York United’s McNab Offers Stadium, Roster Update
Speaking with CanPL Contributor Benedict Rhodes this week, York United President Angus McNab recently provided clarity on the status of some on-loan athletes, potential roster moves, and the ongoing York Lions Stadium renovation.
In his most recent conversation with Rhodes, McNab revealed that the club’s roster moves may not be finished yet despite a technically-full roster: with three internationals currently out on loan and their near-future approval to enter Canada not guaranteed, McNab offered that the club may fill those roster spots with other additions while those players remain out of the country.
I think there will be a couple. We’ve got the ability for guys to remain out on loan and rejig our squad a bit. We may see a little bit more activity.Angus McNab
While the comments is likely referring to the longer-term, flexible loan deals of Lisandro Cabrera or Mateo Hernandez, the travel status of Sebastian Gutierrez and former Fluminense youngster William Wallace remains unclear. The York United President confirmed that internationals Alvaro Rivero and Julian Ulbricht have already arrived in Canada, with another one of the club’s international signings expected to arrive in the next 7-10 days or so.
Domestic duo Michael Petrasso and Dominick Zator are still out on loan in England and Sweden respectively, with both loans currently set to run until late June.
Despite York United being the first CPL team to wrap up its roster moves, the club now sees itself in the midst of a second year of severe travel difficulties for its international signings. 2020 saw promising internationals like Adrian Ugarriza and Jaco depart without having ever stepped foot in Canada, though this time around the club appears to be in a better position to wait out these delays rather than nix moves entirely.
We play a bit of a waiting game. It’s frustrating because we had all of our international business wrapped up by the end of November. Obviously, it’s a global pandemic, we’re not different or more important than any other business within Canada, so we wait our turn. When they are able to come to Toronto, I’m confident in the character of the guys that we’ve signed.Angus McNab
If recent comments from Rob Gale are any indication, the club could have additional wiggle room regarding its two 2021 CPL-U SPORTS Draft picks if an as-yet-unconfirmed roster rule allows for clubs not to count developmental contract players against their 23-man roster cap.
In further conversation with Rhodes, McNab also provided an update for fans regarding the ongoing renovations at York Lions Stadium. As has been long-planned, the club has worked with York University to remove the running track around the pitch and install FIFA Quality Pro turf to replace the natural grass pitch, among other changes.
While the return of safe standing is still set for the future, the club has made the financial decision to delay its installation for the upcoming season given that the capacity restrictions that would be in place this year, in the assumption that having fans in the stands is ultimately allowed.
With supporters’ group Generation IX having had their issues with both the club’s rebrand and its initial decision to remove safe standing (now reversed), McNab was quick to offer a reasonable explanation for the delay.
That’s a decision that’s on me, and I have to make because it doesn’t make financial sense for the club to do so. What it would cost to assemble that temporary standing, and with capacity restrictions that we would face, I think everyone appreciates that our priorities are putting all the dollars we can into servicing our players and ensuring we get back to the field. We may ask our season seat holders to relocate to the main grandstand, which seems like the most viable option at this moment in time, given everything we face right now.Angus McNab
With construction continuing ahead for the rest of the stadium plans, however, it appears that a renovated York Lions Stadium with a larger pitch will be awaiting fans if they’re allowed in for the latter stages for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season.
With the 2021 Canadian Premier League season set to run for a full length beginning this summer, Nine Stripes head coach Jim Brennan is set for his third year in charge of a team which went through both a total club rebrand and a significant roster rebuild this offseason – and it appears changes to the latter may not be done yet.