Cavalry FC Player Gabriel Bitar Returning To Carleton University
20-year-old Cavalry FC striker Gabriel Bitar will be leaving the club as he returns his focus to completing his post-secondary education.
Bitar was selected first overall in the CPL-U SPORTS draft, and becomes the second of the bunch to return to University behind Halifax Wanderers defender Peter Schaale. Due to the arrangement of the draft, the players are still eligible to play for their respective university teams.
Out of all the first round draft picks, Bitar had accrued the second-least amount of minutes, putting him ahead of only Forge FC’s Jace Kotsopoulos – though the latter is getting a handful of high-profile minutes in the CONCACAF League.
Here’s how the first round draft picks stack up in terms of minutes. Thomas Gardner, who was drafted by Pacific FC, did not ultimately end up signing for the team.
Interestingly, Bitar’s only professional appearances have come against Pacific FC. He made his debut for Cavalry FC against them in the Canadian Championship on May 15, coming on as as a substitute for Jordan Brown. Head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. gave him two full matches after that, first in the second leg against Pacific FC and then on the Canada Day match which closed out the spring season.
We wish Gaby all the best with his return to school. This won’t be the last professional opportunity for Gaby, as he has great attacking tools that with further work will continue improving. We felt returning to school to continue his studies and get more meaningful game time is the right thing for the player. We will continue to monitor his progress with the Carleton RavensTommy Wheeldon Jr.
With the idea of the CPL-U SPORTS draft being that players reserve their eligibility play for their university teams upon their return to university, it wouldn’t be surprising if Bitar and Schaale aren’t the only ones to make such announcements in the near future.
In contrast to that, 22-year-old midfielder Emmanuel Zambazis has recently announced that he was forgoing a return to university in order to carry on with the Nine Stripes on a full-time basis.
It means everything to me. Obviously, the level is much higher. Being in a professional environment, as well, it’s huge. I’ve enjoyed it. I really love coming in everyday and training with the guys. I’m happy to stay.Emmanuel Zambazis
Nine Stripes fans will be happy to hear that Daniel Gogarty graduated in the summer, so one can imagine he’ll be sticking around, too.
The Canadian Premier League encourages clubs to play younger domestic players, with a league-wide rule indicating that each club must have at least three Canadian U-21 players on its roster. These players must accumulate 1,000 minutes of game time each season.
To that end, Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has brought in a 16-year-old striker to replace Bitar, and he already made his debut against the Halifax Wanderers last weekend. The youngster had scored five goals in his last five games for the Calgary Foothills, who finished the USL2 season as Western Conference Northwest Division champions. It’ll be interesting to see how Pepple fares compared to the older CPL-U SPORTS draft picks.
Source: Cavalry FC