A Deep Dive On Every Canadian In The 2024 MLS SuperDraft
Update: Signing a Generation Adidas contract, Kimani Stewart-Baynes is also eligible…and expected to go in the first round.
With nearly 400 players hoping to hear their names called at the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, tomorrow will see fresh professional careers called into action as the best footballers at the university level seek to take themselves one more rung up the ladder.
Of course, we wanted to cover the Canadian athletes set to participate in the draft. We’ve taken a look at the 15 draft-eligible Canadians spotted by Canucks Abroad, and their dossiers can be found below:
Marcus Caldeira – West Virginia University (Forward)
Having already accumulated some professional experience with Canadian Premier League side Forge FC whilst frequently suiting up for their affiliate side Sigma FC in League1 Ontario, Caldeira is a name already familiar to those who keep a close watch on high-potential Canadian pipelines.
The L1O Young Player of the Year winner has spent the last two seasons playing for West Virginia University, where the forward has bagged 17 goals and 7 assists over the last two years, culminating in helping the Mountaineers reach the College Cup semi-finals this month. With pro experience already on the menu, his sporting resume is looking good.
Stefan Copetti – University of Maryland (Forward)
Toronto-born forward Stefan Copetti has wrapped a storied college career that saw him tally seventeen goal contributions with the University of Maryland over the last two seasons after arriving as a transfer student from Marist College, whom he helped win a conference championship in 2021.
Before all that, Copetti had developed with the Vaughan Soccer Club under the tutelage of Carmine Isacco, who has helped developed not only his Maryland teammate Kimani Stewart-Baynes (who, having signed a Generation Adidas contract, is expected to have teams interested – but as he’s not technically declared, we didn’t include him), but current national team players like Alistair Johnston and Dayne St. Clair, too. Copetti is coming from good stock, but will it show in the draft?
Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau – St. John’s University (Forward)
Ottawa’s own Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau landed All-East region honours to cap a remarkable 2023 after last season saw an ACL tear sideline the MLS SuperDraft hopeful. The forward bagged 14 goals and one assist this year, with a closing game brace against Creighton seeing him finish as the top scorer for St. John’s University.
Having developed with Capital United and the West Ottawa Soccer Club, Fleuriau Chateau clocks in as an intriguing prospect in a long list of MLS hopefuls.
Malik Henry – University of Akron (Midfielder)
Hamiltonian midfielder Malik Henry had featured for Les Rouges at the 2017 CONCACAF Boys’ Under-15 Championship and represented the TFC Academy before enrolling at the University of North Carolina and, for the last three seasons, the University of Akron. It was there where he burst onto the scene with a seven-assist tally in 2021, featuring regularly through to 2023 and earning a Second-Team All Big East Men’s Soccer selection.
The Zips recorded a league-best ten shutouts with Malik playing ahead of their defensive line this season, with the midfielder making fourteen appearances and tallying four assists at the other end. He’s also featured for League1 Ontario side Hamilton Elite United, where he tallied ten appearances last year.
Alexander Krakowiak – James Maddison University (Defensive Midfielder)
Former Polish U-19 international Alexander Krakowiak is already part of the Major League Soccer youth pipeline, having spent some eight years with the TFC Academy.
Now with wrapping up his third season at James Madison University, the midfielder has proven himself to be a technical player with an eye for a good tackle, and a resilient athlete who bounced back well after a ten month recovery spell. He now finishes his JMU career with sixty appearances and All-State first team honours, while also having suited up a handful of times for the Scrossopi FC U-21 while back in his home province of Ontario.
Gabriel Mikina – Syracuse University (Centre-Back)
Toronto native Gabriel Mikana was a surefire starter for soccer powerhouse Syracuse, with the defender proving a rock-solid addition at the back and a threat up top, where he bagged five goals this year.
A longtime member of League1 Ontario side North Toronto Nitros, the Polish-Canadian defender states that his number one ambition is continuing his footballing career long after college. A selection in the MLS SuperDraft would go a long way, and we all know Syracuse is known for producing solid professionals.
Demarre Montoute – Marist College (Centre-Back)
Standing at an imposing six-foot-three, right-footed centre-back Demarre Montoute grew up in Toronto and developed with the Vaughan SC, where several current national team members cut their teeth. Winning OPDL league championships in 2016 and 2017, he attended Marshall University before transferring to Marist College, where the sturdy defender cemented himself as a starter whilst also featuring for USL2 side Hudson Valley Hammers.
Olu Oyegunle – Syracuse University (Defender)
Another former Forge FC football worth watching is Olu Oyegunle, who made his professional debut for the hammers in 2019. Enrolling stateside after that, he’s proven a regular feature in a Syracuse backline that won a treble last year with the ACC Atlantic Division, ACC Tournament Championship, and the NCA National Championship.
The Brampton-raised defender had previously suited for Sigma FC and became on of the youngest players in the CPL when he signed on with Forge in 2019. Back then, he had also been called up for a preparation camp with the Canadian U-17 national team ahead of the U-17 World Cup, suggesting he’s got bags of potential for the future.
Daniel Pacella – University of Vermont (Midfielder)
CF Montreal Academy product Daniel Pacella could be on the precipice of a Major League Soccer career once more. Having captained Vermont for the last three years whilst simulteanously suiting up for USL2 side Vermont Green FC, he’s proven a force to be reckoned with.
Born in Italy and holding a European passport, professional soccer has long-been a big ambition of Pacella. While his final season was hampered with an injury that sidelined him until the the season’s closing stanza, his numerous America East accolades in the years prior show that Pacella has potential.
Sidney Paris – Wake Forest University (Defender)
Paris has gone through several developmental pathways: he tested himself in seven countries before featuring for both the Chicago Fire Academy and TFC Academy, where at the latter he reached a USSDA Championship in 2019 while also featuring in the Generation Adidas U-17 Tournament. He also suited up for Vaughan SC, where Wake Forest alumni Alistair Johnston plied his trade before exploding onto the scene.
The last two seasons saw Paris feature heavily for the Demon Deacons: he was a regular substitute last season, recording four assists through 19 appearances. He stepped up the minutes this season, collecting three goals and two assists as he solidified the defensive line with a clear never-say-die attitude. Prior to his time at Wake, he spent two seasons with the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen.
Paris is one of few MLS SuperDraft hopefules to have national team experience, too: accepting a call-up for Puerto Rico, he’s made five appearances for his country including two in the Gold Cup qualifiers and three in the Concacaf Nations League. He’s also featured for USL2 side AFC Ann Arbor, giving him quite an intriguing profile for teams to look at.
Nolan Premack – California Baptist University (Goalkeeper)
Standing at six-foot-four, Surrey-born goalkeeper Nolan Premack has high ambitions: aspiring to be an orthopedic surgeon, his football career starting with the Whitecaps Academy before he pursued NCAA football. Coming off of a strong campaign that saw him claim WAC Second-Team honours, he allowed less than one goal per game over the course of CBU’s season – a rarity in NCAA action.
Having been named the WAC Tournament MVP last year, whether professional football beckons for Premack remains to be seen. Whether in the OR on the pitch, however, it looks like this BC-born shot-stopper has potential aplenty.
Matthew Radivojsa – University of Notre Dame (Midfielder)
Oakville’s own Matthew Radivojsa has previously suited up for both the TFC ACademy and Canada at the U-15 level, while also attending a Serbia U-17 camp back four years ago. Featuring some 53 for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish over the last three years, he’s amassed 53 appearances, two goals, and three assists for a side that produced prior SuperDraft selection Mohamed Omar, who proved ready for professional football.
Hugo Tavares – New Jersey Institute of Technology (Midfielder)
Born in Lac-Megantic Quebec and spending a portion of his childhood in Portugal, Taveres has featured for Canada at the U-20 level and even suited up for USL2 side Thunder Bay Chill this summer, landing rookie of the season honours with the Ontario-based side. With the NJIT Highlanders, his arrival in 2022 saw him contribute three goals throughout the season, a tally he expanded on this year with five goals and two assists in 19 appearances.
He’s also experience football abroad with FC Pacos de Ferreira, suggesting that Tavares has a lot to offer as a youth prospect in North America.
Deylen Vellios – Ohio State (Right-Back)
Burnaby-born defender Deylen Vellios has co-captained his university side for the last two seasons, though ever since 2021 he’s proven a key addition to the team. A constant starter barring a hamstring injury in that time, he’s shown some verastility on both side of the flanks and even bagged himself quite a first career goal this year, too.
The full-back developed with Mountain United FC before a stint with the Whitecaps FC Academy, following which he featured for Canada at at both the CONCACAF U-17 Championship and the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Nikolas White – Harvard University (Centre-Back)
Donning the armband for Harvard, Nikolas White is a sturdy centre-back with plenty of great experience: playing for both the FC Nurnburg reserves and the Whitecaps FC Academy, this Canadian-Croatian defender also picked up a League1 BC Championship in 2022 with the TSS Rovers.
The Port Moody-raised defender has been a constant presence for Harvard, with the six-foot-two defender amassing 39 matches played. An organizer of the backline, Nikolas is also a threat on the other end, too: he’s tallied six goals and one assist during three years with Harvard, a figure some attacking players would be happy with.
It’s also worth pointing out that his brother Anthony White was the youngest first round pick in the CPL-U SPORTS Draft, Canada’s rough equivalent to the MLS SuperDraft. The brothers were a stalwart defensive pair en route to a League1 BC Championship in 2022, and if MLS doesn’t beckon for Nikolas, reuniting with his brother at Vancouver FC seems like a fairytale alternative.
While whether the fifteen Canadians listed above get selected in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft is anyone’s guess, they’re certainly worth watching even beyond the scope of the US top flight: clubs in USL and CPL will be watching closely to see will remain free agents post-draft, something that we’ve seen before (looking at you, Dan Nimick!).
The 2024 MLS SuperDraft will take place on Tuesday, December 19 at 3:00PM EST through MLS Season Pass.