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CPL looks for players to become household names by season's end


For a professional league to be viable it needs players worth watching.

And while most of the players in the Canadian Premier League are yet to be household names, there is plenty of talent on the seven rosters heading into the inaugural season, which kicked off with Forge FC hosting York9 FC in at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on Saturday.

“Kyle Bekker has 18 caps (appearances) with the national team so he might be a household name,” said Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis. “Then you look at some of the other players that are from the (Hamilton) area and were away for a little while. You look at a guy like Tristan Borges, who was in Holland the last few years, he’s an exciting, dynamic player that we have.

“Marcel Zajac, who left the University of Akron a year early to come sign with us and led them to two final fours in NCAA soccer the last couple of years, I think he’s an exciting young player. This is his first crack at the pros and not a lot of people may know about him outside of our region.”

League rules stipulate over half the roster must be Canadians and every team much play domestic players under the age of 21 for at least a combined 1,000 minutes this season.

“For us, I think Manny Aparicio is a great little player,” said York9 FC head coach Jimmy Brennan. “We have number of guys that have a little bit about them and have some creativity and have that little bit of something special. I think you’ll see a few guys that will start to make a name for themselves in this league.”

Out east the HFX Wanderers roster features some familiar Caribbean names such as Jan-Michael Williams and Elton John, brought in by Stephen Hart, who hails from Trinidad and Tobago.

In Winnipeg, Valour FC feature former national youth members Michael Petrasso and Louis Beland-Goyette.

Cavalry FC is led by midfielder Nik Ledgerwood, a Canadian national team veteran, and signed Mason Trafford, an NASL veteran with Ottawa and Miami.

Edmonton features a core of players who toiled with the club during their NASL days.

“We’re coming in as an underdog, but that’s because most people in Canada have never watched NASL outside of us and Ottawa,” said FC Edmonton head coach Jeff Paulus. “So they don’t know the quality of Ramon Soria and James Marcelin and these are top-level players in our league.”

Pacific FC, meanwhile, features Canadian international Marcus Haber, along with Marcel de Jong, Ben Fisk and Noah Verhoeven.

“We are still learning about our players,” said Pacific FC head coach Michael Silberbauer. “But we like our team and I think we are going to be fun to watch.”

Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019


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