June 18, 2024
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2024 Canadian Premier League Transfers

Five Canadian Players Who Could Make CPL Moves

By on January 27, 2024 0 3312 Views

With the 2024 Canadian Premier League season ticking ever closer, all eight clubs are now firmly in the midst of their roster builds behind the scenes.

While we’ve already looked at possible MLS-To-CPL transfer moves for the offseason, we wanted to shine a lens on five more Canadian athletes who could be set for the league. While none are confirmed and will have other options on the table, we’d say they’re more likely than most.

Without further ado, here’s five players we could see landing in the Canadian Premier League this year:

Vancouver Whitecaps Joe Hanson
Photo Credit: Bob Frid / Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Joe Hanson

Making history as the first-ever player from the Yukon Territories to sign a professional soccer deal, Whitehorse’s own Joe Hanson would be a good fit to test himself in the CPL.

Having spent two seasons in MLS NEXT Pro with Whitecaps FC II, the 20-year-old he already amassed 36 professional appearances that have seen him tested out on not only both sides of the pitch, but in an advanced forward role as well. In a salary cap league like the CPL, that versatility is key.

The turn of the calendar year saw Hanson out-of-contract with the Whitecaps, suggesting a move to the CPL could be on the horizon. He’s a good fit for the league, but the main question is where he fits in best and who could use the domestic U-21 minutes.

Alliance United Nikola Stakic
Photo Credit: Martin Bazyl

Nikola Stakic

Longtime Alliance United midfielder Nikola Stakic has proven year-over-year that he’s ready for the pro ranks: he was the League1 Ontario Midfielder of the Year in 2019 and 2022, racking up First Team All-Star status in both those seasons. He added another one this year as well, contributing 11 goals just 16 games while earning eight team of the week nods: surely, someone in the CPL has to have noticed what the TFC Academy product is doing.

While he just turned 26, Patrice Gheisar brought in League1 Ontario players Massimo Ferrin (25) and Riley Ferrazzo (24) last year, and they both proved strong assets for a playoff-clinching team. Stakic is clearly a level above L1O, and if anyone deserves to step up into the pro ranks from there, it’s him.

Hamilton Academical Dario Zanatta
Photo Credit: Hamilton Academical

Dario Zanatta

Former Whitecaps Academy forward Dario Zanatta has spent his entire professional career abroad in Scotland, amassing over 200 appearances for the likes of Raith Rovers, Ayr United, Partick Thistle, Heart of Midlothian, and more. Currently with Hamilton Academical, there have been whispers that home is calling for the 26-year-old.

It’s worth noting that Zanatta – who was born and raised in Victoria, BC – is still under contract with the Hamilton Accies, so if he crosses the pond it’ll likely be after the start of the 2024 CPL season unless the club lets him go. The two-time Scottish Challenge Cup winner can play anywhere up top, with this season seeing him tally three goals in 15 appearances.

Bohemian FC Kris Twardek
Photo Credit: Bohemian FC

Kris Twardek

Another Canadian talent who has spent many a year in Europe, we’ve already confirmed that feisty winger Chris Twardek is coming home to Canada – but his linkup with the CPL hasn’t been made official as of yet.

The Ottawa-raised winger is at a prime stage of his career, and his versatility to play on both flanks is a big plus in a roster-size limited league like the CPL. With Twardek having played for the likes of Sligo Rovers, Jagiellonia Bialystok, FK Senica, and Bohemians (among others), he can certainly contribute nicely at the CPL level.

MLS SuperDraft 2022 Nate Dos Santos

Nathan Dossantos

Here’s an interesting one to watch: former 2022 MLS SuperDraft pick Nathan Dossantos might be on the move. While drafted by Orlando back then, he ultimately signed with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Year one saw him make 22 appearances for the USL side, with 2023 seeing him step into overdrive.

The Oakville-born left-back was a de facto starter for the side, splitting his time between left-back and centre-back en route to not only clinching playoffs, but keeping a clean sheet against eventual MLS champions Columbus Crew in the US Open Cup’s Round of 16.

Dossantos is now fielding a few options but north and south of the border, though it’s worth noting he switched his representation to Eikon Sports – an agency which represents numerous players in CPL pastures – though it remains to be seen if Nathan will soon count himself amongst them.

While it remains to be seen if any of the above players ultimately come to terms with Canadian Premier League sides, we think all five of them both deserve the opportunity and have a decent chance of securing a move.

The 2024 Canadian Premier League season is set to kick off on April 13, though the league currently finds itself without an official broadcast solution following a legal dispute with OneSoccer’s parent company, Mediapro.

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