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Pacific FC Edmonton

Which Pro Canadian Clubs Are Giving Domestic Players The Most Minutes?

By on February 16, 2023 0 861 Views

A new infographic has revealed some interesting perspective on which professional clubs have handed Canadians the most minutes since 2019.

The graphic, produced by Northern Football Analysis, shows a pattern that should come as no surprise: Canadian Premier League clubs are giving Canadians a much higher percentage of minutes through their regular seasons, with the league’s eight teams to play from 2019-2022 accumulating 77.6% of the minutes handed to domestic athletes.

The three Major League Soccer teams are bottom of the table in regards to the percentage of minutes played by Canadians, though they still saw 111,551 minutes (or 22.4%) given to them overall.

That should come as no surprise given that CPL teams are required to field a majority of Canadians on the pitch at any time, which means every CPL side will have a hefty percentage of domestic minutes by default. Major League Soccer clubs, though they play at a higher level in league play, do not have such a requirement.

Here’s the graphic itself:

Pacific led the way in terms of overall minutes given to Canadian talent, tallying up some 67,519 minutes on the pitch out of a possible 90,090. Not far behind them is York United, another club which has dedicated significant minutes not just to Canadian talent, but young ones too.

The largely-domestic rosters made for the league have seen CPL teams lean Canada-heavy in cup play as well, with Forge making its Champions League debut last year with ten Canadians starting against Cruz Azul and Pacific starting nine for its continental debut in Jamaica.

Shifting focus back to the regular season minutes counted in the graphic, the only Canadian Premier League club to tally less Canadian minutes than a Major League Soccer side since 2019 was Atletico Ottawa, who didn’t launch until the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Whilst owned by Atletico Madrid, they’ve still still dedicated 61.7% of their total playing minutes to Canadian athletes, with their goalkeeper Nathan Ingham having once said MLS was holding Canadian players back.

CF Montreal Clement Bayiha
Photo Credit: Canada Soccer

CF Montreal is the top club when it come to MLS sides giving Canadian minutes, with one third of their regular season minutes being handed to domestic athletes. Last season saw several of them showcase themselves as the club reached playoffs, resulting in some high-profile transfers afterwards.

While MLS has a higher standard of play overall, the percentage of minutes its three Canadian clubs give to Canadians clocks in at significantly less overall – though they both represent integral parts of the player pathway.

It’s fair to say both players and coaches in the CPL strive to reach up to MLS heights and beyond.

With both leagues combining for nearly half a million minutes of professional action for Canadian athletes, it’s great to see opportunities in both leagues come to domestic talent – and that’s led to plenty of moves for Canadians to go abroad, too.

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