Clanachan: ‘Interesting’ names have signed up to attend CPL’s Open Trials

TORONTO — Mentality first. Everything else second.

Ahead of this month’s #GotGame Open Trials, Canadian soccer legend Alex Bunbury says Canadian Premier League coaches will be looking to identify players with the right mindset.

“Ninety-five per cent of this is mental,” Bunbury, the lead coach at the CPL tryouts, told TSN 690. “You can have all of the talent in the world — fast, strong, technical — but if you’re not mentally strong, you’re going to be passed by, easily. What happens when you lose the ball? How do you react to that? It’s all mental. If you have fear when you’re on the field and you play with fear, you’re going to make mistakes.

“I believe there are two forces in this world: Love and fear. If you love the game you’re going to have a passion for the game and confidence within yourself. You’re going to know from Day 1 that you’re going to make mistakes. It’s what you do right after you make mistakes that defines you as a player.

Bunbury will be in Halifax for the first set of trial dates on Sept. 20-21 before stops in Montreal (Sept. 27-28), Hamilton (Oct. 1-2), Toronto (Oct. 11-12), Winnipeg (Oct. 18-19), Calgary (Oct. 25-26) and Vancouver Island (Nov. 5-6).

“Not the fastest guys are the best players,” Bunbury added. “Not the most skillful guys are the best players in the world. That’s the icing on the cake. It’s the guys that are mentally tough that understand the nuances of the game from a mental approach of the game. That’s the thing that’s important for any young player to understand and even senior payers.

In the first instalment of an exclusive bi-weekly series set to run Monday, CPL commissioner David Clanachan told some “interesting names” have registered to attend the league’s coast-to-coast trials.

“I’m proud to announce that almost 1,000 players have already signed up for the Open Trials, and some interesting ones at that,” Clanachan told “We can’t reveal names, but we’ve even had registration from outside of North America, which I find fascinating. I think that it speaks to the quality of our set-up.

“The fact that our coaches will be at all the trials is key. Do we expect to sign full rosters out of these trials? No. But what I would hopefully like to find are those young Canadian kids who have fallen between the cracks over the years but are still great talents. There will be great players out there and we want players to put it all out there. Don’t leave anything off the field. Show us that you’ve got game. I know there’s going to be some great results that come from those open trials.”

Check out the rest of Clanachan’s State of the League update Monday — which will address: 

  • The league’s impending kit deal
  • The Ottawa Fury’s decision to remain in the USL
  • An update on expansion interest from across Canada
  • Roster rules 
  • Player acquisition 
  • Media rights