July 14, 2024
  • July 14, 2024
Pacific FC Eric Lajeunesse

Pacific First Past The Post In U-21 Minutes Milestone

By on June 28, 2024 0 688 Views

Having entered last night just three minutes away from hitting the Canadian Premier League’s mandatory number of minutes given to Canadian youth players, Pacific FC is now officially the first CPL team past the post this season.

The Tridents have now handed over 2,000 minutes to domestic U-21 athletes, an annual benchmark the league requires each squad to uphold if they’re to qualify for postseason.

Pacific FC Eric Lajeunesse
Photo Credit: John Jacques

The bulk of those minutes have come from U SPORTS defender Eric Lajeunesse, who has been a superb returnee to the tightest defensive line in the league. Tallying 838 minutes heading into last night’s match, it’s easy to envision a professional sporting career approaching quickly for the UBC athlete.

He started last night, directly pushing the side over the 2,000 minute in the third minute of the match.

Flashback: Gazdov: Pacific Is The ‘Perfect Place’ For The Young Number One Goalkeeper

Entering the Salish Sea Derby against mainlanders Vancouver FC, the club had also tallied 646 minutes from goalkeeper Emil Gazdov, who’s ascension to a starting role has hit a powerful stride. He’d have even more minutes if not for an illness he’s recently recovered from, with the goalkeeper riding the bench last night behind Daniel Zadravec.

Pacific FC Emil Gazdov
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

Paul Amedume and Christian Greco-Taylor have both tallied youth minutes too, as has development signing Sami Keshavarz, while 16-year-old Mattias Vales is awaiting his pro debut.

Pacific were the first to hit the milestone in the league’s inaugural season, doing so in just three matches back when the league only required 1,000 minutes given to Canadian U-21 talent.

Last season saw both Valour and Vancouver FC hit the mandatory milestone almost exactly on year ago to the day. Valour is currently second in the race for domestic youth minutes this year with 1,310 ahead of its win against York United last night, while Vancouver FC – despite having eight eligible athletes – was in fifth at 740 minutes before last night’s Salish Sea Derby win.

Halifax Wanderers Tiago Coimba Jack Barrett
Photo Credit: James Bennett

As we near the midpoint of the season, it’s clear some clubs will need to pick up the pace. Atletico Ottawa (466 minutes) and last-placed Halifax Wanderers (317 minutes), in particular, will need to give more time to the next generation if they’re to meet the 2,000 minute marker by season’s end.

No club has ever missed this mark before, with the league stating failure to do so will make a side ineligible for playoffs regardless of where they finish in league standings.

Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *