HFX Wanderers FC announced on Monday that they’ve become the first club to officially sign one of their 2019 CPL-U SPORTS Draft picks to a contract, with first-overall selection Cory Bent locking in for the 2020 season.
Bent, a 22-year-old attacker from Preston, England, impressed during four seasons at Cape Breton University, where he was a teammate of fellow Wanderer Peter Schaale, as well as three other 2019 CPL-U SPORTS Draft picks in Marcus Campanile (Valour FC, 2nd overall), Isaiah Johnston (York9 FC, 10th overall), and Charlie Waters (Valour, 13th overall).
“It’s a feeling of relief and gratitude that through all the hard work I’ve now been able to achieve a dream of turning professional and I’m just grateful to represent the East Coast again,” Bent said.
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Bent won the Atlantic University Sport championship with Cape Breton in all four years of his time on the island, winning the U SPORTS Championship in 2017 with the Capers.
He was named tournament MVP at the 2017 competition, and he was a U SPORTS first-team All-Canadian in both 2018 and 2019 (as well as a second-team All-Canadian in 2017).
“I think he has all the qualities to step up to this level, he’s very fast and he is very direct,” HFX coach Stephen Hart said. “He can also play on the right or on the left wing and anywhere across the front-line which is extremely helpful.”
Bent scored 24 goals in total in his time at Cape Breton, playing a variety of attacking positions but ultimately ending up on the wing primarily.
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“He’s an exciting player and he’s very dangerous one on one so he has made me a better defender playing against him in training with the Capers,” Schaale said of his time playing with Bent at CBU.
Prior to moving to Canada for university, Bent had spent time in the Preston North End academy until the age of 14.
This signing brings HFX’s roster up to 20 players for the 2020 season, with Bent joining a revamped attacking core that includes Alessandro Riggi, Ibrahima Sanoh, Alex Marshall, and João Morelli, as well as Akeem Garcia from the 2019 squad.