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CanPL Offseason Wrap Up: Borges to Belgium, Waterman to Montreal

Keep up to date with every move (made and rumoured) so far in the Canadian Premier League’s first offseason

CPL: York9 FC at Cavalry FC Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the Canadian Premier League’s second season is still a few months away, but all seven teams are already hard at work assembling their rosters.

The futures of some notable players are unknown, there have been some landmark transfers both within the league and out of it, and it’s just getting started.

Transfers Out Of The League

There will be some notable players from the CPL’s inaugural season that won’t be back for round two.

The future of many players are unknown. While some have moved on to new clubs following the expiry of their contracts on free transfers, there have been two landmark transfers that have seen clubs receive a transfer fee for their players.

Tristan Borges to Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL)

Forge FC’s Tristan Borges became the first Canadian Premier League player to move overseas, moving to Belgian second-division side Oud-Heverlee Leuven. Hoping to get promoted to Belgium’s top flight for the 2020-21 season, OHL needed a signing to push them over the edge, and see Borges as that guy. Borges was the CPL’s best player in year one, and is more than deserving of another shot in Europe.

Joel Waterman to Montreal Impact

The other landmark transfer in recent times was Joel Waterman’s move from Cavalry FC to the Montreal Impact. The centre-back was a central figure in Cavalry’s Spring and Fall Season victories, and became the first CPL player to join an MLS side on January 14th.

Transfers Within CPL

Jose Hernandez — Pacific FC to Cavalry FC

History was made in December, when Jose Hernandez became the first player in league history to go from one CPL club to another, trading Pacific FC for Cavalry FC. The 19-year-old forward from Edmonton (a product of the FC Edmonton academy), made 19 appearances for Pacific FC, scoring one goal.

Louis Béland-Goyette — Valour FC to HFX Wanderers

HFX Wanderers have been the most active club to this point in the offseason. After finishing last in both the Spring and Fall Seasons, Stephen Hart’s side decided not to renew 16 players from their inaugural season, so they’ve had a lot of work to do. They’ve pulled off one of the biggest signings of the offseason thus far, bringing in midfielder Louis Béland-Goyette from Valour. Béland-Goyette was one of the league’s best midfielders in 2019, and played 21 matches for the Winnipeg-based side. He provided three assists for his teammates, and scored this wonder-goal against FC Edmonton.

Michael PetrassoValour FC to York 9 FC

Y9 made a local splash on Friday, announcing the signing of Michael Petrasso. The 24-year-old Woodbridge, Ontario native spent the inaugural Canadian Premier League season with Valour FC in Winnipeg, making 18 appearances and scoring 6 goals. Petrasso also led the league in assists last season with 5, while the talented winger has 9 caps with the Canadian national men’s team.

Players Coming Into CPL

While most of the CPL offseason thus far has been about re-signing/ releasing players, players from outside are starting to join CPL clubs.

Ex-Ottawa Fury Players

After Ottawa Fury FC folded recently, a lot of their players have started looking for new clubs, and a few of them have already signed in the CPL.

Thomas Meilleur-Giguère (Pacific), Jamar Dixon (Pacific), and Chris Mannella (York9) are the three confirmed signings, but others are also expected to sign in the league, and some would likely sign with the rumoured “Atletico Ottawa” side which could play in the 2020 season.

Players coming in from abroad:

Some exciting signings from abroad have been announced in recent weeks, with 5/7 teams already signing a new player from outside of Canada.

Cavalry FC, looking to improve the impressive roster of re-signings from last season, have added Jair Cordova from Peruvian side Club Juan Aurich S.A., with whom he scored 10 goals in 18 matches. He looks to be a great addition to a Cavalry attack waiting to hear the future of multiple key forwards, namely Dominique Malonga and Nico Pasquotti. It sounds as though Malonga has moved to a club in China.

HFX Wanderers have brought in two players from abroad, signing Mateo Restrepo from the University of California at Santa Barbara in the NCAA, as well as Alessandro Riggi from USL Championship winners Pheonix Rising.

York9 FC announced the signing of forward Gabriel Vasconcelos from Brazilian side Corinthians on January 21st. Vasconcelos, 23, never made an appearance for the Corinthians first team, instead spending time on loan at several Brazilian clubs, and his signing shows the Nine Stripes’ intent to push for the 2020 North Star Shield.

FC Edmonton’s only signing thus far has seen them bring in Hanson Boakai from Finnish side Inter Turku. Once seen as the “Canadian Messi”, Boakai has already played for six clubs at age 23. He returns to the club where he started his professional career back in 2013, at the age of 16.

Valour FC have made the most international signings thus far, bringing in Solomon Kojo Antwi from Glow Lamp Academy in Ghana, Daryl Fordyce from Sligo Rovers (Ireland) and Andrew Jean-Baptiste from Umeä FC (Sweden.) They added to that this morning, bringing in Canadian winger Fraser Aird from Cove Rangers (Scottish League Two)

Players who remain unsigned

Here are all the players who have either not had their contracts renewed, or whose status is currently unknown. Everyone not listed has either re-signed, or moved on to another club.

Forge FC:

Contract not renewed (3): Quillan Roberts, Bertrand Owundi Eko’o, Justin Stoddart

FC Edmonton:

Contract not renewed (8): Ajeej Sarkaria, Oumar Diouck, Tony Tchani, Bruno Zebie, Randy Edwini-Bonsu, James Marcelin, Philippe Lincourt-Joseph

Unknown (1): Amer Didic (training with the Vancouver Whitecaps)

York9 FC:

Contract not renewed (6): Matt Silva, Daniel Gogarty, Steven Furlano, Cyrus Rollocks, Austin Ricci, Stefan Lamanna.

Unknown (3): Michael Cox, Rodrigo Gattas, Justin Springer

HFX Wanderers:

Contract not renewed (16): Matthew Arnone, André Bona, Juan Diego Gutierrez, Chakib Hocine, Kodai Iida, Elton John, Mohamed Kourouma, Vincent Lamy, Ndzemdzela Langwa, Duran Lee, Kouamé Ouattara, Luis Alberto Perea, Elliot Simmons, Tomasz Skublak, Zachary Sukunda, Abd-El-Aziz Yousef.

Retired (1): Jan-Michael Williams

Pacific FC:

Contract not renewed (5): Mark Village, Hendrik Starostzik, Ryan McCurdy, Emile Legault, Jose Hernandez

Unknown (4): Alex Gonzalez, Ben Fisk, Marcus Haber, Issey Nakajima-Farran

Valour FC:

Contract not renewed (5): Josip Golubar, Glenn Muenkat, Adam Mitter, Martin Arguiñarena, Jordan Murrell

Unknown (12): Tyson Farago, Mathias Janssens, Skylar Thomas, Raphael Ohin, Nicolás Galvis, Federico Peña, Jose Galan, Michele Paolucci, Ali Musse, Tyler Attardo, Marco Bustos

Cavalry FC:

Unknown (13): Jay Wheeldon, Nathan Mavila, Chris Serban, Dean Northover, Mauro Eustaquio, Malyk Hamilton, Carlos Patiño, Julian Büscher, Victor Loturi, Jose Escalante, Nico Pasquotti, Dominique Malonga, Oluwatofarati Fakunle.

Rumour Roundup

Here are some of the latest rumours in and around the CPL: