Canadian Premier League teams will still need to focus on youth in 2020.
Same as in Year 1, CPL outfits are required to have at least three young Canadian players (under-21s) on their roster combine for at least 1,000 minutes played this season – although, whether that total will be prorated for a potentially shortened campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic remains to be seen.
CPL teams didn’t have trouble hitting the 1,000-minute threshold in 2019. All seven clubs made the target by late August – and each side had at least one player single-handedly collect their team’s required minutes.
Incredibly, Pacific FC surpassed the benchmark in just their third match of last season, away to Forge FC on May 8. In all, under-21 players combined for 36,161 minutes across the CPL in 2019.
In 2020, only players born Jan. 1, 1999 or after will be eligible.
As York9 FC and Cavalry FC have added to their youth setups in recent weeks, let’s take a look at all seven CPL clubs and their group of under-21 players.
While workhorses such as Terran Campbell, Kadin Chung, and Matthew Baldisimo have “aged out,” current youth talents Noah Verhoeven and Alessandro Hojabrpour more than tripled PFC’s U-21 requirement on their own last season.
Pacific will certainly Trust The Kids again – though one more young player is required to reach the league minimum of three.
Under-21 Players (2/3):
Noah Verhoeven – 1,850 minutes in 2019 Alessandro Hojabrpour – 1,731 minutes in 2019
Under 21s who aged out or departed club:
Terran Campbell – 2,334 minutes in 2019 Kadin Chung – 2,032 minutes in 2019 Matthew Baldisimo – 1,809 minutes in 2019
Zachary Verhoven – 1,285 minutes in 2019
Emile Legault: Departed club José Hernandez: Departed club David Norman Jr: Departed club Ahmed Alghamdi: Departed club
FC Edmonton – U-21 players signed: 5/3
2019 Under-21 Mins: 1,961
Jeff Paulus should have no problem filling his under-21 quota in 2020. Prince Amanda is set to play a larger role after impressing late in 2019, Marcus Velado-Tsegaye will likely add to his nearly 500-minute output from last year, and academy newcomers Chance Carter and Antony Caceres are familiar to the Eddies coach and will likely see time, too.
Under-21 Players: Marcus Velado-Tsegaye – 487 minutes in 2019 Prince Amanda – 137 minutes in 2019 Antony Caceres Chance Carter David Doe – 170 minutes in 2019
Aged out or departed club: Easton Ongaro – 1,167 minutes in 2019
Cavalry FC – U-21 players signed: 3/3
2019 Under-21 Mins: 1,563
Tommy Wheeldon Jr. deserves credit here.
Outside of the departed Malyk Hamilton, Cavalry mustered less than 300 under-21 minutes in 2019. Off-season addition Jose Hernandez should help them improve upon that number in 2020. Add explosive fullback Mohamed Farsi and Canadian youth international Aribim Pepple, and Cavalry could triple their youth minutes total in Year 2.
Under-21 Players: Jose Hernandez – 650 minutes in 2019 (Pacific FC) Mohamed Farsi Aribim Pepple – 61 minutes in 2019
Aged out or departed club: Gabriel Bitar: Unsigned U SPORTS Draft pick Victor Loturi: Unsigned
Malyk Hamilton: Departed club
Valour FC – U-21 players signed: 2/3
2019 Under-21 Mins: 5,435
As it stands, Raphael Garcia and Yohan Le Bourhis are solid second choices at centre back and right fullback, respectively. They made respectable contributions last year, too, especially considering Le Bourhis joined in August. But at least one more young domestic Canadian is to be expected in Winnipeg – perhaps the currently un-signed Federico Peña makes a return?
Under-21 Players: Raphael Garcia – 943 minutes in 2019 Yohan Le Bourhis – 720 minutes in 2019
Aged out or departed club: Federico Pena: Unsigned Glenn Muenkat: Departed club Tyler Attardo: Departed club
Forge FC – U-21 players signed: 2/3
2019 Under-21 Mins: 4,910
Forge didn’t exactly need to play around with the lineup in order to meet their under-21 requirement last season since they just had to start their best player. Tristan Borges, now departed to Belgium for OH Leuven, leaves a sizeable gap in the starting 11, but even more so in their youth contingent. Monti Mohsen and Klaidi Cela will need to be more dependable out wide, while another young player – potentially a forward – is still required.
Under-21 Players: Monti Mohsen – 363 minutes in 2019 Klaidi Cela – 326 minutes in 2019
Aged out or departed club: Tristan Borges: Departed club Jace Kotsopoulos: Unsigned Oluwaseun Oyegunle: Unsigned David Choinière: Aged out
Y9 still managed to get a a bit younger this year, even with Diyaeddine Abzi and Emilio Estevez “ageing out” of under-21 eligibility. Under-21s Max Ferrari and Ijah Halley will be relied on heavily – perhaps they will play a platoon role like Emilio Estevez did last season?
Under-21 Players: Max Ferrari Ijah Halley
Aged out or departed club:
Diyaeddine Abzi – 1,814 minutes in 2019 Emilio Estevez – 627 minutes in 2019 Steven Furlano: Departed club Cyrus Rollocks: Departed club Emmanuel Zambazis: Departed club
Atlético Ottawa – U-21 players signed: 4/3
2019 Under-21 Mins: n/a
It’s safe to assume Malyk Hamilton will play an important role as he steps up from his 1,200-minute output in 2019 with Cavalry. Elsewhere, Kunle Dada-Luke could prove a starter on the flanks. They also have an interesting prospect in 16-year-old Antoine Coupland, who will continue to make this list for a few more years.
Under-21 Players: Malyk Hamilton – 1,275 minutes in 2019 (Cavalry FC) Kunle Dada-Luke Michel Djaozandry Antoine Coupland
Aged out or departed club: N/A
HFX Wanderers FC – U-21 players signed: 3/3
2019 Under-21 Mins: 5,231
HFX banked the third-most under-21 minutes in 2019, but due to their roster overhaul, a lot of their major contributors are out for this season, with only Chrisnovic N’Sa and Scott Firth returning. They’ve added former Montreal Impact fullback Daniel Kinumbe – a Day 1 starter who should more than make up for the departures of Tomasz Skublak and Ndzemdzela Langwa.
Under-21 Players: Chrisnovic N’Sa – 1,217 minutes in 2019 Scott Firth – 287 minutes in 2019 Daniel Kinumbe
Aged out or departed club: Tomasz Skublak: Departed club Ndzemdzela Langwa: Departed club Elliot Simmons: Departed club Vincent Lamy: Departed club