“They’re two players who have been on our radar now for a couple of years”

Valour FC has gone mining in Quebec to unearth some talent to bolster its depth for a run to a Canadian Premier League playoff spot.

Winnipeg’s professional soccer club announced today the signings of two players from CS Saint-Laurent of Lique1 Quebec in forward Loic Kwemi and versatile midfielder/winger Safwane Mlah. Both are expected to join the squad immediately after starring in La Belle Province and then standing out in CS Saint-Laurent’s run in the Canadian Championship this spring that saw them make headlines by knocking CPL side HFX Wanderers in the opening round before falling to Toronto FC.

Valour had already been scouting both Kwemi and Mlah and their work also caught the eye of Toronto FC boss John Herdman, whom GM and head coach Phillip Dos Santos recently spoke to about the pair.

“They’re two players who have been on our radar now for a couple of years,” Dos Santos told “You’re always looking at new pros and how they cope with 90 minutes at this level without having real references. But their runs in the Canadian Championship gave us those references.

“I spoke with John and he was impressed with the ability the players have to repeat their performances over 90 minutes in two games like that at a very high physical and technical level. It matched also what we had watched.”

Kwemi, 27, is a Cameroonian-Canadian scorer who had 17 goals last season in Quebec and 19 in the season before that. He was also named Canada Soccer’s Male Futsal Player of year in 2022.

“Loic is a maverick,” said Dos Santos. “He’s a player who on any single day could make a difference; could find a goal on his own. He’s good taking players on, he’s very strong. We felt like with losing a guy like Kian (Williams, who is still out with an injury) we needed a player like that.

“That’s the one characteristic our front line needs to add. Loic has that ability to attack the space, to get more behind. He’s a late bloomer but hasn’t yet been given an opportunity. He’s like Jordi Swibel — when you score 17 goals and 19 goals in the last two Ligue1 Quebec seasons… it’s hard to score in any league and when you find a way to score nobody can take that away from you.”

Mlah also stood out in the Canadian Championship and had eight goals in CS Saint-Laurent’s championship last year. He was Canada Soccer Futsal Player of the Year award for 2023.

“Mlah is a player who is technically skillful, just as is Loic, but he adds that energy and the capacity to cover ground in the midfield,” said Dos Santos. “He’s very combative. He’s very energetic, carries the play forward and has verstaility to play as a 10, as an 8, as a 6. He’s a player that after seeing him in those two games we felt we needed to add.”

Valour is coming off a solid 1-nil win over York United FC Thursday night and is next in action on July 7th at Princess Auto Stadium against Cavalry FC.