February 4: Recapping The Last Week In CPL
With the Canadian Premier League news coming in thick and fast, sometimes it’s hard to keep abreast of everything on a daily basis.
That’s why we’re testing our a new weekly feature that provides a brief recap of the last week, so you can catch up on all things Canadian Premier League in short order.
It’s been a busy week, so let’s not dilly-dally:
The Regular Season Schedule Was Released
The 2023 Canadian Premier League schedule is now public, with the regular season set to run from April 14 through to October 7.
A tasty opening weekend of action will see Vancouver FC enter the fray, with all teams set to enjoy a balanced schedule with 14 home matches and 14 away. The regular season champion will now get a monetary prize and a spot in the Champions League, while the North Star shield winner will also get a Champions League spot and equivalent prize money.
This season also sees clubs set out with an increased salary cap, too.
The full schedule can be seen here.
Eleven Transfers In
There were transfer aplenty over the last week, with no less than eleven player announcements coming from six CPL teams. We keep track of everything in our 2023 CPL Roster tracker, by the way!
This is, without a doubt, the least-brief section of our recap. We’re not sorry.
The capital city club has found a good successor to Drew Beckie at the centre of its defense with Ouimette, a 30-year-old veteran completing his Canadian return after most recently featuring for USL Championship side Indy Eleven.
In Verhoeven, the club gets itself a strong midfielder addition who brings great positional awareness, composure in tight spaces, and a track record of great consistency. Having played for both York United and Pacific, he’s a CPL familiar who’s a nice boost to a midfielder that saw a few departures.
The Wanderers also needed some additions in the centre-back position after having loosed Peter Schaale and Eriks Santos, with Loughrey arriving on a one-year with options for a further two years.
Last year saw the six-foot-three defender make his Forge debut in the Champions League before undergoing a season-long loan with FC Edmonton, with this week’s move re-uniting him with Wesley Timoteo, who is expected to feature as a left-back.
They’ve also added a high-ceiling domestic U-21 midfielder through Tomas Giraldo, who was released by CF Montreal following two seasons plagued by injury. Still, the former Canada U-17 midfielder now has a clean bill of health and could prove a coup for the east cost side.
Pacific FC – Adonijah Reid
The Tridents needed to make a big move following the departure of Marco Bustos, and Adonijah Reid fits the bill. The Canadian forward can play all across the final third of the pitch and was a consistent performer with Miami FC, who he helped reach the playoff stage last season.
With Dominick Zator departing, York United did well to secure two centre-backs through Liberian international Brem Soumaoro and returning captain Roger Thompson, who will both operate alongside Aussie defender Tass Mourdoukoutas.
Also back is Michael Petrasso, who’ll be hoping for a healthy season after being limited to thirteen appearances last year. Dangerous when on the pitch, a healthy Petrasso could be a big boost to an already potent-looking York United attack.
It’s worth noting that Chris Mannella has also trained with a few members of the squad, but so have other free agents local to the Toronto area.
Valour – Jared Ulloa
An intriguing addition who suited up on loan for Valour in 2021, Ulloa now returns to IG Field after a helping Cusco FC win the Peruvian second division last year. Bolstered by consistent competitive experience, the Canadian-Peruvian winger looks a good pickup by Phillip Dos Santos.
While it’s fair to say Hundal was somewhat raw when he played for Valour in 2020, the Canadian forward has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two years: he was a standout for Fort Lauderdale before moving to Inter Miami CF II last year, where he tallied six goals and three assists amidst a year that even saw him called up to the senior team.
He’ll be one to watch for 2023: potentially overlooked by other CPL sides, he could show quite a high ceiling for the league’s newest team.
Also inbound is Tyler Crawford, a first-year pro who developed with the Columbus Crew Academy and impressed in the NCAA circuit. Ghotbi is entrusting the club’s left defensive flank to two brand-new professionals, having already brought in Kahlil John-Wentworth from the Simcoe County Rovers.
Jordan Wilson Retires
York United defensive midfielder and Dad Extraordinaire Jordan Wilson announced the end of his playing career last week, penning a farewell letter shortly before launching his next career steps as a OneSoccer studio analyst.
Wilson had been guest starring on the platform since the 2021 Canadian Premier League season, and we hope to see plenty more of him as the 2023 CPL season gets underway.
Canadian Championship Draw
The live draw for the 2023 Canadian Championship took place this week, revealing the preliminary round matches for the tournament’s earliest start yet. There are three semi-professional teams in the midst this time around, and some tasty potential matchups on the menu.
The early start has proven somewhat controversial, with several teams unable to host and Halifax’s opening tilt needing to occur at a neutral venue. Canada Soccer tells us this location, along with the complete fixture times, will be sorted in a few days.
Canadian football in April is always tough to negotiate, but we’re excited to see the competition continue to grow.
League1 Canada: Exclusive Interview Reveals Plans From Coast-To-Coast
Last weekend we published the results of a thorough interview from our very own David Parkes which detailed everything from the starting seeds for League1 Prairies and League1 Maritimes, to updates for Ontario’s system of promotion, relegation, and everything in between.
It’s a good chat and well worth a read if you’re into Canada’s pathway to professional football!
CPL Player Movement Abroad
This week saw the shock sale of Atletico Ottawa star forward Ballou Tabla, who moved to Turkish second division side Manisa FK for an undisclosed (but reportedly high) fee.
Wrapping up the moves is Valour export William Akio, whom Ross County has loaned to Raith Rovers following a bit of controversy.
While not movement-related, a special shout out to Diyaeddine Abzi for scoring his first goal for Ligue 2 side Pau FC.
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.
With the league kicking off in two-and-a-half months, we expect February will contain preseason camp news (though we’ve got York covered), plenty of new signings, and an inevitable batch of off-pitch drama springing up from somewhere.
Before all that, though, we hope you have a fantastic weekend!