2024 Season Preview: York United FC

The 2024 Canadian Premier League season kicks off the weekend of April 13, when all eight clubs will begin their quest to hoist the CPL Shield and vie for the North Star Cup.
Here at, we’re celebrating the start of April by previewing each individual club ahead of 2024. To check out all eight team previews, click here. To see all of our season preview coverage ahead of the sixth year of the CPL, click here.

York United FC begin a new era in 2024, as they look to the future after an off-season of change. They enter this year under the guidance of new ownership, after Game Plan Sports Group took over in November, with a rejuvenated sense of excitement and ambition.

There have been plenty of changes at York Lions Stadium with a broadly new cast of international players plus a few high-profile Canadian internationals to complement returning talent.

The Nine Stripes, one of the CPL’s original clubs based in the north of Toronto, have been stuck in the middle of the pack for most of their campaigns in the league and they’re still looking for their first silverware. With so much new optimism surrounding the club this year, they’re looking to push beyond last year’s fifth-place playoff appearance.

Is 2024 the year York United take one step further?

READ MORE: 6 questions ahead of York United’s 2024 CPL season


  • 2023 CPL regular season record (W-D-L): 11-5-12 (38 pts, 5th place)
  • Goals scored: 35
  • Goals against: 44
  • Goal difference: -9
  • Top scorer: Mo Babouli, Osaze De Rosario, Kevin Dos Santos (6)
  • Canadian Championship: Lost in quarter-finals to Vancouver Whitecaps FC

It was a roller-coaster of a season for York, who battled heavy injuries all year and struggled for consistency, but in the end a late-season run titled the scales for them and put them in the postseason. Although they struggled in a late four-game homestand that seemed likely to make or break their year, the Nine Stripes pulled out a dramatic last-minute win over Atlético Ottawa in their final home match of the year.

The following week, an Osaze De Rosario brace at Vancouver FC was enough to secure his side’s qualification for the playoffs.

Remaining out west to play just the club’s second ever playoff game, York went to Langford to take on Pacific FC in the fourth-against-fifth opening match of the playoffs. It was a hard-fought contest that the weary Nine Stripes nearly dragged into extra time, but Pacific’s Adonijah Reid dashed their hopes in the 91st minute and won it for the Tridents — although York thought they might’ve clawed it back when Paris Gee scored an audacious bicycle kick minutes later that was ruled offside.


Players in:

Players out:

GK – Thomas Vincensini GK – Niko Giantsopoulos
DF – Juan Córdova DF – Jonathan Grant
DF – Orlando Botello DF – Tass Mourdoukoutas
DF – Frank Sturing DF – Roger Thompson
DF – Oswaldo Léon MF – Carson Buschman-Dormond
MF – Josué Martínez MF – Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé
FW – Dennis Salanović FW – Osaze De Rosario
FW – Kevin Dos Santos
FW – Michael Petrasso

The most notable change in York’s roster construction is in the international contingent. In 2023, international players made up just over 25 per cent of the total minutes played for the club, with the vast majority of the heavy lifting being done by domestic players.

This year, the club has retained much of its Canadian core — from Mo Babouli to Max Ferrari to Clément Bayiha — but it’s lost a few and brought in a revamped international group. Mexican talents Oswaldo Léon, Orlando Botello and Josué Martínez come with high pedigrees and should bring quality and experience. Plus, Dennis Salanovic is a seasoned Liechtenstein international who should add firepower to the attack. Finally, York added a pair of fairly high-profile Canadian internationals in Juan Córdova and Frank Sturing, both of whom are capped at the senior level and would love to seize this opportunity to get back into that conversation.

Among the key departures were Osaze De Rosario and Kevin Dos Santos, who were among the three players tied for York’s goalscoring lead last year with six. Club captain Roger Thompson retired after the 2023 campaign, and first-choice goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos chose to move on from the club. In midfield, it’ll also be tough to replace the minutes of stalwart Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, whom they’ll see four times a year with the Halifax Wanderers.


York United coach Martin Nash. (Photo: Pacific FC/CPL)

Martin Nash enters his third season as York United boss after making good progress in 2023. He was dealt a tough hand with regard to injuries, with many of his best players — especially in defence — missing significant stretches, to the point that he almost never had a full first-choice back four.

Still, Nash — a Saskatchewan native with 38 caps as a player for the Canadian national team — stewarded his team through its myriad trials and tribulations last year to snatch a playoff berth right at the end of the season.

Now, having been given a strong vote of confidence from the incoming new ownership group, the 48-year-old Nash is hoping that stability can breed excellence at York Lions Stadium, where the Nine Stripes are desperate to host a playoff match for the first time.


(4-2-3-1): Thomas Vincensini; Juan Córdova, Oswaldo León, Frank Sturing, Max Ferrari; Josué Martínez, Brem Soumaoro; Dennis Salanovic, Mo Babouli, Clément Bayiha; Austin Ricci

York United Projected XI for 2024

Under Martin Nash, York have stuck consistently to a 4-2-3-1 shape as that’s seemed like the best way to get the most out of attacking focal point Mo Babouli. With Babouli as a 10, they’re able to get some pace and quality on the wings, whether that’s from Salanovic and Bayiha or other contributors like Markiyan Voytsekhovskyy, Kadin Martin-Pereux or even Max Ferrari, despite the latter taking a lot of reps at fullback in preseason.

The back four features three newcomers including two Canada-capped talents in Córdova and Sturing, plus a centre-back in León with 80 professional games in the Mexican second division by the age of 24. In midfield, meanwhile, last year’s standout Soumaoro is joined by a newcomer in 21-year-old Mexican Josué Martínez, who may have the inside track to starting but will be pushed by both Matthew Baldisimo and Elijah Adekugbe.

Finally, it seems likely the gloves will go to Thomas Vincensini, the 30-year-old Frenchman who’s tasked with replacing Niko Giantsopoulos in goal.


Domestic U-21


Loaned In

Noah Abatneh Orlando Botello Orlando Botello
Theo Afework Oswaldo Léon Josué Martínez
Markiyan Voytsekhovskyy Josué Martínez
Dennis Salanovic
Brem Soumaoro
Thomas Vincensini