Canadian Premier League teams add young soccer talent to rosters via U Sports draft

Canadian Premier League teams add young soccer talent to rosters via U Sports draft

Expansion Vancouver FC added to their roster on Thursday by bringing in Anthony White and Ameer Kinani with the top two picks of the CPL U Sports Draft.

The eight Canadian Premier League clubs were each allowed to pick two players from a list of 199 varsity players who had submitted their entries to the draft, the largest pool of candidates in league history.

The draft was open to all U-Sports undergraduates with one to four years of eligibility remaining, provided they were in good standing and planning to return to school the following year.

Eight of the 16 selected players were defenders

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Selected players can be invited to a pre-season training session with their prospective club where they can compete for a squad spot for the 2023 CPL season.

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Vancouver opened the draft with White, a defenseman from the University of Toronto, and Kinani, a forward from Toronto Metropolitan University. The order of selection was then based on the final order of 2022, with the last-placed team taking first place in both rounds and CPL champion Forge FC taking last place.

READ MORE: Hamilton’s Forge FC claim 3rd North Star Shield

Vancouver, who had no choice in the second round, signed goalkeeper Callum Irving for the first time on Wednesday.

White, a center back from Port Moody, BC, has played 22 games for the Varsity Blues over two seasons, including 18 starts. In the past he has coached at FC Nürnberg in Germany, as well as at Dinamo Zagreb and NK Sibenik of Croatia. He won the inaugural League1 BC title with TSS Rovers that season.

“It’s unique to find left-footed centre-backs in the football market,” said Vancouver FC head coach Afshin Ghotbi. “Anthony is a talented and intelligent young defender who has high goals for his football career.

“I was impressed by his ambition and look forward to getting to know him even better in the future.”

White, a second-year kinesiology student, is hoping to follow the lead of defenseman Lukas MacNaughton, who moved from the U of T to the CPL’s Pacific FC and MLS’s Toronto FC.

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Kinani, an Iraq youth international, has scored four goals in 11 games for Toronto Metropolitan University this season. He added 17 in 20 games for ProStars FC in League1 Ontario this summer and previously spent time with Cartagena FC in Spain.

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“Ameer is always a threat,” said Ghotbi. “With and without the ball, he strives to run behind the defensive lines and wreak havoc with his pace.

“Ameer has a natural eye for goal and the instinct to be in the right position at the right moment.”

CPL-U Sport Design

First round

1. Vancouver FC, Anthony White, University of Toronto, defender, 2nd year; 2. Vancouver FC, Toronto Metropolitan University forward Ameer Kinani, 1st year; 3. Halifax Wanderers, Anthony Stolar, Cape Breton University, defender, 2nd year; York United FC, Christopher Campoli, Ontario Tech University, midfielder, 4th year; 5. Valor FC, Guillaume Pianelli Balisoni, Universite du Quebec a Trois Rivieres, defender, 3rd year; Pacific FC, Eric Lajeunesse, University of British Columbia, defender, 1st year; 7. Cavalry FC, William Omoreniye, University of Calgary, midfielder, 1st year; 8. Atletico Ottawa, Junior Agyekum, Thompson Rivers University, Midfielder 2nd year; 9. Forge FC, Miles Green, McMaster University, midfielder in 4th year.

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Second round

10. Halifax Wanderers, Aiden Rushenas, Dalhousie University, goalkeeper, 2nd year; 11. York United FC, Trivine Esprit, Ontario Tech University, midfielder, 1st year; 12. Valor FC, Samuel Laplante, Universite du Quebec a Trois Rivieres, defender, 1st year; 13. Pacific FC, Brandon Torresan, Trinity Western University, defender, 2nd year; 14. Cavalry FC, Eryk Kobza, University of Calgary, defender, 4th year; 15, Atletico Ottawa, Mohamed Bouzidi, Carleton University, forward, 1st year; 16. Forge FC, Milo Djuricic, York University, 4th year defender.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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