Fury player's wacky poses becoming pregame tradition

Ottawa Fury midfielder Charlie Ward only signed with the team in January, but he's already made a lasting mark at TD Place.

His specialty? Quirky poses in pregame pictures.

The team photos traditionally show the soccer players standing or crouching shoulder-to-shoulder in two rows, game faces firmly on. But Ward, who hails from Redditch, England, said he's posed for so many of the photos that he felt the need to stir things up a bit.

Steve Kingsman/Freestyle Photography

"Imagine doing something for the whole of your career," Ward told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Thursday.

"If you look at everyone's face, it's probably the same for the 100, 150 pictures I've had."

Recent group shots show Ward pulling funny faces and poses while his teammates stare ahead, looking serious. In one, he's cross-eyed with his tongue out. In another, he has a phone pressed to his ear, deep in conversation. In yet another, he's facing in a different direction altogether.

"That was probably my favourite one," Ward recalled.

Started small

The 24-year-old originally got the idea after seeing some American players doing it to their teams. He began experimenting, and the pranks became more elaborate as time went on.

"The most elaborate one that I've done was probably one on the phone, where I'm saying, 'One second!' to the photographer," Ward said.

For Ward, it's about building excitement before kick-off, not a lack of discipline.

Raisa Patel/CBC

"It's in no way to disrespect the coach or the club, it's just to play around with it," he said. "I could stand there and do a normal photo, I could stand there and be doing a handstand, and I'm going to be going out to the pitch the same way."

It's yet to turn into a team effort, however, despite Ward's best attempts to draw the other players to the silly side.

"I've said to the boys, 'Look, I'm the only one doing it, but if you feel comfortable, join in, do your own thing,'" Ward said. 

Ward is hopeful a handful of his teammates will join him when the Fury reaches the USL playoffs this fall.

As for the time he's spent in Ottawa so far, Ward called it the "most enjoyable year" of the four years he's played in North America. 

And if Ward's silly pregame poses draw a few more fans to TD Place?

"If that's the reason the fans come out, so be it," Ward said. "The more fans we can get out there, the better."