‘Players can come from anywhere’: HFX Wanderers coach Stephen Hart preparing for CPL’s open trials

Few people have been around more Canadian footballers than Stephen Hart.

The HFX Wanderers inaugural head coach has analyzed and advised men and women at every level of the Canadian soccer pyramid since the 1990s.

As the Canadian Premier League’s #GotGame Open Trials kick-off in Halifax later this month, Hart described the traits he and fellow CPL coaches will be looking for in prospective CPL players.

“You look for different qualities in players to potentially play in different positions,” Hart told, adding he’s “always looking for that special player who brings something a little different.

“You try to figure out the attitude of the player and how they’re approaching the trial: Do they do the simple things effectively? Do they impact the game in the way they play?

“The (players) aren’t going to be prepared collectively so you’re looking for individual qualities they can bring to a team.”

The CPL’s #GotGame trials open Sept. 20 in Halifax before stops in Montreal (Sept. 27-28), Hamilton (Oct. 1-2), Toronto (Oct. 11-12), Winnipeg (Oct. 18-19), Calgary (Oct. 25-26) and Vancouver Island (Nov. 5-6). (Canadian Premier League)

While Hart and his colleagues from York 9 FC, Forge FC, Valour FC, FC Edmonton, Cavalry FC and Pacific FC will be looking to unearth players on the cusp of breaking into a professional environment, Hart reiterated CPL triallists should enter this process with the proper disposition.

“You should be relaxed and you should try to bring your qualities, what you’re good at, into the game,” Hart added. “But a lot of times coaches are just looking to see if you can do the simple things effectively and make good decisions.”

“I think players can come from anywhere,” Hart added. “That’s one of the beauties of our sport.”

The long-time bench boss is hoping HFX Wanderers inaugural squad will have a healthy mix of players from within the region.

“I’ve been beating the bush and trying to find local talent,” Hart finished. “I would like to have as close to half the squad (be local) as possible … but that remains to be seen.”

The CPL’s #GotGame Open Trials are coming to a city near you.

Think you’ve #GotGame? Register at

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