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Jean-Baptiste: CPL Sponsor Video Excluding Valour ‘Says A Lot’

By on November 26, 2023 0 2360 Views

To mark the end of the fifth Canadian Premier League season, Volkswagen Canada – one of the league’s founding sponsors – released a pretty fun video.

The short clip includes seven players cheesing it up with a less-than-well choreographed dance number, and it seems all in good fun.

Of course, bringing in seven players for an eight-team league already means at least one club is missing out on representation, though only six clubs were actually shown: neither York United or Valour FC had any presence in the video, and that’s something that out-of-contract Valour defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste did not enjoy seeing.

“That cheesy video didn’t have one Valour player,” said the defender online. “Says a lot, to be honest.”

The exclusion comes at a tough time in the club: Winnipeg Football Group President Wade Miller has had to plead with fans to stick with the team after another another disappointing season came and went without the club reaching playoffs for the first time ever.

While Valour was quick to preach commitment, fan discourse online has been rife with talk of slow responses from the club to ticket holders, and anger at their handling of how the Valour’s high-performance program was quickly and quietly shuttered earlier this year.

While new openings came for Valour’s new youth skill camps, some were already sold out by public launch, leaving members of the community still feeling unheard.

Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

Fans have also cried afoul for a lack of roster investment in the team, with last offseason’s recruitment strategies failing to replace key players like William Akio, Moses Dyer, or Sean Rea ahead of what became a dismal 2023 season that saw them finish last.

The club has shifted focus to Canadian soccer players who already have CPL experience in their back pocket, which at face value may not be the ambitious recruitment some may have wanted – especially since eight of this year’s additions came from that category.

Photo Credit: John Jacques

Winnipeg Football Group will be hoping head coach Phillip Dos Santos – who was handed a one-year contract extension – can help inspire a turnaround. The fans need it, too: after a strong inaugural season attendance of 5,335, tough times on the pitch and a lack of community inroads have now seen Valour’s average attendance dip down to 3,200 some five years on.

Those are numbers Miller has chastised the club for, though he insists Winnipeg Football Group remain positive about Valour and finding a way to make the club work.

Elsewhere, York United has remained largely quiet ahead of an expected ownership announcement: the league’s commissioner teased that ‘world-class’ owners were coming in just months after Canada Soccer Business picked up the club from its founding owners, the Baldassarra Family.

Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

As for Jean-Baptiste? He’s currently out-of-contract after spending the last four seasons in Winnipeg. Following a tremendous Island Games and a hot start in 2021, injuries have interrupted his flow of time on the pitch and even saw a long-awaited return to the Haiti national team get stymied last year.

This season saw him make just nine appearances for Valour, though he’s still been a big voice in the locker room and a positive face in the Winnipeg community.

For now, he’s back in hometown NYC while the next steps get sorted. He and four other Valour players are out-of-contract, while five are awaiting club option decisions and seven others were released following the 2023 CPL season.

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