The Canadian Premier League revealed Wednesday that the 2019 CPL-U SPORTS Draft will be held in Montréal at this year’s U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship, which will take place from Nov. 7-10.
This will be the second annual CPL-U SPORTS Draft, after last year’s edition produced 13 players who received minutes in the CPL’s inaugural season. The draft, which is open to any U SPORTS underclassman (with one to four years of eligibility) who registers, will have two “snaking” rounds in 2019, with two picks for each of the CPL’s seven clubs.
Selections will be announced in succession on Nov. 11 via the CPL’s official channels – CanPL.ca and relevant social media.
The CPL’s partnership with U SPORTS allows players to sign either a professional contract or a developmental deal, which enables them to return to their university in the Fall for their school’s season. In 2019, three drafted players exercised that right: Cavalry FC’s Gabriel Bitar (Carleton), Forge FC’s Jace Kotsopoulos (Guelph), and HFX Wanderers FC’s Peter Schaale (Cape Breton).
Alternatively, players can choose to stay with their CPL outfits for August and beyond – Pacific FC’s Zach Verhoven (British Columbia) went that route.
Other players, whose eligibility in U SPORTS had run out, signed professional deals after being drafted and thus became key members of their teams’ Spring and Fall campaigns – FC Edmonton’s Connor James (Alberta) and Cavalry FC’s Joel Waterman (Trinity Western), among others.
“The CPL-U SPORTS Draft is a key component to the CPL’s success,” CPL Commissioner David Clanachan said in a statement. “Our U SPORTS players had some great highlights this season, had an opportunity to play professionally and be part of a professional men’s soccer league that continues to create a pathway for our homegrown players to play in Canada.”
Eight U SPORTS teams will compete in the national championships in Montréal, where CPL coaches and the league’s Football Development Department will be on hand to evaluate players.
2019 CPL-U SPORTS Draft rules and notes:
The CPL-U SPORTS Draft will consist of two rounds
Only underclassmen are eligible to take part
Graduating seniors are not eligible for the draft but may sign a standard professional contract with any CPL club
Clubs have until April 15, 2020 to offer either a Developmental or standard professional contract to draft picks
If no contract is offered, the player is free to sign with any other CPL club
A CPL Developmental Contract stemming from the CPL-U SPORTS Draft can be converted to a standard professional contract up to one month after a team’s last match
August 1st, 2020 is the deadline for clubs to come to an agreement with U SPORTS draft picks
Players will be released back to their U SPORTS program no later than August 15th if they are not signed by the club
If a player is retained by the club for the remainder of the CPL season, his CPL Developmental Contract will be extended until the end of the current CPL season (roughly beginning of November) Furthermore, the club and the player can mutually agree to a one-time, one-year option in which the player’s rights are retained by the club for the following CPL season. This player will lose his eligibility to play in U SPORTS for the upcoming season but is still considered eligible for subsequent seasons moving forward
If a player returns to his U SPORTS program he may only sign another CPL Developmental Contract by taking part in the U SPORTS Draft again – his original CPL club has forfeited the player’s rights to retain him. If a player has been released back to his U SPORTS program, they can sign a standard professional contract with any other club of his choosing
Thirteen CPL-U SPORTS Draft picks combined for 15,249 minutes of playing time during the 2019 regular season for an average of 1,730 minutes (which is above the league median).
HFX Wanderers fullback André Bona led the pack with a blistering 2,053 minutes, just behind Cavalry’s Marco Carducci for the 15th-most amongst all CPL players in Year 1.