Gasparotto played every minute of the 2019 regular season (2,520 minutes in total). The centre back even featured in all six of York9’s Canadian Championship outings, captaining the side on occasion. No wonder, then, that he earned the nickname “ironman.”
It seemed that, after years of turbulence, Fisk found a place to flourish on Vancouver Island. He was one of the faces of Pacific FC in 2019, and one of the club’s most vocal leaders, as well as a productive attacker. He wore the captain’s armband a few times for the side, and he was well deserving of the honour.
Ongaro, a native of Edmonton, enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign with his hometown club by tallying a team-high 10 goals, which was good enough to finish fourth in the league’s overall scoring race. One to watch in 2020.
Like his fullback partner Morey Doner, Abzi was impressive in his first year as a professional. He was one of the best one-on-one defenders in the CPL, burning his opposite number with pace and some slick touches on the ball. He was always fast enough to get back defensively, too, contributing more than his fair share of interceptions and tackles.
A thorn in just about everyone’s backside, Cavalry’s live wire winger “earned” fouls left and right, beat players for speed, and played the odd cheeky ball for teammates. It helped that he backed up that play with a nose for goal: a pair of curlingefforts at Spruce Meadows come to mind.
Novak swooped in and took Forge by storm after Emery Welshman’s transfer in August. He was a standout attacker, whether with his back to goal or charging forward, with a good goals-per-minute rate. Must be those breakfast sausages.
Playing over 2,000 minutes as an under-21 is no small feat. Pacific FC’s inaugural signing gave no reason for the coaching staff to doubt his abilities as a quick right fullback. Good on the overlap, and more than capable of snuffing out attacks that drifted to his side.
Where would York9 have been in 2019 without Gattas? The Chilean was the club’s top scorer and most lethal attacking threat, especially during the Fall season when he went on a tear by scoring seven goals.
The diminutive midfielder was named York’s captain and went on to make 31 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and tallying a pair of assists along the way. One of his goals was even mentioned on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Night.
Earning a spot in Halifax via the Got Game Open Trials, Iida was an entertaining player for the Wanderers. He didn’t get into the lineup as much as fans might’ve liked, with injuries setting him back, but whenever the Japanese midfielder saw the field he showed flashes of top-level skill with the ball.
The versatile Brazilian attacker was so good for Cavalry in the Fall that he unseated Sergio Camargo for a starting role in Leg 1 of Finals 2019. He produced many memorable moments for the Cavs, including a pair of goals in the 8-0 win over Valour. Minatel was an exciting creative player who Cavalry will be happy to have back in 2020.
FC Edmonton’s raging bull of a forward makes the list after a solid campaign. The Belgian displayed great pace as a direct forward, making him hard to handle early on (his four-goal Spring campaign shows this) as teams tried to combat his speed. He was good for a spectacular goal, too.
Potentially the fastest man in the CPL in Year 1, Bona gave Wanderers fans plenty of chances to see his speed across 25 appearances, mostly at right fullback. Bona was incredibly solid in defence, too, cutting an imposing figure with a knack for winning balls in the air and on the ground.
Cavalry had a wealth of centre backs in 2019, but Waterman turned heads with his consistency. He could move the ball better than his fellow defenders, with more of an attacking instinct that saw him deployed when such a mindset was called for, especially with the likes of Mason Trafford able to cover defensively.
Another member of the CPL Fan Awards team of the year, Adekugbe was the definition of depth for the Cavs. He was a rock-solid defensive presence in midfield, rarely (if ever) beaten one-on-one, and he was extremely composed with the ball at his feet, even under pressure.
Versatility was Frano’s strength in Year 1 of the CPL. At right fullback or in several midfield roles, he was always plugging the right hole as a technically gifted and smart defensive player – with a decent delivery off free kicks as well. An underrated talent on the CPL Champions.
Awuah’s 2019 might be best remembered for the way he and Chris Nanco dominated the left flank in Leg 1 of Finals 2019 at Tim Hortons Field, completely overwhelming Dominick Zator and Nico Pasquotti. Awuah was able to slot in at left fullback or in midfield for Forge, making him a very useful, versatile player with a ton of attacking upside.
York9 FC’s inaugural signing provided much-needed service in Year 1. An experienced winger, Porter led his side in assists (four) while having the fifth-most touches in the opposing box (54) across the season.
Cavalry’s bombarding attacker makes the top 50 as a physical presence that imposed himself 31 times across all competitions. As a winger or out-and-out striker, the Englishman was a handful against many sides – including the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.
Henry, from Scarborough, Ont., finished tied with Cavalry’s Marco Carducci for most clean sheets in the league, and he impressively posted shutouts in both legs of Finals 2019, backstopping Forge to the CPL Championship.
A second round pick from the 2018 CPL-U SPORTS Draft, Verhoven (from Burnaby, B.C.) offered Pacific a sturdy presence in midfield in both the CPL and Canadian Championship during his first season as a professional.