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New Canadian Premier League Roster Rule Revealed

By on June 1, 2019 0 5011 Views

After a month of Canadian Premier League action, it’s fair to say that not everything regarding the league’s roster system is transparent: the salary cap and individual player salaries are still a mystery, as are specifics of player contract lengths.

Clubs are allowed to have a 23-man roster, a maximum of seven internationals, and must have at least three domestic U-21 players who rack up 1,000 cumulative minutes per season. Each squad that takes to the field must have a majority of Canadian players.

In an on-air chat with Sportsnet 960, Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has offered new information pertaining to how roster rules work with season-long injuries. When asked about the status of Chris Serban, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game against FC Edmonton, Wheeldon Jr. revealed a previously unmentioned roster rule:

The basic rule is that you can have a maximum of a 23-man roster. We did that, but Chris Serban is out for the season, so we’re able to remove him off of the master roster so we do have space if we need to improve. You don’t get any salary cap relief on that, but you do – you know, everybody has some allocation of money they’ve kept aside for if you want to improve or you do get injuries.

Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

The system falls in line with Major League Soccer‘s policy on season-ending injuries, which also permits an additional roster slot, with the impacted club covering the entirety of the player’s salary. Any player placed on the season-long injury list is unable to play for the rest of the season across all competitions, even if they recover faster than expected.

This means that even though Cavalry FC has 23 players on the books, it could potentially sign a new player when the transfer window opens on July 9. The fall season window will run until August 8, so fans might see a bit of shuffling as managers fix the issues that have popped up in each club’s first run of action.

To that end, Wheeldon Jr. has offered a look at his transfer philosophy. He has a strong relationship with the Calgary Foothills of the USL2, and he intends to use the local side as a farm team.

We can look at them and when their season comes to an end, do we promote from within or do we look overseas and say ‘actually we need X or Y’ to give us a push for the fall season.

Cavalry FC currently sit at the top of the Canadian Premier League table, having won five straight games to kick of the season – or seven, if you count Canadian Championship action. That number only up goes when a flawless record from preseason is taken into account.

The return of Jose Escalante will keep all pistons firing up front, though team captain Nik Ledgerwood is out for three to four weeks with an MCL strain. Tommy states that it’s a precautionary measure, as the club wants to ensure the captain is back when the club’s schedule is busier.

For the next two weeks, Cavalry only has two sole home and away fixtures against Forge FC in Voyageurs Cup action. If the club hadn’t eased past Pacific FC in the first qualifying around, it would have had two bye weeks in a row. Rest brings rust, as Tommy says, so they’re more than happy to bring the fight to the hammer.

Cavalry FC Captain

With Ledgerwood out for the two games, it looks like Vice-Captain Mason Trafford will finally get his debut for the Calgary-based team. Before the start of the season saw him go down to injury, he was expected to be a standout defender and was predicted to be one of the most likely CPL players to earn a call up to the national team. He’s now fully returned to fitness, so Cavalry FC fans can expect him to feature as soon as next week against Forge.

With many of the Canadian Premier League’s inner-workings still a mystery, Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s update on how season-long injuries work is certainly food for thought. With Vancouver Isle-based Pacific FC having 22 players on the roster, it means they can sign two players in the fall window, since Marcel de Jong is also out with a season-long injury. It’s unclear if the club has added him to the season-ending injury list.

Outside of the transfer window, clubs can still bring in domestic free agents. This has already occured, with Forge FC signing Jace Kotsopoulos earlier this month, and Pacific FC quietly bringing in two local BC players a few days ago.

With the fall season transfer window only a month away, one has to imagine both Pacific FC and Cavalry FC may make some moves yet. It’s good to know they actually can.

Source: Sportsnet 960

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