesting. We feel we will reap the benefits for being in a position, due to the good contacts we have and the admin side we have in place, if they are right we will be able to have a real go at trying to bring them to the club.”