With pre-season training camps into Week 3 and Canadian Premier League rosters nearing capacity, we’re looking at who’s projected as the top CPL players in each position.
Granted, the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural match — Forge FC vs. York9 FC on April 27 at Tim Hortons Field — remains over a month away, but it’s never too soon to look into our crystal balls to predict who the top performers could be in Season 1.
This series is currently based on pedigree, past performance and expectations upon seeing these players put pen to paper with their respective clubs.
Expect CPL Editorial to revisit this list at the conclusion of the Spring campaign in order to see whose stock skyrocketed and, well, whose plummeted.
Here are our top five central midfielders (in no particular order) who are projected to emerge as the best in the CPL.
Kyle Bekker (Forge FC)
We’ll kick this list off with one of the more recognizable faces in the Canadian Premier League, Kyle Bekker. The former Toronto FC, FC Dallas and Montreal Impact man has played in a No. 10 role throughout his career, lending himself well to the notion that he may well be the finest player in his position league-wide. His passing acumen and raw numbers help, too – Bekker comes to Forge FC on the back of a seven-goal, 13-assist season with North Carolina FC. You can bet he’ll want to build on that output in his first season in all-Canadian professional soccer.
Josip Golubar (Valour FC)
A Croatian attacking midfielder who can also play as a second striker, Golubar, 34, joins Valour FC on the back of a long club career, playing for a number of teams in places like Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. That experience alone sets him apart from the pack, but the Krkanec-born footballer can also point to a history of scoring goals as a key asset – he has 48 in all competitions, though only 16 recorded assists. Will Golubar prove to be the man pulling the strings in the middle, or another attacking outlet? Signs seem to point to the latter.
Dylan Sacramento (Valour FC)
Valour FC head coach Rob Gale has assembled one of the most versatile midfields in the CPL. Between Golubar and Dylan Sacramento, alongside Michael Petrasso and Dylan Carreiro, Gale can call on four solid options to slot in anywhere he needs ’em. Sacramento brings a solid touch and good balance to the No. 10 role, and has earned his plaudits in League1 Ontario for the consistency of his performances, coupled with his attacking instinct. His quick read of the game is also another strong asset, and 10 goals in 11 matches last season is nothing to scoff at, either.
Sergio Camargo (Cavalry FC)
OK, here us out on this. We don’t believe Sergio Camargo is as defence-minded a midfielder as he may first appear to be: Four goals in 10 appearances with the Foothills last season – good for second-most in the team in 2018 – indicates at least a bit of attacking pedigree, and in a new role in a new league, Camargo could emerge as an unorthodox No. 10 in Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s attacking line. If early indications are to be believed, Wheeldon Jr. is looking to put together a hard-working group who don’t turn down the pressure … and Camargo offers exactly that in this position.
Tristan Borges (Forge FC)
This 20-year-old Canadian-Portuguese attacking midfielder is, for all intents and purposes, still an unproven commodity, though his time at Sigma FC and Dutch outfit Heerenveen give him plenty of valuable experience to draw from in this position. He’s a Canadian youth international, too, participating in the 2017 Men’s Under-20 Championship as well as the 2015 Men’s Under-17 Championship. And, he has a propensity for set pieces, a valuable trait that can prove quite beneficial in the thick of a tightly-contested tilt. Might he be a breakout star in 2019?
- Goalkeepers: Friday, March 15
- Right-back: Saturday, March 16
- Centre-back: Sunday, March 17
- Left full-back: Monday, March 18
- Defensive midfield: Tuesday, March 19
- Central midfield: Wednesday, March 20
- Attacking midfield: Thursday, March 21
- Right-wing: Friday, March 22
- Left-wing: Monday, March 25
- Strikers: Tuesday, March 26