Back in March, COVID-19 left some CPL teams with work to do: trialists departed, signings fell through, and coaches were left scrambling.
Now, with a 2020 CPL season in the works, those same coaches will be looking to fill in some gaps on their rosters.
While some clubs have more holes than others (we’re looking at you, Atlético Ottawa), every CPL club has at least one or two spots open if a truncated CPL season gets up and running.
Here are a few on-the-market Canadians who could fill a void on CPL rosters this summer.
Chakib Hocine (formerly of HFX Wanderers)
Hocine came to HFX Wanderers as a highly-touted, oversized centre back, though injuries limited him to just four appearances in 2019. At 28, the Algerian-born Hocine is entering his prime as a defender – an enticing option for CPL coaches, including Valour’s Rob Gale.
Unconfirmed Cavalry FC players (Chris Serban, Dean Northover, Mauro Eustaquio)
With 21 players signed to their roster, Cavalry FC will be parting ways with at least three of their five unconfirmed 2019 players: Chris Serban, Dean Northover, Mauro Eustaquio, Carlos Patiño, and Oluwatofarati Fakunle.
Of the five, Eustaquio is the biggest draw. With over 100 professional appearances, 50 of which came in the NASL with Ottawa Fury and FC Edmonton, he’s a CPL-ready defensive midfielder. Eustaquio is returning from a lengthy injury layoff, so a mini-season would be a good restart to the 27-year-old’s career. Similar observations could be offered about Serban and Northover, both of whom were sidelined permanently at one time or another in 2019.
Ali Musse (formerly of Valour FC)
Valour FC’s enigma of an attacker had a rough 2019 season with injuries and multiple position changes – the 24-year-old never got in a rhythm.
While unsigned from last year, Musse is still, in my eyes, a capable left-footed operator at CPL level. Likely not a starter, but CPL coaches would be hard-pressed to find a better left winger or a “get-in-behind attacker” off the bench on the market
You you can’t help but think 28-year-old Tissot is destined to find his way to the CPL. A former Canadian national team and Montreal Impact starter, Tissot is prime for a career restart in the CPL.
Mo Babouli (formerly of Canada MetroStars, Toronto FC)
Mentioned in a recent OneSoccer segment by analyst Oliver Platt, Mo Babouli has been on the lips of CPL fans for a long time. A former League1 Ontario standout-turned MLS regular with Toronto FC, the now-27-year-old is a free agent and could easily be snapped up for the 2020 restart.
Mo Kourouma (formerly of HFX Wanderers)
The former HFX Wanderers wide man has been training in recent weeks, according to his Instagram account, and is eager to follow up a solid Year 1 in the CPL. Tallying three assists – well below from his expected assists of 6.82 – Kourouma is an effective traditional winger at CPL level. Hopefully he’s heeded the warning about long shots from Centre Circle Data, though.