Sixteen U SPORTS student-athletes are one step closer to the professional game after they were selected by Canadian Premier League clubs in Thursday’s 2023 CPL-U SPORTS Draft presented by Degree.
The live broadcast of the show, hosted by OneSoccer’s Adam Jenkins and streamed live on OneSoccer and CBC Sports’ YouTube channels, saw all eight CPL clubs each select two players from a prospect list of 199 U SPORTS athletes who declared for the draft, the biggest prospect pool in league history. The draft was open to any U SPORTS underclassmen with one to four years of U SPORTS eligibility remaining, provided they were in good standing with their school’s athletic program and educational institution and were planning to return to school the following year.
With the first two picks of the draft, expansion side Vancouver FC selected defender Anthony White from the University of Toronto and forward Ameer Kinani from Toronto Metropolitan University. From there, selection order was based on the 2022 order of finish, with the last-placed team selecting first. CPL champion Forge FC selected last in both rounds. Vancouver did not have a pick in the second round.
Once selected, players may be invited to pre-season training with their prospective club, where they can compete for a roster spot for the 2023 CPL season.
- Vancouver FC: Anthony White | University of Toronto | DF | 2nd Year
- Vancouver FC: Ameer Kinani | Toronto Metropolitan University | FW | 1st Year
- Halifax Wanderers: Anthony Stolar | Cape Breton University | DF | 2nd Year
- York United FC: Christopher Campoli | Ontario Tech University | MF | 4th Year
- Valour FC: Guillaume Pianelli Balisoni | Université du Québec à Trois Rivières | DF | 3rd Year
- Pacific FC: Eric Lajeunesse | University of British Columbia | DF | 1st Year
- Cavalry FC: William Omoreniye | University of Calgary | MF | 1st Year
- Atlético Ottawa: Junior Agyekum | Thompson Rivers University | MF | 2nd year
- Forge FC: Miles Green | McMaster University | MF | 4th year
- Halifax Wanderers: Aiden Rushenas | Dalhousie University | GK | 2nd Year
- York United FC: Trivine Esprit | Ontario Tech University | MF | 1st Year
- Valour FC: Samuel Laplante | Université du Québec à Trois Rivières | DF | 1st Year
- Pacific FC: Brandon Torresan | Trinity Western University | DF | 2nd Year
- Cavalry FC: Eryk Kobza | University of Calgary | DF | 4th Year
- Atlético Ottawa: Mohamed Bouzidi | Carleton University | FW | 1st Year
- Forge FC: Milo Djuricic | York University | DF | 4th Year
Media can find more information on the picks from the 2023 CPL-U SPORTS Draft presented by Degree by visiting CanPL.ca.
The CPL-U SPORTS draft plays a key role in the player development pathway in Canada, serving as a critical link between the Canadian university and professional games since its inaugural iteration in 2018. The draft provides a unique opportunity for student-athletes to earn professional experience while maintaining their eligibility to return to U SPORTS competition.
Previous CPL-U SPORTS draft picks include former Cavalry FC defender Joel Waterman, who was recently named to Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, as well as former Cavalry FC midfielder Victor Loturi, who is now representing Ross Country in the Scottish Premiership; Zach Verhoven, a member of the CPL’s reigning regular season champion Atlético Ottawa; and Aboubacar Sissoko, a member of the reigning CPL champion Forge FC squad.