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 left-backs (in no particular order) who are projected to emerge as the best in the CPL.
Ramon Soria (FC Edmonton)
Described as the best passing defender in the league by head coach Jeff Paulus, Ramon Soria is expected to be a reliable left-back entering the league’s inaugural season. The Spaniard comes with loads of experience at the USL level. And, at 30 years old, the former Spanish youth international will surely stick out as a positive defensive influence on an Eddies side that promises to be attack-minded.
Roger Thompson (York9 FC)
York9 FC’s Roger Thompson, 27, could find himself on the left side of defence this season, especially considering his club’s depth at his natural, centre-back position. The 6-foot-4 defender has the potential to be one of the premier left-backs in the CPL if he makes the move wide, bringing his aggressive tackling and good passing ability with him. He’s solid on the ball, too, so watch for the former Canadian youth international to spring forward on occasion and cause problems for the opposition.
Daniel Krutzen (Forge FC)
Former Genk youth product and current Forge FC defender Daniel Krutzen has a decent track record south of the border. The 22-year-old defender was named to the NCAA All-American Third Team during his time at the University of Albany. A technically-sound, premier defender at similar levels in the U.S., Krutzen is a good shout to emerge as one of the better left-backs in the CPL this season.
Martin Arguinarena (Valour FC)
With more than 150 appearances in Chile’s first and second divisions under his belt, Valour FC’s Martin Arguinarena looks set to thrive in Canada. Described as a technical and tactically-astute wide player by head coach Rob Gale, the 27-year-old has a good awareness to him. Coming into his prime with Valour, the Chilean could stand out as a tough-to-outwit defender in Year 1.
Marcel de Jong (Pacific FC)
Pacific FC’s Marcel de Jong is an easy choice. Arguably the league’s most influential signing to date, the nearly 50-times capped Canadian arrived on Van Isle with a wealth of experience. Versatile and defensively sound, de Jong was an absolute gift for coach Michael Silberbauer. Then it happened. A freak Achilles injury changed everything for Pacific FC’s back line. While he “likely” won’tbe involved in 2019 due to that injury, the 32-year-old deserves a shout as, arguably, the best left-sided player in the league. He’s vowed to return from the injury.