Select men’s varsity soccer players across Canada, including UBC’s athletes, will now have the opportunity to continue their careers professionally with the Canadian Premier League (CPL)-U Sports draft.
U Sports and the CPL announced today that top-rated U Sports athletes will have the opportunity to sign a CPL-U Sports developmental contract with a CPL club for the spring and summer, while preserving any years of eligibility they may have for their varsity squads in the fall. There is no minimum age or year-level required for varsity athletes to be eligible.
The CPL is the new professional men’s soccer league set to debut nationally in April 2019. Teams will be able to play in world-class venues across the country, bringing a Canadian spin to the world of professional soccer. Teams in the league include Cavalry FC in Calgary, FC Edmonton, Forge FC in Hamilton, HFX Wanderers FC in Halifax, Pacific FC in Victoria, Valour FC in Winnipeg and York 9 FC in Toronto.
“We are excited to provide our men’s soccer players with the opportunity to pursue the next stage of their careers at home through the CPL-U SPORTS Draft,” said Graham Brown, U Sports president and CEO in a media release.
“Our talented student-athletes are a testament to the growth of soccer in Canada and we look forward to watching their continued development and success in the CPL.”
The draft will take place on November 12, following the 2018 U Sports Men’s Soccer Championship that will be hosted this year on UBC’s campus. Players will be notified of their selection in order of draft pick and will be invited to participate in pre-season camp by the team that drafted them.
All athletes will be released from CPL duties on August 15 to return to U Sports teams if they are eligible. At the end of their U Sports season in the fall, athletes can return to their CPL team to finish out that season.
Student-athletes will need to re-enter the draft each season if they wish to continue playing in the CPL while in the U Sports system.
In preparation for the draft, the CPL’s Soccer Operations Department — with input from U SPORTS coaches — is tracking and scouting players to establish a prospects list. CPL’s franchise coaches will review player profiles, video footage and will be on-site at UBC to assess the players participating in the U Sports Men’s Soccer Championship.