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Updated: Thomas Gardner goes first overall in 2021 CanPL U Sports draft

16 of Canada’s best university players were selected by CPL clubs on Friday afternoon

The North Star Shield - awarded to the Canadian Premier League champions
Canadian Premier League

Sixteen players from Canadian universities were drafted by Canadian Premier League sides on Friday afternoon in the third U Sports draft.

FC Edmonton, who had the first overall pick after finishing last at The Island Games, selected Thomas Gardner from the University of British Columbia. This is actually the third time that the former Vancouver Whitecaps academy player has been drafted, as he was selected 6th overall in 2018 and 12th in 2019, both times by Pacific FC.

He was one of four players selected from UBC, the most of any school. Carleton was in second with three selections.

As mentioned before the draft, Toronto FC star Richie Laryea’s younger brother Reggie was also available in this draft. The defender from York University was taken 15th overall by Atletico Ottawa.

Somewhat surprisingly, Jackson Farmer, capped by Canada in 2013, fell to the last pick, signing with his hometown club FC Edmonton.

Even more surprisingly, Dario Conte wasn’t selected at all, despite having been in the Vancouver Whitecaps academy and playing in the USL with the Ottawa Fury and Reading United. He’s also the two-time OUA East MVP, starring for Carleton University.

Here are the draft selections in full:

The complete list of 2021 CanPL U Sports Draft selections
Canadian Premier League


Sixteen of the best soccer players in Canadian universities will be drafted into the Canadian Premier League this afternoon during the third annual CPL U Sports Draft.

Taking place virtually, the draft begins at 3 p.m. EST, and can be watched here:

There are some interesting players available this year, including a former Canadian Men's National Team player, and the brothers of several players in Canada.

Jackson Farmer, expected to be taken at or near the top of this draft, was capped once by the Canadian senior team in 2013, and has since gone to study at UBC.

Also available are Reggie Laryea (brother of Toronto FC's Richie), Nicholas Osorio (brother of Toronto FC's Jonathan) and Gino Temguia (brother of FC Edmonton's Mele). If these players are anywhere near as good as their brothers, they could be brilliant picks in this year's draft.

48 players in total are available for selection and it all gets underway this afternoon.