The Canadian Premier League is built on the promise of building the future of soccer in Canada. THE NEXT GEN celebrates this promise by showcasing and honouring the best young Canadian soccer talent from coast to coast in the Canadian Premier League.
Welcome the NEXT GEN CLASS OF 2020, an eight-part video series celebrating the best young Canadian talent on display during the Canadian Premier League 2020 season. These incredible young players’ performances demonstrated their talent and grit at the Island Games in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and are proof that professional soccer is now attainable in Canada.
Would it surprise you to learn that Easton Ongaro is among the top all-time goal scorers in the CPL?
Former Forge FC star Tristan Borges won the Golden Boot during the 2019 season with 13 goals, while HFX Wanderers FC forward Akeem Garcia, this year’s Golden Boot winner, has 13 goals over two seasons.
Occupying a position right next to Borges and Garcia atop the league’s goal-scoring charts is Ongaro, a 22-year-old forward who has bagged 13 goals in 28 CPL games for his hometown club FC Edmonton.
It’s an amazing goal-scoring record, especially when you consider how Ongaro’s CPL career began.
A product of the University of Alberta, Ongaro was selected 15th overall during the 2018 CPL-U SPORTS Draft by Cavalry FC, but he was later released by the Calgary-based club and he signed with FC Edmonton in May 2019.
Ongaro made his CPL debut on July 27, 2019 in a 1-1 draw against Forge FC, marking the occasion by scoring the tying goal in the 89th minute.
He went on to finish third in the Golden Boot race with 10 goals in 21 CPL games for FC Edmonton during the 2019 CPL season. Incredibly, Ongaro didn’t even start a game for the Eddies until the Fall season, as he suffered a broken hand in training during the Spring campaign, limiting him to just 95 minutes of playing time.
Not lacking in confidence, Ongaro was already talking about winning the CPL goal-scoring race in 2020 after finding the back of the net in FCE’s 3-1 loss to York9 FC on Sept. 21, 2019
“Hopefully it’s something that continues over the last few games here and, definitely next season, I think I’ve got to have my sights set on the scoring title,” Ongaro said at the time.
The Eddies were so impressed with Ongaro that they signed him to a new multi-year contract last November, rewarding him for his solid 2019 campaign.
This past February, Ongaro was named to Canada’s provisional under-23 team roster for the Olympic qualifiers, but in March, on the day Canada Soccer was supposed to reveal the final squad, the announcement came that the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IOC eventually postponed the Tokyo Games until 2021.
He followed that up by scoring a team-high three goals for the Eddies in 2020, logging 480 minutes of playing time in seven appearances at The Island Games.
Ongaro’s goal-scoring prowess in the CPL didn’t go unnoticed by clubs from abroad, as Daish outfit Vendsyssel FF signed him to a loan deal in October. As part of the agreement between the two clubs, Vendsyssel FF, who competes in Denmark’s second division, has the option of buying Ongaro’s rights from FC Edmonton and signing him to a permanent contract once the loan deal ends at the end of this year.
Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, Ongaro is noted for using his six-foot-six frame to great effect and was called the soccer version of former Edmonton Oilers great Ryan Smyth on account of his ability to get in front of the net and score from close range.
Those traits were just some of the reasons why former FCE coach Jeff Paulus was such a big fan of Ongaro, and referred to him as “a natural goal scorer” and “a rare talent.”
“He is a player who has the ability to be in the right place at the right time,” Paulus said.
“He’s also a unique individual because he possesses great height, but he’s got great feet and exceptional pace.”