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York United Jonathan Grant Trial

February 10: Recapping The Last Week In CPL

By on February 10, 2023 0 1318 Views

With the Canadian Premier League preseason window slowly approaching, clubs are busy finalizing the details on how to best prepare for the league’s fifth campaign.

There’s a lot that ultimately took palce over the last seven days – including a lawsuit, even – so here’s a brief recap of everything you might have missed regarding Canada’s top flight:

Vancouver FC Afshin Ghotbi
Photo Credit: Vancouver FC

Preseason Plans Are Taking Shape

This week we broke news for the preseason structure of both York United and Vancouver FC, with the former embarking on two separate US-based trips and the latter setting up an extensive, seven-match preseason camp to prepare for their CPL debuts.

There’s been interesting faces seen at both camps, with York United inviting players like Jonathan Grant, Lucas Birnstingl, and Chris Mannella to train, while Vancouver FC has looked at players as young as 15-year-old TJ Tahid Munkayilar and as old as 35-year-old Gregory Van Der Wiel.

February has seen players filtering back to their respective sides, something we can expect to see more of ahead of full preseason camp trips in March.

York United Noah Verhoeven
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Four Transfers In

This week was comparably calm after the eleven signings we saw before, with only four player signings being unveiled this week.

Atletico Ottawa – Noah Verhoeven

Canadian Noah Verhoeven is off to his third CPL side in Atletico Ottawa, where the deep-lying midfielder offers something different for the Atleti midfield. His contributions felt undersung at both Pacific and York, and overall this looks like a good pickup for the capital city club.

Cavalry FC – Callum Montgomery

Former Minnesota United defender Callum Montgomery is a big signing for Cavalry, especially after the departures of Karifa Yao and David Norman. Jr.

The big man at the back spent the last two seasons on loan with San Diego Loyal and Minnesota United 2, and there’ll be expectations that the big man will prove to be a consistent and strong anchor at Spruce Meadows.

Halifax Wanderers – Tomas Giraldo, Theo Collomb

Former CF Montreal midfielder Tomas Giraldo is an intriguing pickup: he’s been highly-touted at the academy level and looked good with the Canada U-17 side a few years ago, but his last two seasons were largely hampered by injury.

With his physical rehab now complete, the 19-year-old offers is a low-risk, high-reward addition for the Wanderers: he’s either going to prove an excellent midfielder who can help the side win possession in the middle of the park, or he’ll be a small budget hit for a sole season.

Somewhat similarly, Frenchman Theo Collomb had a strong start with Whitecaps FC 2 last year following his selection in the MLS SuperDraft, but found his season curtailed through knocks. He’s another one with a high ceiling and plenty to prove.

Canadian Premier League Match 2022
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

The Neutral Venue Fiasco

The preliminary round of the Canadian Championship will see Atletico Ottawa and the Halifax Wanderers play their match at York Lions Stadium, a solution that hasn’t entirely left either fanbase content.

The neutral venue was required as both club’s had opted out of hosting the preliminary round. Actually, Ottawa mistakenly opted out of hosting duties for the full tournament, which is something which they’re looking to rectify.

In any event, it opens something we haven’t seen before: a Canadian Championship double-header. Atletico Ottawa and Halifax will play at YLS on April 19 at 5:00PM EST, after which York United and Vancouver FC will play at 8:00PM EST on the same pitch. For CPL-obsessed fans in Toronto, it’s a dream – so long as you’re off work ahead of 5PM, of course.

Also, a big kudos to the Halifax Wanderers, who have organized a party plane away trip for the midweek match – and at a reasonable price for what’s included!

Saskatoon Prairieland Park Stadium

Saskatoon Ownership Group Named In Stadium Lawsuit

Things have been progressing slowly in terms getting a soccer-specific stadium built at Prairieland Park for the Saskstchewan CPL team, and this week’s news won’t help: the venture is backed by Al Simpson and his company Living Sky Sports and Entertainment, and both of them were named in a lawsuit by his former business partner Joe Belan.

Belan alleged that his own company had exclusive rights with Prairieland Park for a soccer-specific stadium, and believes the other parties committed a breach of contract when they cut him out the deal and negotiated amongst themselves.

Seeking ten million dollars in damages through the Ontario Superior Court, where the allegations have yet to be proven.

Vancouver FC Stadium Render
Photo Credit: Vancouver FC

A First Look At Vancouver FC’s Stadium

The modular soccer-specific stadium that Vancouver FC is to call home has finally been revealed (at least, on concept form). Inspired by the Vancouver’s Empire Field, the club’s home ground at Willoughby Community Park within the Langley Events Centre will boast a capacity of 6,560 with room for further expansion.

Leaving all of the seats uncovered is a bold one for a team on the lower mainland, though we’re told that covers may be added in a second phase of construction for the stadium set to come later on.

Elimane Cisse Senegal

Former CPLers Abroad

There’s a few moments to highlight for Canadian Premier League players abroad, too.

Last weekend saw former Forge midfielder Elimane Cisse make three appearances for Senegal en route to the country’s African Nations Championship win. The 27-year-old earned the call-up after impressing with Diambars FC, with only players playing within their country of birth eligible for the tournament.

We’ve also seen former York United defender Dominick Zator crack the team of the week in the Polish Ekstraklasa after exactly the type of head-turning performance he hopes will earn him national team considerations.

His former teammate Chrisnovic N’sa has also landed with MLS Next Pro expansion side Huntsville City FC, while it looks like Antoine Coupland is set for a Canadian return with WFC2.

Cavalry FC Oliver Minatel
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

Oliver Minatel Returns To Cavalry As Head Of Recruitment And Player Development

Now there’s a title that will need a small font on the business card! All the same, it’s great to see Oliver Minatel set to help grow the league in a new role off the pitch following his retirement a few months ago.

It’s easy to forget that the Canadian Premier League doesn’t just help careers on the pitch – there is a large network of coaching and support staff that help make everything happen, and it’s crucial that this pathway continues to pay dividends too.

Also breaking just after this article’s publication is Mason Trafford’s similar move to a full-time club office role, too.

That wraps up our summary of the biggest bits of Canadian Premier League news to come from the last week. Our full articles on each item linked above have details aplenty should you want to know more.

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