Five Former Players The TSS Rovers Might Face In The Canadian Championship
With the 2023 Canadian Championship being handed its earliest start date yet, fourteen teams from coast-to-coast will soon be entering knocking competition before you know it.
One of the three clubs to be making their domestic cup debut are the TSS Rovers, who also make history as the first player-owned club to feature in the competition.
The reigning League1 BC champions will enter the fray by way of besting all of their competition in the inaugural L1BC season, though their historic roots lie much deeper: having played in the USL2 and PDL, they’ve been helping develop players since they were founded by Will Cromack and head coach Colin Elmes in 2017.
That history now means that there are several former TSS Rovers who might suit up for the competition in cup action. Here’s a few of them:
The TSS Rovers were a big stepping stone for Valour left-back and 2021 CPL champion Jordan Haynes, with the 27-year-old using them to stay fit and sharp ahead of a UBC campaign that catapulted him back into the professional game after years of struggle outside of it.
If you’re not familiar with his multi-year fight to return to professional soccer, it’s worth a read.
Following his 2019 USL2 campaign with the TSS Rovers, Haynes has firmly established himself at the professional level, winning a CPL title in 2021. Inking a deal with Valour this year, the former Pacific man said he was looking forward to facing his former team Pacific on a recent podcast – and one has to imagine he’d be up for facing the Rovers, too.
With Valour in the west pot alongside the Rovers, this is a reunion that could take place right off the bat.
Should the TSS Rovers have the opportunity to square up against Major League Soccer side CF Montreal – the only MLS team without a bye directly into the second round – they’ll have to face their most famous export.
Joel Waterman made eleven appearances for the Rovers during their PDL era before a remarkable year-over-year rise to his career took hold: he went from the Calgary Foothills to Cavalry FC in 2019, Cavalry FC to CF Montreal in 2020, and followed up a breakthrough season in 2022 to crack Canada’s World Cup roster just two months ago.
All-told, it’s harder to think of a more tasty player reunion for the TSS Rovers than Joel Waterman. It’d just be quite a path for the Rovers to get there.
Much like Jordan Haynes, Verhoven used the TSS Rovers as a springboard up to professional heights and has featured in the CPL ever since. The former Pacific midfielder is now entering his third season with Atletico Ottawa, where he’ll want to impress ahead of an option year.
Verhoven made 21 appearances for the TSS Rovers in their PDL era while simultaneously impressing with the UBC Thunderbirds. Should the two meet again, he’ll be keen to show how much his grown since taking flight at the professional level.
Tonight’s draw will see one pro team from the east placed in the west pot, so while it’s unlikely that Verhoven will face his former side in the opening round, it’s not exactly impossible, either.
Marcello Polisi (Valour FC)
The Polisi brothers both suited up for the TSS Rovers from 2017-2019, with Marcello featuring 22 times for the club and helping them hoist the Juan de Fuca Plate twice in that time.
The defensive midfielder, a standout with Simon Fraser University, was eligible for for the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, though he wound up signing in the CPL with the Halifax Wanderers instead. The Coquitlam native then made 36 appearances for the east coast side over the next two years.
The older Polisi brother signed with Valour FC on a free transfer earlier this year, which means that a TSS Rovers – Valour FC draw in the cup would see see both Polisi and Haynes suit up against their former side.
This one’s a bit up in the air, but it’d be interesting: Anthony White was the first-overall selection in this year’s CPL-U SPORTS Draft, with the young centre-back earning the opportunity to fight for a contract with Vancouver FC. Prior to that, he helped the TSS Rovers win the inaugural League1 BC Championship, forming a tight defensive pairing with his older brother Nikolas.
It still remains to be seen if Anthony will earn a contract after from Vancouver FC, but even if he doesn’t any kind of matchup between the TSS Rovers and Vancouver FC will be tantalizing: if he does sign, he’ll play against his former team, including his brother. If he doesn’t, will he suit up for the Rovers and test himself against the the team who snubbed him? This has the potential to be juicy.
There are more notable former Rovers athletes who might land with other sides still, including Marcello’s brother Matteo, former Eddies forward Mamadi Camara, or Gabriel Escobar, who still might be returning to the Wanderers.
Whatever happens, cup competitions put it all on the line, and the first round is sure to entertain. With a League1 BC representative now added to the cup, the competition is healthier for it.