Halifax Wanderers Start Preseason With 28 Players
Canadian Premier League side Halifax Wanderers has belatedly revealed that the club’s preseason officially began on March 22, with 28 players (ten of whom are trialists) joining the east coast side.
Five of the aforementioned trialists are already known to CPL familiars: 2021 CPL-U SPORTS Draft picks Stefan Karajovanovic and Kareem Sow, former Raith Rovers full-back Jamie Watson, and former Wanderers Scott Firth and Luke Green.
The other five trialists are local youth prospects who are also under consideration for the club’s U-23 Selects squad that is set to kickoff this year. These five trialists are Anthony Phelps, Brandon Phelps, Kaveh Wornell, Sulley Elomrani, and Domenic Lacroce, with both Scott Firth and Luke Green also potential picks for the U-23 Selects side.
The club becomes just the second to confirm that its preseason has fully begun, with expansion side Atletico Ottawa having touched down in Spain earlier today to undergo a 3-4 week camp using Atletico Madrid’s facilities.
Of note, Pacific FC also underwent a joint training scrimmage with the Whitecaps last week. Outside of Forge FC and York United in Ontario, it appears that the other CPL clubs are nearing full preseason announcements.
For Wanderers VP of Football Matt Fegan, today’s announcement comes as a delight following a careful and rigorous safety process:
We’re delighted to have the players and coaching staff back together on the pitch. The pandemic has introduced new challenges but we’ve worked diligently to abide by the provincial and federal requirements, with player and public safety always top of mind, to ensure everyone arriving from outside the region completed their mandated quarantines and completed negative COVID tests before joining the group on the pitch. Now we get to focus on the hard work getting ready for our season.Matt Fegan
While the Wanderers saw a near-complete squad overhaul after the inaugural CPL season, the club’s current preseason begins with thirteen of the club’s eighteen signed players having been on the previous year’s squad.
For longtime fan-favourite Peter Schaale, this shows a lot of trust from head coach Stephen Hart, who himself just signed a three-year contract extension.
The amount of players from the team that are coming back, it shows there’s trust from the coaches and from the club itself in those players. It showed last year in how we presented ourselves at the Island Games so the players that have come back have earned their spot.
The club has utilized all of its international slots, two of whom went to Trinidad and Tobago duo Andre Rampersad and Akeem Garcia, wit the aforementioned striker having the golden boot last year. He will enter the upcoming season tied as the all-time CPL top goalscorer alongside Tristan Borges (Forge FC) and Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton) at thirteen goals.
Especially for us coming out of Trinidad, the Canadian Premier League has been really good for us and we’ve made the most of it. We work hard, we know what we’re good at, and we look to be the best we can.Andre Rampersad
Among the currently signed new faces are Morey Doner, Kieran Baskett, Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare, Pierre Lamothe, and Samuel Salter.
Brazilian defender Eriks Santos is in the midst of completing his required 14 day quarantine upon entry to Canada.
As per Marty Thompson, the club have also confirmed that Ibrahima Sanoh and Daniel Kinumbe will not be returning to the side.
At the moment, it isn’t known if the Halifax Wanderers side will undergo any scrimmages against other local athletes or teams as part of its preseason camp, but it’s good to see that the players are able to begin full training.
With 28 players listed for preseason but the Canadian Premier League only allowing a maximum squad size of 23 (that makes five spots left for the Wanderers), it’ll be interesting to see if any of the local athletes prove to be worthy of a professional contract. In any event, it’s a golden opportunity for these athletes to test themselves in a professional environment.