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Burnaby's Paris Gee returning home to play for Vancouver FC

The Burnaby Central Secondary 2012 grad is set to play his fourth season in the Canadian Premier League, and his 10th as a professional athlete.
Paris Gee (middle) of Burnaby, B.C., has signed a two-year contract with Vancouver FC in the Canadian Premier League (CPL).

Paris Gee's 10th season as a professional athlete will likely be the most meaningful as he'll be closer to family.

The Burnaby defender signed a two-year contract with Vancouver FC of the Canadian Premier League (CPL) on Tuesday, Jan. 23. It'll be his fourth stint in the division and his third club in addition to FC Edmonton and York United FC.

Gee, 29, said he always had an itch to play as close to home as possible, but none more sure than when it was revealed than when his father was diagnosed with end-life Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

"This past year the family’s been thinking about [my dad]; his kidneys were failing all year," he said in a team release, noting how "super grateful" he was when his most recent club, York FC, agreed to terms with Vancouver.

"Once the summer came, it started to get a little worse and obviously closer to the end of the season, so there was a thought in my mind that I just wanted to be close to home, close to my dad, close to family."

Gee is the latest in a slate of homegrown players that have returned to Metro Vancouver to play for the Eagles, including familiar faces like Callum Irving (Vancouver) and Kadin Chung (Port Coquitlam).

Gee knew he wanted to be one of those players, too, explaining he became "a little jealous."

"Seeing Callum come back, seeing Kadin come back, this was a place I wanted to be. To play with them, to be a part of a club in your hometown it feels different," he said.

"It feels different, when you step on a field you’re playing for something — you’re playing for your family, you’re playing for your city. That’s what drives you to perform for the crowd, for the community that comes out and supports you."

Gee, a 2012 grad of Burnaby Central Secondary, has played in 200 professional matches in Europe and across North America since first putting pen to paper in 2014.

Last season, he led York United FC with 2,325 minutes played and was fifth in the CPL in ball possessions won with 145.

He's yet to score a goal in his CPL career to date, but has tallied three assists and incurred 11 yellow cards.

Gee's debut with Vancouver FC is slated for April 14, 4 p.m. against Valour FC at Willoughby Community Park Stadium — located at 7782 200 St. in Langley.