CF Montreal’s Renard: ‘I Prefer To Loan Our Players To The CPL’
CF Montreal Sporting Director Olivier Renard has revealed why his club prefers to send its young athletes to the Canadian Premier League rather than having them play abroad in leagues like the USL Championship – and it all comes down to domestic flexibility.
“I prefer to loan our players to the CPL because we have more control, we can recall them at any time,” Olivier Renard stated in response to a question from Amine Sabri, “in USL or elsewhere, we can only call them back during the transfer window.”
The flexibility of Canadian Premier League loans has already proven its importance to the MLS side, with the Montreal briefly recalling Jonathan Sirois from Valour FC while James Pantemis was out through COVID-19 protocols. The 20-year-old rode the bench against FC Cincinnati before returning to the CPL side once Pantemis was deemed fully fit.
There was a similar circumstance in 2019 when Ryan Telfer was recalled by rival side Toronto FC for a single match, with the then-York United winger providing an assist against Sporting Kansas City before returning to the Nine Stripes. If either player had been based abroad, their return would be subject to international transfer certificate clearance and, evidently, transfer window openings.
CF Montreal had made five loan arrangements to CPL sides last season, though the loan of Tomas Giraldo was nixed due to an injury sustained by the young midfielder. With Jonathan Sirois, Karifa Yao, Sean Rea, and Keesean Ferdinand all getting good minutes at the professional level, however, the club’s up-and-coming youth talent got plenty of priceless experience under their feet.
CF Montreal was evidently pleased with the developmental progress shown by all of four of its loaned youngsters last year, with the club re-signing all four of them this offseason. Despite missing the previous campaign, Giraldo also saw his contract with CF Montreal extended through the 2022 season.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see Giraldo get a mulligan with the Eddies, especially given that the club has been granted a special exemption to allow the side to take in more than the league maximum number of players on loan this season.
The MLS side is forging its own domestic path in terms of player development, becoming the only Canadian MLS side not to field an MLS NEXT Pro team in the US-based league. Instead, the club will field its reserve team in the PLSQ.
CF Montreal was the first Major League Soccer side to sign a Canadian Premier League player, adding Joel Waterman from Cavalry FC for an undisclosed fee in early 2020. The defender has made 38 appearances in the side since, and got the starting nod in today’s season opener against Orlando City.
While the club has remained quiet on which youngsters will be loaned to the domestic professional league this season, the likelihood that Jonathan Sirois returns to Valour FC got a big boost when Montreal added Logan Ketterer to its ranks. Valour has held off on signing competition for Rayane Yesli throughout the last few weeks in the hopes that this loan could come to fruition.
Should Sirois return to the CPL, Olivier Renard’s comments imply that he won’t be the only one to make such a switch this season.