York9 FC: ‘We Didn’t Offer Mo Babouli A Contract’
When former Toronto FC striker Molham Babouli was spotted training with York9 FC in January, the rumour mill began spinning: many Canadian Premier League fans believed the 27-year-old was destined to sign for the Nine Stripes and play his first professional game since 2016.
When the signing didn’t happen, new rumours indicated that York9 FC had offered him a contract, but he’d turned it down.
Speaking with York9 FC sports consultant Angus McNab at the club’s 2020 home kit reveal party, we sought clarity on the longstanding rumours regarding Babouli’s status with York9 FC. As it turns out, the club had held two chats with his agent, but it was always clear that Mo wasn’t going to be a fit at the Nine Stripes – in fact, talks had never progressed to the stage where the club offered him a contract:
Mo’s a great, great kid, and he’s had a really rough time of it for the last couple years. We were more than happy for him to come in and train and work with the team. It just wasn’t a fit with what he was looking for at the time and what we’re looking to do. We moved on with plans in the international market in his position, and for better value, younger, better resale value, quite frankly, that we felt like we could get. It just didn’t work out with Mo on that basis.Angus McNab
McNab’s answer falls in line with what a source close to the club disclosed to Northern Tribune earlier this week.
The club recently signed Peruvian striker Adrian Ugarriza, who made 46 appearances in his country’s top flight. He’ll compete for a starting spot with Jamaican striker Nicholas Hamilton, who has yet to arrive from Red Stripe Premier League side Cavalier SC. At the moment, the club is awaiting for the duo’s visas to be approved ahead of an incoming preseason camp that will feature a few weeks spent down in Kissimmee, Florida.
The York Region club had also selected striker Stefan Karajovanovic in the 2019 CPL U-SPORTS Draft, with the former Carleton Ravens and AS Blainville man looking likely to provide another option up front for Jim Brennan’s side.
Sources have also indicated to Northern Tribune that striker Michael Cox will not be returning in 2020. That means that Hamilton and Ugarriza are currently the only two strikers on the roster, though the York Region side still has additional roster space to bring in four more players (three, if Karajovanovic joins as expected).
While Babouli won’t be donning a York9 FC kit this year, the former Toronto FC striker was always believed to be a Canadian player that many thought would be a great fit in the CPL. While McNab had said the club got better value elsewhere, the sports consultant did say that he hoped Molham landed on his feet at another side in the Canadian Premier League, and that he was welcome to train with the York9 FC squad in the meantime.
He’s a great player, he’s always welcome if he wants to come back in and work out with us, and I really hope that he stays in the CPL and finds another landing spot, but it just didn’t work out with us.Angus McNab
York9 FC currently has 19 players on its roster, of which five are international players. York9 FC gaffer Jim Brennan praised the club’s depth going into the 2020 season, stating that the competition for starting spots will drive better performances out of the Nine Stripes’ core squad, pushing each player to give a little bit more.
To that end, it is believed the club is looking at a Canadian right-back to provide depth in the event that Morey Doner gets injured, with the club’s second CPL-U Sports Draft pick Isaiah Johnston also getting a good look in trial. The club has remained quiet on the status of defender Justin Springer, who made 15 appearances for the Nine Stripes in the inaugural CPL season.
While York9 FC has said that a handful of more signings are due to come, the club would not comment on whether the newcomers are domestic players or if the side will bank on the international market once more for its finishing roster touches. Whatever happens come 2020, it’ll be without Mo Babouli.
Header Image Source: Canada Soccer