Could Hasal Be a CPL Loan Next Year?
It’s been a big year for Vancouver Whitecaps prospect Thomas Hasal: the once third-string goalkeeper found himself thrust into a starting position at the MLS Is Back bubble tournament after Crepeau and Meredith were made unavailable, with the rookie goalkeeper making himself a wall across 212 minutes of gametime before the club eventually bowed out of the tournament in a penalty shootout.
Hasal would go on to play seven MLS regular season matches in a row during his rookie campaign before a tibia fracture sidelined the young talent, with the club eventually bringing in Evan Bush from the Impact to shore up their lines (and inadvertently giving former Valour FC loanee James Pantemis a chance to shine for Montreal, too).
The Whitecaps saw a hectic season of goalkeeper injuries see the side wrap up its 2020 campaign after having deployed no less than six goalkeepers between the net, but it’s fair to say that the biggest storyline of them all was Thomas Hasal.
The prospective talent has been tipped as one for the future, though a recent comment from Vancouver Whitecaps CEO And Sporting Director Axel Schuster suggests that the young goalkeeper may be loaned out to ensure he gets minutes next season.
If we end up in a situation that Thomas is not our number one, I want to keep the door open. He has to play somewhere. He showed his talent and nothing is more important than to get a lot of minutes.Axel Schuster
It’s easy to envision the young domestic talent ending up in the Canadian Premier League next season, especially after Pantemis showed that impressing while out on loan in the CPL can open the door for further opportunities in the MLS.
Hasal is represented by Felkrem, an agency which already works with multiple Canadian Premier League athletes ranging from Cavalry FC’s Marco Carducci and Elijah Adekugbe to youngsters like Max Ferrari, former loanee Terique Mohammed, and CPL athletes currently on the move like Zach Verhoven and Morey Doner.
It would be not a catastrophe if he is not the number one because he’s still young but then he has to play somewhere else because we have the strong belief that he can be our number one at some point in futureAxel Schuster
Hasal’s contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps includes an option for 2021, with Schuster’s comments making it clear the club has longer term plans for the youngster.
Thus far York9 FC is the only CPL club to confirm its goalkeeper contingent for next year with Ingham and Giantsopoulos, while Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah said that he’d like to see both Wirth and Irving return. It’s easy to see Hasal contest for a spot at any other CPL club, where one imagines the youngster would be more than welcome to spend a season on loan.
Of course, Hasal could end up going overseas to continue his development if he isn’t getting time at the Whitecaps, too. This year saw the MLS side send promising midfielder Simon Colyn to Italy to ply his trade in the country’s second division.
In a potential CPL-to-MLS move, this year has also seen Forge FC Captain Kyle Bekker linked with the Whitecaps, with the 30-year-old offering a reliable low-budget midfield option for his former coach Mark Dos Santos.
Hasal isn’t the only young Canadian to have impressed when given the opportunity with the Whitecaps this year, with Michael Baldisimo (brother to Pacific FC’s Matthew Baldisimo) making appearances in thirteen out of the Whitecaps’ twenty regular season matches, scoring his first professional goal with a long range effort against Toronto FC.
The duo aren’t the only Canadian talents to have a breakout rookie campaign this year, either: 23-year-old Dayne St. Clair recorded six clean sheets in thirteen appearances for Minnesota United, where he established himself as a firm number one choice. In Nashville, former League1 Ontario athlete Allistair Johnston is also making waves at right-back.
Whatever happens, it appears clear that Schuster has no intentions of having Hasal ride the bench should the club secure itself a different number one goalkeeper. In the event this happens, one imagines that a number of Canadian Premier League clubs may put themselves forth pending their own roster availability.