February 7, 2023
  • February 7, 2023
FC Edmonton Jeff Paulus

Jeff Paulus Wants The 5 Sub Rule To Stay

By on June 22, 2020 0 1214 Views

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the 2020 season for sporting leagues across the world, one change implemented as a result of the pandemic is one that FC Edmonton head coach and general manager Jeff Paulus would like to stay: the ability for clubs to use five substitutions across three breaks of play.

The Eddies boss took to Twitter to discuss his views on the rule, stating that he believes it would provide more opportunities to the league’s youngest Canadian players and go a long way in aiding their development.

I am personally in favour of this, especially for a league like ours with so many young Canadians who need to play. Limit teams to three sub periods during run of play and another at half-time to limit affect on flow.

Jeff Paulus

Paulus implored those listening that tradition shouldn’t prevent clubs from doing what is right for players, believing that limiting the breaks in play would prevent the rule from being used to tactically slow down the pace of the game. He says that while the three substitution rule has been a staple for some time, the modern game (and the additional fixtures that come with it) is a more demanding environment for athletes.

It’s also something that, simply put, gets youngsters onto the pitch where they may not have seen game time otherwise.

For young players to sign pro contracts and never play sits top of the list on that comment. Even to break in young players, U-19 and under, with minutes at the end of the game is going to have long term benefits for that player. The added subs give more flexibility.

Jeff Paulus

The Scarborough-born gaffer used his own club as an example, stating that with the FC Edmonton roster featuring three players born in 2001 (Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, Chance Carter, and Prince Amanda), the trio of youngsters would benefit directly from the rule change. Last season, Velado-Tsegaye managed to accrue 487 minutes of game time across 16 league appearances, while Prince Amanda saw a healthy return of one goal and one assist after two appearances.

Paulus has always put faith in local youngsters, and has routinely drafted FC Edmonton Academy players throughout both CPL-U SPORTS Drafts so far. Given that the 2020 U-SPORTS soccer season is cancelled due to the pandemic, it’s not clear what will happen in terms of a domestic draft this year.


Responding to a comment on Twitter, Paulus also delved into periodization – the systemic planning of athletic training in order to see players reach their peak performance at crucial times of the season – as another big area which would benefit heavily from coaches being able to make five substitutes:

Thank you for the comment on periodization. This is the one thing never talked about, or talked about but never implemented. Every event from youth provincials, nationals, college/university, and now with so many midweek games and athlete recovery is not factored in.

Jeff Paulus

Paulus says that the move makes a lot of sense in the context of the Canadian Premier League, as each side is limited to a 23-man roster and in a non-pandemic season would have a fair bit of fixture congestion when Canadian Championship fixtures come into play alongside league matches. Last year the Halifax Wanderers struggled to put together results during prolonged travel periods and lost four straight away games in fourteen days, while Forge FC had to deal with CONCACAF League fixtures on top of both the domestic league and domestic cup.

With the league having been launched on the idea of nurturing Canadian talent, having the option to give more opportunities to young players makes sense. Paulus says that’s the big key factor when it comes to his support for the idea of making the five substitution rule permanent.

It is the added opportunities for young players that is key for me, especially in a league like the CPL that is mandating young player minutes and already showing it can help develop young Canadian players.

Jeff Paulus

Paulus also made mention that he’d love to see the Canadian Premier League roster rule of having three domestic U-21 players drop down to U-19, which would mean CPL sides would need to recruit and field even younger Canadian players.


The Canadian Premier League is currently working on the best way to undergo a shortened 2020 season which is expected to be hosted by a single province. With CPL sides certain to be playing less games than the originally-intended 28 game season, it’ll be interesting to see how the five substitution rule impacts minutes given to young players in a shortened season where every result matters that much more.

To that end, the Canadian Premier League hasn’t stated if the required 1,000 minutes to domestic U-21 players rule will be changed to reflect a new schedule, but it makes sense that such a change would be kept quiet until the league has finalized the true length of the season. Whatever happens, Paulus is clear that come 2021 and beyond he’d like to see the five substitution rule stay.

Source: Jeff Paulus (via Twitter)

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