Free Agent Giantsopoulos Stuck Between Two Clubs
There’s a reason York United hasn’t announced the return of starting goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos, who many had thought might captain the side for the 2024 CPL season.
The 29-year-old has yet to put pen to paper on a contract with the Nine Stripes as he explores a potential return to former side Cavalry FC, where he’s participating in the club’s preseason camp as a free agent.
Giantsopoulos has made 55 appearances for York United since his arrival in 2021, establishing himself as the de facto starter in the following year. He’s tallied fourteen clean sheets for the Nine Stripes while also making himself a strong voice in the locker room who began to don the armband last season.
The Markham, Ontario native has been part of Cavalry’s early preseason camp ahead of the club’s Concacaf Champions Cup tilt against Orlando City SC. Head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. had recently told the Calgary Herald that he was looking to add a second goalkeeper behind Marco Carducci and another U-21 prospect, hinting at a possible return to Spruce Meadows for Giantsopoulos.
However, this morning saw journalist Emery Taisne tweet that Guadeloupean goalkeeper Davy Rouyard looked set for a loan with Cavalry. Rouyard hasn’t been getting minutes in Ligue 2 with Bordeaux, but he might just be Niko’s competition for the roster spot.
Giantsopoulos had previously made ten appearances in two seasons with Cavalry back in 2019-2020, producing four clean sheets before seeking a fresh start with York United.
Cavalry is certainly proving an attractive destination for CPL athletes, with the club entering 2024 as the reigning regular season champions with continental football on the menu.
Facing MLS competition has always been a goal for Niko, who rode the bench against MLS opponents four times split between Cavalry, York United, and while on an emergency loan with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
While York United has put forth multiple offers to the goalkeeper, head coach Martin Nash has been left waiting to see if the 29-year-old will return for a fourth season at York Lions Stadium. At the time of writing, it’s unclear if Cavalry has tabled Giantsopoulos an offer of their own.
A source close to the York United states that the club’s offers represented an increase from his previous contract.
Behind Max Ferrari and Osaze De Rosario, Giantsopoulos has the most appearances out of any ‘active’ player in the club roster, and would be seven appearances behind usurping Nathan Ingham for the most Nine Stripes appearances ever made by a goalkeeper.
York United will see Elias Himaras back for the upcoming season, with the 21-year-old goalkeeper hoping to bounce back after a meniscus surgery limited him to just two appearances last season. His overall record with York United has landed him an impressive 1.3 goals against average, though his all-time sample size with the Nine Stripes only runs ten matches deep.
York United has organized a few training sessions ahead of the formal launch of preseason, using a rotation of goalkeepers that include the likes of former Pacific trialist and reigning L1O goalkeeper of the year Baj Maan – amongst others – though one has to imagine Niko has remains top of their shotstopper wishlist.
With the calendar month turning to February shortly, however, Giantsopoulos will need to commit somewhere shortly as both Cavalry and York will be seeking to complete their respective rosters.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques