The CPL’s Required Youth Minutes Will Be Pro-Rated For The Island Games
The Canadian Premier League didn’t take long to prove that it was an ideal league for developing domestic talent at high level, with the league doing its own part to ensure Canadians get valuable minutes on the pitch: every club must field a majority-Canadian squad for each match, and each typical season will see clubs required to give domestic U-21 players at least 1,000 cumulative minutes of game time.
Of course, there’s nothing typical about the modified 2020 Canadian Premier League season: due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, all eight clubs will be undergoing a shortened tournament format in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. With the regular season now lasting just 28 games total (7 matches per team), the league is pro-rating the domestic U-21 minutes that it requires clubs to accumulate.
For The Island Games, every Canadian Premier League club will be required to see Canadian U-21 athletes rack up a cumulative 250 minutes of gametime, as opposed to the standard 1,000 minute requirement for a full season.
In the spirit and commitment to the Canadian Premier League’s objective of developing young Canadian players, the U-21 rule will remain in the Island games. However, due to the reduced schedule we have also altered the minimum requirement of play by U-21 players to reflect this and it will now be set at 250 minutes.Michael Findlay, Director of Development of the Canadian Premier League
Last season saw Pacific FC give youth players more minutes than any other club in the league, with the Tridents having reached the required benchmark just three games into the season. In contrast, FC Edmonton and Cavalry FC were the slowest to rack up youth minutes, and that’s one of the reasons why FC Edmonton gaffer Jeff Paulus would like to see the five substitute rule currently in place by FIFA remain in the CPL for 2021 and beyond: it’d lead to U-21 players on his squad getting more minutes on the pitch.
Assuming that domestic U-21 roster eligibility is allowing for players born in 1999 and beyond, York9 FC currently leads the pack with six youngsters and FC Edmonton follows with five, while Atletico Ottawa, Pacific FC, and Valour FC have four, Cavalry FC and the Halifax Wanderers have three, and Forge FC has two, which means the reigning champions will need to sign at least one more youngster to be roster compliant.
Rumours have indicated that some of the CPL clubs will be shoring up their rosters with a few young domestic signings in the next seven days, with more MLS-to-CPL loans remaining a strong possibility (for instance, Julian Dunn’s name has sprung up frequently). With The Island Games featuring a regular season with just seven games played per club, it’ll be interesting to see which clubs will trust the kids given the raised importance of every single league game.
The 2020 Canadian Premier League season will kick off on August 13 with a match between Forge FC and Cavalry FC, with every game available to watch exclusively on OneSoccer.