Stewart makes move to Canada

Portadown-born Thomas Stewart has added another country to his career passport with a switch from America to Canada.

Stewart has signed for Ottawa Fury following two years on the books of Sacramento Republic that featured 23 goals across 69 appearances.

It marks the latest move for a striker who can count past spells in his home country, England, Republic of Ireland and Scotland before arriving in North America.

Signing with Fury can be considered a forward step for Stewart - with the North American Soccer League ranked one level below top-flight MLS and a division above Sacramento Republic’s USL.

The former Linfield striker will have another former Windsor Park forward as his head coach in the shape of Paul Dalglish. Dalglish is, of course, the son of Liverpool legend Kenny - with the Anfield connection at Fury continued by the presence of Bruce Grobbelaar as goalkeeper coach.

Larne-born Jonny Steele is also on the Fury roster.

Fury stand two games into the NASL season and Stewart will become available for selection following the completion of his international clearance.

“There are some big clubs in this NASL and I’m delighted to have signed,” said Stewart. “It happened quite quickly but Ottawa are a big club with great facilities.

“I have only been here a couple of days but am looking forward to working under Paul Dalglish and there are so many good people at the club.

“Paul knows me from his days managing in the USL.

“I loved my time at Sacramento but football is a shorter career than most so I have to maximise every aspect and sometimes opportunities come up.”

Stewart can leave Republic having made history as the first player from Northern Ireland to score a hat-trick in the US Open Cup following his treble last year against Sonoma County Sol.