Ottawa Fury announced last week that they have decided to suspend operations following issues regarding their CONCACAF sanctioning for USL in 2020. There is much to debate about decisions by those involved, however I want to take this opportunity to look back at the 16 years that Ottawa Fury were operating in the capital region, and all the Canadian players, coaches and managers that this club gave opportunities to, and helped guide along the way.
Ottawa Fury began in 2003 through John Pugh (current Canada Soccer Association board member), bringing women’s soccer to the capital region in the form of a USL W-League. Between 2003 and 2014, the Ottawa Fury W-League team managed to win nine division titles, made the national finals on three occasions and were league champions once. Over the course of its eleven seasons the W-League team featured such players as Kadeisha Buchanan (now with Lyon and the Canada women’s side) as well as Ashley Lawrence (currently with Paris Saint Germain and also the Canada women’s side).
Read more on the NSXI Network.
On Canucks Abroad with Thomas & Juan, our host interviews Canadian Soccer Players from around the world.
In this inaugural episode, Thomas interviews Aramis Kouzine, who played a year of futsal with CSKA, was cut from Philadelphia Union, and now plays in the Ukrainian Premier League.
Catch the whole episode & subscribe on the NSXI Network.
They are building a league. None of it existed before. It is easy for fans and followers to lose sight of what was so obvious only a few short months ago. Now people are paying attention to players, coaches, teams, formations, and results. But the challenge of winning games, learning your trade as a player or coach, or making tactical adjustments is undergirded by a league infrastructure which has an entire set of its own challenges, difficulties, and pitfalls. From marketing the teams to broadcasting the games to running your venue on game day, everywhere one turns there is a new challenge for the Canadian Premier League. And each of the teams face hurdles to overcome that are unique to their context.
For Cavalry FC, their contextual challenges have included weather, transportation, and stadium creation. Their home base at Spruce Meadows required a significant amount of construction to get ready for this season including the construction of a large grandstand. Ian Allison, president and COO of Spruce Meadows Sports and Entertainment describes how the combination of weather and construction combined to negatively impact their playing surface.
Read more on the NSXI Network.
Canada produced a stunning display to defeat their southern neighbours for the first time in over three decades, and while the effort on display deserves a lot of the praise there were also multiple tactical decisions that led Canada to a more than deserving victory.
It’s been a while, but the Sea-To-Sea Podcast is back with another episode. Hosted by Nathan Martin and Rob Notenboom, this episode features discussion around the women’s game in Canada, some Canadian Premier League Talk, and the excitement around the national team.
The episode closes with an interview with a couple members of the Above and Beyond Brigade; a great program led by some Cavalry FC players to reach out to their community!
The Loyal Company of the River Valley podcast is the result of Nathan and Adam just having a few conversations over some beverages about FC Edmonton. Eventually they just decided to add a couple microphones to these conversations and make it a podcast. While they may be lacking in the analytic knowledge, they certainly make up for it with passion and optimism with all things Eddies. #FearNoFoe
On this weeks episode, we go a little off topic with some nerd talk because not much has really happened in the league over the last week.
We also look ahead to an unfortunately scheduled Al Classico and how it speaks to a larger topic we’ve focused on in the past with the schedule mishaps the league has had.
We then talk about the other game this week against Pacific and the travelling contingent of FCE supporters that will be there.
Listen & subscribe via the NSXI Network
Having escaped Richmond with a point for the first time in club history, Toronto FC II found further cause for muted celebration last Friday when they posted their first clean sheet for five games. The the 0-0 draw with Greenville Triumph was also the kids’ first goalless game of the season.
Their last bore-draw was last September, in that riveting anti-climax of a season finale against the erstwhile Harrisburg City Islanders . Incidentally, Jordan Perruzza had as much luck in front of goal then as two weeks ago, not that there’s any shame in being shut out by the Upstate Boys’ notoriously stingy defence.
Ironically, the local lines(wo)men were no help at all to the Young Reds. Previously reliable allies, the hosts were flagged offside as often as the visitors, including on a would-be injury-time winner by Mehdi Essoussi.
The clean sheet was especially encouraging in that it felt genuinely earned. Instead of their opponents simply not turning up, or not being able to finish to save their lives (Lansing Ignite have done both), this was a solid – if occasionally haphazard – defensive effort.
Eric Klenofsky redeemed himself for that clanger against Richmond, making some choice saves amid possible injuries to two centre-backs. After taking a ball to the chops late in the first half, Rocco Romeo was switched out for injury-list perennial Jelani Peters. The Trinidadian lasted all of fifteen minutes before making way for Noble Okello.
Read more on the NSXI Network
The stated goal of the Canadian Premier League is to develop Canadian talent while also helping soccer culture grow in each of the markets teams are located in.
To speak to the former, this is the first monthly ranking list of the Top 25 Canadian players in the CanPL.
Ultimately, the list is subjective. Please join the debate!
The next list will be published on Sept 29th.
Top 25 for Aug 29
25th - Nico Pasquotti (1995-Winger-Calgary)
The man with the throw leads off our top 25. A key player on a stacked Calvary side.
24th - Anthony Novak (1994-Forward-Hamilton)
The type of player that would have likely gone further in the game if only the league had started about 5 years earlier. Still, he’ll have a long career in CanPl should he wish with a great eye for goal.
23rd – Ben Fisk (1993-Winger-Pacific)
Always a fan favourite with the NASL Eddies, he has been a key veteran presence on an very young PFC. Another guy that will have a long run in CanPL if he wants.
22nd - Nathan Ingham – (1993-GK-York)
He would have been much higher a month ago, but recent mistakes drive him down. A passionate and cerebral player that might sometimes try a little too hard, but one of the league’s breakout players.
21st - Louis Béland-Goyette – (1995- Midfielder- Winnipeg)
It’s been a frustrating year in Winnipeg, but you can see the talent is there. If Valour could stabilize Béland-Goyette could take off.
20th -- Kadin Chung – (1998-full-back-Pacific)
Chung has put himself solidly in the Olympic qualifying conversation. Pacific isn’t good – they are so very young – but you can’t help but love the opportunity they are giving players like Chung.
19th – David Edgar (1987-defender-Hamilton)
We all love the youth, but there is something to be said about the importance of veterans coming home to finish their career. Edgar’s calming presence has been key to Forge’s recent form.
18th -- Mason Trafford – (1986-defender-Calgary)
Similar to Edgar, just with more time in the league. Not flashy, but key player on the best team in CanPL so far.
17th – Kadell Thomas – (1996-Forward-Hamilton)
Sadly just a little too old for Olympic consideration, but still young enough to move up a level. Needs more consistency. But, that goal, man.
He came in with high expectations and has delivered. Is it enough to return to MLS, or similar?
15th – Matthew Arnone – (1994-defender-Halifax)
Gritty and underrated due to Halifax’s struggles. The Wanderers have been particularly disappointing on the domestic talent front – Arnone has been an exception and a player that could be in the league for a long time.
14th -- Matthew Baldisimo – (1998-midfield-Pacific)
If he’s not in the Olympic mix then someone should buy John Herdman an OneSoccer subscription. Another nice story out of Pacific.
13th - Dominic Samuel – (1994-defender-Hamilton)
Everyone talks about Forge’s attack. If they are to close the gap it will because the back-line caught up.
12th -- Easton Ongaro – (1998-Forward-Edmonton)
And trending up. Yes, he scores from 5-yards, but he scores. A lot. And he’s just getting started.
11th -- Luca Gasparotto—(1995-York-Defender)
There have been a few OH MY GOD WHAT??? moments, but on the whole he’s been a rare bright spot for struggling York.
10th – Connor James - (1996-GK-Edmonton)
Admit it. You didn’t think of James for this list. That’s because he just quietly goes out and does a solid job every game. Like a keeper should.
9th -- Elijah Adekugbe –(1996-midfielder-Calgary)
If Canada wasn’t so stacked at his position, he would be in Herdman’s plans. Many in Canadian soccer have been waiting for Adekugbe to break out for a while. The wait is over.
8th –Kyle Bekker – (1990-midfielder-Hamilton)
Many expected a bit more (and that others have surpassed him is a net positive for the league), but he’s hardly been poor. A key building block for Forge moving forward.
7th – Dominick Zator – (1994-Defender-Calgary)
A great example of how the Whitecaps failed to take advantage of talent in their system. A massive piece of the best team in the league.
6th -- Terran Campbell – (1998—Forward—Pacific)
“Whitecaps reject’ is a compliment, apparently. Olympic eligible and in the mix for the Golden Boot. Yummy.
5th -- Noah Verhoeven – (1999-Midfielder-Pacific)
The best all-around talent among the Pacific kids. If they can figure the depth out they will be a power in 2-3 years (unless the kids have been sold, which would also be wonderful). Also, are we looking forward to Olympic qualifying J?
4th -- Marco Carducci – (1996-GK—calgary)
A baby in Keeper years, Carducci is a good guess to the question ”Who will Canada start in goal in 2026?”
3rd -- Michael Petrasso – (1995—Mid/wingback-Winnipeg)
Winnipeg really missed him for periods of the season. He might have the best raw talent in the league.
2nd – Ryan Telfer – (1994-Winger-York)
TFC is delighted with his progression. A true late bloomer, Telfer will almost certainly be playing at a higher level next year.
1st -- Tristan Borges – (1998-winger-Hamilton)
Quite simply the best all-around player on this list and possibly in the entire league. With a bit more offensive consistency he could play a couple levels higher. And, he’s Olympic eligible
“Three is the magic number”
Last week I told you to expect the expected but maybe, just maybe, I spoke too soon because we have a few games on our hands here. Here’s a quick recap of the 1st legs.
The only game that could be done and dusted is the game between this seasons two surprise packages Alliance and N.Miss. Alliance came out away from this away leg with a 3-1 victory. United stormed into a three-goal lead in an hour. Nicholas Osorio scoring the first and then setting up the next two for teammate Kevin Da Silva. N.Miss pulled one back with a ‘glol’ about 25 mins from time where Nicola Russo’s cross was ‘cleared’ by Kenny Lioutas but his header hit the head of Sebastian Lach who was challenging for the ball and it ended up back on net evading Denys Rylskyi and giving N.Miss a slight chance in the tie.
This, of course, means that N.Miss would need to inflict on Alliance something that hasn’t happened all season to Ilya Orlov’s side and that is to beat them by two goals. The Panthers were one of the sides to score more than one goal against Alliance during the season, although on that day Alliance scored three, so it is possible if they can keep it tight at the back. That said, Alliance could be without several the players if Orlov’s recent tweet is anything to go by as they will be heading back to Uni. It will be interesting to see what this team that has stayed pretty consistent, player turn over wise, all-season look like in the second leg and onwards. I know form the commentary during the London game that a few of the Western boys are allowed to continue with the playoffs as long as the university team comes first, I wonder if coach Orlov could make similar concessions to his players as he is the coach of both UofT and Alliance?
Read more on the NSXI Network.
It was a long and treacherous road for Rob Gale’s Valour FC throughout June and July, when key player Michael Petrasso missed out on 7 consecutive league matches through injury. In those 7 matches, Valour picked up a measly 2 points, plummeting to the bottom of the Spring season table, and giving them a less-than-impressive start to the Fall season as well.
It became clear in the first few weeks of the season that Petrasso is Valour’s ‘X-Factor’. He assisted the clubs first ever goal, scored their first ever goal at home, assisted the only goal in a win against Edmonton, and caused problems for the opposition every time he stepped onto the pitch.
You would expect nothing less from a Canadian international, though.
The former Queen’s Park Rangers and Toronto FC youth product was by far the biggest signing made by Valour ahead of their inaugural Canadian Premier League season, and he became one of just a handful of players league-wide who had represented Canada at senior international level. Throughout his career, Petrasso has made a name for himself as a “chameleon”-type player, who is able to fill in at multiple positions across the pitch whenever required.
This trend has continued with Valour, as Petrasso has been used as a right-back, left-winger, right-winger, attacking midfielder, and a centre-forward in a front 2, throughout his minimal appearances for the team. Last season with Montreal Impact in the MLS, Petrasso was used solely as a right-back. His desire to play in more attacking roles led him to the CPL, to work with his former Canada U20 manager, Rob Gale.
Read more on the NSXI Network
I was just doing some thinking, and I wonder if we have the whole Pro-Rel implementation backwards. Perhaps we should consider CanPL as a Div 2 base and break it up into two or three regional conferences for the foreseeable future to keep operational costs down. Then, once the league hits about 20 teams, announce that the season will promote the top 4 teams to the single-table CanPL Elite Division that would start the following season, with another 4-6 teams being promoted through the end of season playoffs. Then at the end of the following season, the bottom 1-2 Elite Division clubs would be relegated to regular CanPL with the CanPL playoff winners being promoted in their place.
MD3 got Y9 goal of the year as well. Well-deserved for sure.
CPL Team of the Year? Sure, why not, could debate, but not the point I want to make.
Y9 Player of the Year though? Absolutely no way imho. I saw Doner was sliding in on IG DMs asking for votes too lol, tho I dont know if that had much to do with it lol.
I still think Bustos has what it takes to climb back into the CanMNT picture. I have always liked this player. His outstanding cpl season has kind of flown under the radar. We are excited about Borges and rightly so, but Bustos is cut from the same cloth.
Borges is a 98 and Manella/Aleman are 94s. Bustos is a 96 with 6 caps and did well in most of them, particularly against Scotland. Out of the 3 who have "stalled" out, he is one I think who can find another gear.
If El Salvador adopts a "catch-us-if-you-can" approach and plays no more friendlies between now and June, then how many friendlies do you think Canada would have to play to earn 16 points? Even though we're all praying that the CSA is going to announce any day now that we're going to play a handful of friendlies over the next six months, it seems very unlikely considering they've only organized one over the course of the last two years. The CSA only has enough money to invest in the WNT, and that's the reality of soccer in Canada today.