Brennan Heralds Fresh Start For York9 FC
Given that it’s election season, Canadian Premier League fans are probably accustomed to hearing promises of a better future on a consistent basis – but this one is different from the pack.
After York9 FC closed out the fall season with a 0-2 home loss against the Halifax Wanderers – Hart’s first league away win of the year – the Nine Stripes ended a fairly positive season on a low note. The club had recorded back-to-back four-nil victories ahead of the season closer, but as has been a recurring theme throughout the year, consistency remains an illusive property for the York Region club.
Brennan had previously stated players were now fighting for their jobs, and with third place in the fall season (and cumulative league table) already secured, the Nine Stripes gaffer fielded a heavily rotated roster for the season closer: Colm Vance made his debut in net, with players like Austin Ricci and Steven Furlano getting a rare opportunity to start.
It was a golden opportunity for players who had seen limited game time to earn their contracts for 2020. While west coast club Pacific FC is in for a potentially massive squad shake up, Brennan will be taking a lighter touch to improve his squad for 2020:
I spoke to the guys at the beginning of the game, I said I’m proud of what you’ve become as a team, as individuals, as young men. They’ve grown up a lot since that first game of the season to where they are now. They’ve played with a lot more confidence. They know their identity. They know their style of play. I’ve been pleased to see how much they’ve grown, and now in the off-season it’s about getting a few more pieces to add to the puzzle to see if we can make a push next season.Jim Brennan
Of course, who those pieces are remains a mystery for now. York9 FC has been the only CPL club to retain three goalkeepers on its roster, and many suspect that this is set to change come 2020 – especially with the league simply allowing clubs to call up emergency goalkeepers when needed.
To that end, it’s safe to say that Nathan Ingham – who made a league-leading 89 saves throughout the inaugural campaign – is a lock to stay. With Silva being removed from the selected squad for the last few weeks, it’s fair to speculate that recent debutante Colm Vance may be around come 2020 in his stead. Silva was expected to start for the Nine Stripes, but the late addition of Nathan Ingham meant that the 28-year-old goalkeeper only recorded a single appearance across the calendar year.
Brennan said he’d love to see Toronto FC loanee Ryan Telfer return to the side next year, but the 25-year-old forward’s future is far from decided for the time being. If Toronto FC doesn’t renew his contract, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Trinidad and Tobago international sign on with a different Major League Soccer side.
When one looks at the least-utilized players on the Nine Stripes roster, the likes of Cyrus Rollocks, Michael Cox, and Stefan Lamanna (who was a fall season replacement for Jose Pina) will need to do well to convince Brennan they ought to stay. The 2020 season will see Brennan needing to sign three domestic U-21 players to align with league rules, as all of his current U-21 players will be outside of that age group come next season.
Of course, there’s no telling if the league will continue with a 23-man roster capacity for next year. With Emmanuel Zambazis terminating his contract in September, the club currently has 22 players on the books.
Whatever puzzle pieces Jim Brennan picks up, he promises that fans who arrive at York Lions Stadium next season will see a team that shows marked improvements on the club’s current weak-spots:
Next season is going to be a new start for us. All the mistakes that we made this year, they’re going to be rectified. I think you’ll see a different team next year.Jim Brennan
Whatever squad takes to the pitch in 2020, the York9 FC ownership group is evidently keen on making sure they step out in front of a full York Lions Stadium: the club is making some massive changes for 2020, which include a significant price drop to season tickets, a new location for the supporters’ end, and other, as-yet-unannounced stadium format changes.