The CPL Transfer Window Is Open
Update: Valour FC made the first move, terminating Stephen Hoyle’s contract by mutual consent.
When the cluck struck midnight and the calendar page turned to July 9, the fall season Canadian Premier League transfer window opened in accordance with the FIFA international transfer windows.
With Isreali Premier League club Hapoel Haifa announcing that it had signed Emery Welshman from his parent club, FC Cincinnati, it looks like Hamilton-based Forge FC will be looking to replace its star striker – though both Forge FC and FC Cincinnati have remained quiet on Emery’s transfer so far. With the transfer window for both his loan club and his parent club now opening, both sides will need to clear the air after Hapoel Haifa indicated that he would be Israel-bound within a few days.
York9 FC boss Jim Brennan also revealed that time is running out for Venezuelan attacking midfielder Jose Pina to sort out his visa issues, with the Nine Stripes prepared to make a decision on the midfielder and potentially nix the transfer in favour of looking elsewhere during the fall season window.
Here’s how each club’s official roster currently stands going in to the fall season transfer window. It’s worth noting that we’re not certain these are being kept entirely up to date, for reasons shown below:
Cavalry FC: 23 players
Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s spring season winners have a full roster to work with, so fans should expect no changes unless Chris Serban is placed on the season-ending injury list. This would then give Tommy an extra space to fill – though Cavalry wouldn’t get any salary cap relief on the extra signing.
FC Edmonton: 22 players
FC Edmonton appears to have room for one more signing. Goalkeeper Chris Ezoua, an FC Edmonton academy player who traveled with the club to an away trip to York Lions Stadium, isn’t listed on the roster – though he does have a profile on the club’s website. It’s unclear if this is just an error on the website, or if Ezoua was only rostered for a single game.
Forge FC: 21 players
As per the CPL website, the Hamilton-based club have room to sign two more players (or three, once Welshman’s outbound transfer is finalized). There has been some speculation that former Toronto FC and Sigma FC product Mo Babouli will join Forge FC through the club’s strong Sigma connection.
The club’s roster doesn’t currently list Baj Maan, a Sigma FC graduate who was called up to fill in for Quillan Roberts while he was away at the 2019 Gold Cup. It’s not clear if Maan is still rostered with the team.
Halifax Wanderers: 23 players
Stephen Hart may not have had feeder clubs like Sigma FC or Calgary Foothills FC to pull players from, but the former Trinidad and Tobago head coach has still filled out a full roster of 23 players to work with – the trick now is just keeping them healthy.
Pacific FC: 21 players
Head coach Michael Silberbauer has room to sign two more players, and if Marcel de Jong needs to be added to the season-ending injury list, the club could then sign a third at its own expense. The club has the youngest squad in the league, and it’s probably fair to say it could use a bit of a veteran’s touch to keep things organized for the full 90.
Valour FC: 22 players
Rob Gale will have a conundrum on his hands: having gone on a six match losing streak across all competitions, the head coach certainly needs to look at making changes. The club has only ever scored more than one goal in its first-ever match, but typically concedes two goals on any given matchday.
Gale said he’s ready to pick a regular starting keeper, but given that both have been left out to dry by some questionable defensive errors, Gale might want to sign someone to shore up the backline and help kickstart a less-painful fall season. Signing David Edgar as a free agent would be a good look for the Winnipeg-based outfit.
York9 FC: 23 players
Former TFC captain Jim Brennan filled out his allotment of players fairly quickly, forging strong connections with York University alumni and becoming the first team to have three goalkeepers on the roster. It’s looking like Jose Pina’s transfer may be cancelled after longstanding visa issues, which would leave Brennan with the space to sign one additional player.
The Nine Stripes has secured a good defensive balance backed by the league-leader in saves, Nathan Ingham. The club’s sole problem is finding a finishing touch, so if any signing is made, it’ll probably be in the form of either an attacking midfielder or a striker who can prove to be consistent.
There’s no telling what the fall transfer window may have in store, but one thing is certain: there should be some clarity when players like Chris Ezoua are added to, and possibly removed from, the roster.
In any case, Canadian Premier League clubs will have until August 7, 2019 to complete any respective transfers from other clubs, which is ample time to sort out rosters as the 18-match fall season progresses. If the spring season was any indication, there won’t be a full roster freeze and clubs will still be able to sign free agents (like David Edgar!) after the transfer window closes.
The Canadian Premier League allows for a 23 player roster, with a maximum of seven international players who don’t hold a Canadian passport. When it comes time for matchday, a minimum of six Canadians must be on the pitch for each club, ensuring that domestic talent is being developed. Each club must have three domestic U-21 players who must clock in 1,000 minutes over the course of the spring and fall seasons.