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2024 CPL-U Sports Draft Roundup

2024 CPL-U SPORTS Draft Roundup

By on December 14, 2023 0 2128 Views

The 2024 CPL-U SPORTS Draft has now wrapped up, with all eight Canadian Premier League sides going through two rounds with one selection apiece.

For the first time in league history, the build-up to the draft saw a direct trade for draft slots that involved ‘future considerations’, with national title winners Cape Breton University seeing three of their own crack the sixteen selections.

Without further ado, here’s the roundup of player picks from the 2024 CPL-U SPORTS Draft:

Round 1, Pick 1: Valour FC – Owen Sheppard (Cape Breton University)

Clocking in as the first overall draft pick is reigning U SPORTS Championship winner and tournament MVP Owen Sheppard.

who has been a crucial player for Cape Breton University.

The St. John’s, Newfoundland-born forward has tallied sixteen goals over his three years out east so far, an incredible nine of which games in 2023.

It’s clear that head coach Phillip Dos Santos hoping he can help Valour produce goals after they club didn’t put many in the back of the next last season.

Round 1, Pick 2: Vancouver FC – Luke Norman (University of British Columbia)

It’s another UBC link-up out west with Thunderbirds midfielder Luke Norman, who turned heads at Vancouver FC after a stellar rookie campaign: the midfielder nabbed an astounding six goals and just as many assists as UBC stormed to a Canada West Championship win, earning bronze at nationals this year.

Playing alongside players like former Pacific FC draft pick Eric Lajunesse will have set an early standard for Norman, who has also tested himself as a Vancouver Whitecaps academy prospect. As a first-year student, this looks to be a big win for Vancouver FC.

Round 1, Pick 3: Atletico Ottawa – Luca Piccioli (Carleton University)

The first round selection for Ottleti sees them bring in a product of their club’s ‘Powered By’ affiliates in the Gloucester Hornets who is coming off of quite a year with the Carleton Ravens.

Piccioli captained the side to an OUA title this year, with the central midfielder showcasing a good technical ability throughout the season. He’s trained with the Atletico Ottawa first team previously through their Atletico Madrid development program, so this is a move the club has plenty of faith in.

Round 1, Pick 4: York United – Christian Zeppieri (York University)

York United may be under new ownership, but the club’s philosophy of looking local has remained under the Pasquel brothers: their first round draft pick grabs York Lions stalwart Christian Zeppieri, an attack-minded midfielder with a lethal proficiency in set pieces.

A regular feature for League1 Ontario heavyweights Vaughan Azzurri, Zeppieri also made twenty appearances in provincial action this year.

Round 1, Pick 5: Halifax Wanderers – Daniel Clarke (Cape Breton University)

The Halifax Wanderers have now picked a goalkeeper in consecutive drafts, with Clarke following in the footsteps of Aiden Rushenas after a fine display in the U SPORTS National Championship, recording a clean sheet in the final.

Clarke’s selection is no surprise: a familiar face with the Wanderers U-23 team, the England-born shot-stopper arrives with fairly good experience already and has been hailed by Capers boss Deano Morley as one of the best young keepers in Canada.

Having developed with Northampton Town Football Club before his family moved to Canada, and has ample League1 Ontario experience through both Scrosoppi FC and the Woodbridge Strikers. He’s also trialed with Stoke City, Port Vale, and Leicester City, so this ‘keeper is worth keeping an eye on.

Round 1, Pick 6: Pacific FC – Michael Maslanka (University of Toronto)

Maslanka is a first-year forward out of the University of Toronto who has turned a lot of heads in 2023. Capable of playing both as a striker and a winger, the 2005-born attacker won plenty of accolades in 2023, including the OAU East Rookie of the Year and inclusions for the U-SPORTS All-Rookie team.

“Michael is a young attacking player, a goal scorer with good potential,” adds PFC boss James Merriman, who certainly knows a thing or two about developing young talent.

Round 1, Pick 7: Cavalry FC – Caden Rogozinski (Mount Royal University)

Former Calgary Foothills U-23 captain Caden Rogonzski has been drafted by Cavalry before, and now arrives as centre-back with a lot of upside and even more experience with MRU.

Described by Tommy Wheeldon Jr. as a player who remind of a young Dominick Zator, it’s clear Cavalry has high-hopes for a defensive product they’re well familiar with, especially after he’s now accrued more experience at the U SPORTS level.

Round 1, Pick 8: Forge FC – Mouhamed Ndiaye (UQTR)

Second-year attacking midfielder Mouhamed Ndiaye is getting the nod from the reigning league champions, who were evidently impressed by his potential on the pitch after he helped UQTR to an RSEQ title.

Ndiaye tallied proved a crucial element in the attack en route to the provincial championship, showcasing himself as a consistent athlete with good mental and technical attributes. It’s hard to break through at Forge, however, so it’ll be interesting to see if Ndiaye sticks.

Round 2, Pick 1: Valour FC – Gianfranco Facchineri (University of Windsor)

One of the biggest head-turners of the draft is the return of Gianfranco Facchineri to the CPL. Having gone on loan with Atletico Ottawa in 2020, the sturdy defender seeks to get the minutes here he’s long-craved.

The 21-year-old’s career hasn’t gone in the way many had predicted: having once captained Canada at the U-17 level, he was on a homegrown player contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps until the team exercised a buyout of his guaranteed contract in 2022 to waive the young defender.

This summer saw Facchineri suit up for League1 Ontario side Windsor City FC some 15 times, recording two goals and a tasty lil’ red card throughout a campaign highlighted by a L1O Defender of the Year nod.

Valour has a low-risk, high-reward draft signing on its hands.

Round 2, Pick 2: Cavalry FC – Rodane Cato (University of Alberta)

In a league-first, Vancouver FC traded its second round draft selection spot to Cavalry shortly ahead of the draft. Cavalry used it on Rodane Cato, a University of Alberta midfielder it clearly has high hopes for.

Round 2, Pick 3: Atletico Ottawa – Samuel LaPlante (UQTR)

LaPlante was selected by Valour FC, but the left-footed left-back(!) will now test himself closer to home in the nation’s capital.

The Quebec Provincial team left-back is known for his runs down the flank, with Carlos Gonzalez stating that there is great room for improvement for a player with characteristics ‘hard to find’ domestically. Earmarking him as one with big future potential, it’ll be interesting to see if LaPlante makes an impact following his second-ever draft selection.

Round 2, Pick 4: York United – Jason Hartill (Cape Breton University)

Described as a rookie on the rise following a championship-winning season with the Capers, Hartill arrives as a team Ontario standout who has also plied his trade with the TFC Academy.

Overall, Carthill looks to be an astute pickup for the Nine Stripes, especially given his hometown proximity to draft opposition Atletico Ottawa.

Round 2, Pick 5: Halifax Wanderers – Max Bodurtha (St. Francis Xavier University)

Like Halifax’s first round selection, Haligonian midfielder Max Bodurtha has also plied his trade as part of the Wanderers U-23 squad.

Standing at an imposing six-foot-two, the Halifax City SC product will hope he can crack through a squad led by one of the top-ranked coaches in the Americas for trusting young talent.

Round 2, Pick 6: Pacific FC – Ibrahem Saadi (Western University)

OUA West Rookie of the Year Ibrahem Saadi is a proven product at both centre-back and pushed forward as a defensive midfielder, and he’s now poised to add an intriguing element to a Pacific side that enjoyed defensive success with Eric Lajunesse at its last draft.

“Ibrahem is a technically strong centre-back who can play with both feet,” adds Merriman. “He has a deceiving change of pace in possession which allows him to play out of a difficult situation, and he’s calm on the ball.”

The London, Ontario native played a big part in Western limited their goals against to just seven throughout the season, and he’ll be hoping to contribute similar things as he sticks around clubs with a purple colour theme.

Round 2, Pick 7: Vancouver FC – Thomas Powell (Trinity Western University)

In his second year of declared draft eligibility, Thomas Powell has landed an opportunity to earn a pro contract close to his hometown of Coquitlam. The five-foot-seven midfielder suited up twelve times for the Spartans this year.

He also suited up eleven times in League1 BC for Unity FC, scoring two goals along the way.

Round 2, Pick 8: Forge FC – Amadou Kone (Carleton University)

Right-footed forward Amadou Kone clocks in as the left draft selection of 2024. He featured twelve times for the Carleton Ravens en route to an OAU championship.

Forge liked the looks of his one-on-one capabilities, which fits well into how they break down defensive lines. Kone, 18, has also played for League1 Quebec side Ottawa South United.

It’s worth repeating that a selection in the 2024 CPL-U SPORTS Draft is far from a contract offer: these players have accepted invitations to train with their selecting sides in a bid to earn a U-SPORTS contract – which retains their university sport eligibility – or potentially carve out a professional deal for themselves.

Which side do you think came out best in the draft this year?

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