Coming in last place has its advantages, especially for HFX Wanderers FC.
The Canadian Premier League and U SPORTS on Wednesday officially announced the selection order for the 2019 CPL-U SPORTS Draft. The draft will be held in Montreal as part of this year’s U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship from Nov. 7-10.
The first round of the draft will see HFX Wanders FC, who finished in last place in the combined CPL standings this season, select first overall. CPL Champions Forge FC will close out the first round by selecting seventh.
Here is the order for the first round:
1) Halifax Wanderers FC
2) Valour FC
3) Pacific FC
4) FC Edmonton
5) York9 FC
6) Cavalry FC
7) Forge FC
The draft order will reverse itself for the second round, with Forge selecting first and HFX going last. In total, 14 players will be selected during the two-round draft.
Soccer fans can watch the CPL-U SPORTS Draft unfold on Nov. 11 at 7:00pm ET on CanPL.ca, the CPL’s YouTube Channel, and on IGTV @cplsoccer.
The draft is open to any U SPORTS underclassman with one to four years of eligibility who registers for the draft.
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 this year.
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.
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 2,053 minutes, just behind Cavalry’s Marco Carducci for the 15th-most amongst all CPL players in Year 1.
Eight U SPORTS teams will compete in the national championships in Montreal, where CPL coaches and the league’s Football Development Department will be on hand to evaluate players.