Cape Breton Island has a population just over 130,000. Its university has 5,500 students.
And somehow, the tiny institution in Sydney, Nova Scotia has contributed more players to the CPL-U SPORTS Draft than any other school in Canada.
In the first two years of the Draft, eight of the 33 players picked came from Cape Breton University. HFX Wanderers FC fans can thank CBU for Peter Schaale and Cory Bent, two major pieces of the club’s 2020 run to the CPL Final.
The Cape Breton Capers have won four straight Atlantic University Sport titles, and they’ve medalled at three consecutive U SPORTS national championships — winning the whole thing in 2017. A CBU player has been named a U SPORTS All-Canadian every single year since 2009.
“They’ve recruited very well, very diligently,” Wanderers boss Stephen Hart said of CBU. “The program has had some very good success at the U SPORTS level. I think that just goes to show the quality of the organization and the connections that they have.”
For the 2021 Draft this Friday, five Cape Breton players are available — as many or more than any other university.
The question, though: why Cape Breton? How did a 38-year-old institution that won its first men’s soccer title just 14 years ago sprout from tabula rasa into a powerhouse, and the country’s top-producing school for Canadian Premier League talent?