State of the League: Clanachan on trialists, kit partnership with Macron and player signings sat down with league commissioner David Clanachan for the second instalment of this exclusive bi-monthly series, asking for updates on the #GotGame Open Trials, the Macron kit partnership, player signings and more. What’s the next step from these trials, and what will happen to players CPL coaches have identified as, potentially, being talented enough to attend a preseason camp for further evaluation?

Clanachan: “My interaction with the coaches at the Open Trials in Halifax, Montreal and Hamilton demonstrated we’ve exceeded our expectations entering this process. There’s a great level of diversity within the talent pool that we’ve seen, both from Canada and abroad, and in my opinion, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the talent that’s been available.

“If this is an indication of the talent levels we can expect to see as we move to Toronto, Winnipeg, Alberta and, finally, Vancouver Island, I foresee potentially 15-20 players from the Open Trials receiving invites to one of our team’s preseason camps.”

You’ve been at field level. You’ve interacted with CPL coaches throughout this process. What has been the most pleasing aspect of these Open Trials?

Clanachan: “I’ve been very pleased with the aptitude for the game, the attitude towards the game and the level of desire from the trialists. Also, there’s some real talent for the future – young men who are maybe not ready today, but are 16, 17 years old and can hold their own in the game at this early stage, which gives me great comfort in the state of soccer in Canada moving forward.”

Representatives from the Canadian Premier League recently returned from Bologna, Italy and talks with Macron, the league’s official jersey provider. What can you tell us about those conversations and what fans can expect when the league’s inaugural jerseys are revealed?

Clanachan: “Before travelling to Bologna to finalize the deal with Macron, I read quite a bit about the company and had the opportunity to speak with some of their key team members. Having hosted Gianluca Pavanello, their CEO, here in Toronto, I was looking forward to getting over there. What we found when we got there was that Macron was not just a supplier, but a fantastic partner. The CPL has a global partner that can really change how people and supporters look at the kits in our game in Canada.

“When people use the term bespoke, it’s not a word that everybody understands. It really, truly means unique and custom. I can assure all of our supporters that we have created truly bespoke, custom, unique kits. I think that every Canadian will be proud of their league’s teams being dressed the way they are, home and away, but also pleased by the fact that each team’s home and away kits will be very different from every other kit in the league. I can’t wait. I’m going to end up buying 14 different jerseys at this rate.”

The CPL’s inaugural jerseys are set to be revealed in early 2019. Can you give us some information on the design process?

Clanachan: “Initially each club individually sat down with the Macron design and marketing teams to collaboratively design their kits. Following that, I asked that Macron line up all the kits, home and away, next to one another, to be able to make sure that they truly were unique across the league. We wanted to avoid a group-think mentality on certain design elements, and every single one of them showed a level of uniqueness that exceeded my expectations.

“We found the best global partner in Macron, whose enthusiasm, support and diligence shown throughout the design process was instrumental in our collective efforts to grow passion for soccer from coast to coast in Canada. And, we haven’t even begun to tell the story as we lead into the unveiling of each of these unique kits. Something fans and Canadians in general can get excited about.”

Have CPL clubs targeted a date to reveal their first player signings?

Clanachan: “There’s been great anticipation by our supporters to find out who will be playing in the CPL next year, and I’d love to announce players right now, but the reality is that we’re still developing roster plans with the coaches that will start to become public within the next two weeks.

“There’s a myriad of administrative work and confidential contract negotiations that are dictating our timing, but we’ll have some really exciting news in the next two weeks.”

On the development of the league’s app …

Clanachan: The CPL will be the first league to launch with their club and league app integrated right from the start, and there are a number of exciting and exclusive features within the platform. That platform will be the leading source of engagement and information for supporters and fans with it becoming the hub for exclusive content, rewards, contests and more 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year enhancing fans’ gameday and non-game day experiences. We think it’s a world class application that will drive great fan engagement across the country. ”

What can we expect from ticket packages?

Clanachan: “This week, Forge FC announced its ticket packages, and we had tremendous response from their supporters. We’re seeing tickets in Hamilton range from $13 to $49 for a 15-game total package. The average is at the $23-$25 range per game, so it’s an extremely affordable, well-rounded option not just for a single supporter, but for a family as well.

“And, for Forge FC, every season seat holder will get an authentic jersey, the same jerseys the players wear. If you order four ticket packages, you get four jerseys.”