With the 2021 CPL-U SPORTS Draft set to take place on Friday, CanPL.ca has whittled down the list of 48 declared university players who are eligible for the draft to what we feel are the top 20 prospects. Here is a list of the players most likely to be among the 16 selections made by Canadian Premier League teams during Friday's draft (3pm ET, live on CanPL.ca, OneSoccer, and @CPLSoccer).
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Victory Shumbusho – Forward – UBCA former Vancouver Whitecaps residency attacker and CPL target who is a well-known name in U SPORTS. An athletic, prolific scorer with good speed and dribbling skills, Shumbusho can find shooting opportunities with ease. Bagged 26 goals in 47 appearances for the Thunderbirds.
Jan Pirretas-Glasmacher – Defender – Thompson RiversDrafted by Pacific FC in 2019. Played in the Bundesliga Youth League with Bayer Leverkusen's U-19 side. Very comfortable on the ball and reads the game very well, something that caught the eye of the Tridents last Fall. Trained with the German U-16 team and spent two years (2014-16) in the Blackburn Rovers youth setup. Played for Cornelia U-16, and with Saskatchewan Selects of the Canadian Pro Soccer League last summer.
Gino Temguia – Midfielder – SherbrookeBrother of FC Edmonton standout Mele Temguia, 23-year-old Gino has been a strong two-way presence in midfield for the Université de Sherbrooke for several years, making good use of his experience with Montreal Impact (now CF Montreal) youth teams. Temguia is described as competent in the middle and out wide, and is comfortable using both feet.
Jackson Farmer – Defender – UBCConsidered by many to be CPL-ready, Farmer has one of the best resumes in U SPORTS: a Canadian men’s team cap, experience with Whitecaps U-23, Whitecaps 2 and Charleston Battery, and he won a USL PDL championship with Calgary Foothills in 2018. The Edmonton native is also a goal threat on set pieces with a strong aerial presence. He’s a steady defender, and as one of the oldest players in U SPORTS at 25, he is coming into the peak of his career.
Reggie Laryea – Defender – YorkThat’s right – he's the younger brother of current Toronto FC regular Richie Laryea. Reggie has played in NCAA Div. 1 with the University of Akron Zips, and in League1 Ontario with Sigma FC. He doesn’t bring too much pace, unlike his brother, but he does have good defensive awareness, and he’s comfortable on the ball.
Emmanuel Zambazis – Midfielder – YorkThe third-year York University standout returns to the CPL-U SPORTS fold after being chosen 11th overall in the 2018 draft by York United. The 23-year-old central midfielder impressed in four appearances before returning to university.
Yuba-Rayne Yesli – Goalkeeper – MontrealOne of a handful of goalkeepers who could be drafted, six-foot-seven Yuba-Rayne stands as one of the most promising (and tallest). The former CF Montreal youth product spent time at Italian side Vibonese Calcio and helped them earn promotion to Serie C. Good with the ball at his feet, the 21-year-old is described as a technically-gifted ‘keeper with an eye to create and play out from the back.
Stefan Karajovanovic – Forward – CarletonKarajovanovic arrives after being drafted by York in 2019. A consistent goal scorer, the 21-year-old played with FC Gatineau and A.S. Blainville in PLSQ, and featured as a substitute against York in the 2019 Canadian Championship. He’s described as an active attacker, excellent technical ability and creativity, who likes to look for space. With Carleton, he is nearly at a goal-per-game rate – 35 goals and four assists in 37 games.
Charlie Waters – Forward – Cape BretonDrafted by Valour FC last year, the former Liverpool and Manchester United Academy player failed to make the side for the truncated 2020 season. A smart forward, the Englishman does not have trouble finding spaces and creating for teammates. What he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in positioning and scoring instinct.
Nicholas Osorio – Midfielder – TorontoYounger brother of Toronto FC stalwart Jonathan Osorio, 22-year-old Nicholas makes this list as a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto. An energetic box-to-box midfielder, Osorio has made nearly 70 appearances in League1 Ontario and played twice for Toronto FC II in 2015.
Jamie Watson – Defender – Cape BretonCape Breton’s latest European import, Watson is a Scottish fullback with professional experience. Previously with second-tier side Raith Rovers, the 21-year-old made 40 appearances, 31 as a starter, before accepting a scholarship with Cape Breton. Dubbed an attacking fullback who loves to put crosses into the box, Watson is a one-of-a-kind draft choice.
Chris Lee – Defender – UBCFirst-year fullback arrives at UBC after several years in the Vancouver Whitecaps youth setup and appearances with Canada’s youth teams. Lee is described as a technically-gifted left-footed wide player, who likes to cross the ball. While the 19-year-old has yet to play a U SPORTS match, he may be a solid pickup for CPL teams looking for fullback depth.
Dario Conte – Midfielder – CarletonFormer Vancouver Whitecaps and Ottawa Fury prospect Dario Conte is an option for clubs looking to grab a solid box-to-box midfielder this Spring. The Ottawa native has impressed at Carleton and Ottawa South United in the Summers, logging 15 appearances in PLSQ and League1 Ontario. Conte – who made the U SPORTS All-star team in 2019, a lineup that included Peter Schaale, Abou Sissoko, and Cory Bent – offers vision and creativity and an ability to create.
Kareem Sow – Defender – MontrealFormer CF Montreal youth product Kareem Sow has starred for the Montreal Carbins since jumping to U SPORTS in 2018, where he played a key role in the schools’ National Championship. Developed as a centre-back but can play at left fullback and in midfield, the Ottawa native is one of a handful of talented left-footed defenders on offer this year and can count towards a CPL club’s under-21 minutes.
Thomas Gardner – Midfielder – UBCThird time the charm for UBC’s Thomas Gardner? Picked in the 2018 and 2019 drafts, the former Vancouver Whitecaps Residency and Whitecaps 2 standout was slated to enjoy a season of CPL action under his belt with Pacific in 2019, but was ruled out for three months with a knee injury shortly after being selected in the first round. Gardner, 22, scored five goals and added four assists in 16 matches last season.
Nikolas Baikas – Midfielder – SaskatchewanBaikas is one of the best prospects on offer in Saskatchewan at the moment. A sharp-moving midfielder, the Saskatoon-raised attacker trained in Greece and Uruguay before stints with Toronto FC’s Academy and, finally, the Huskies, where he led the team with three goals in 2019. He scored the first goal in SK Selects’ history, too, earning man of the match honours.
Jacob Grant – Forward – MemorialA six-foot-three forward from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Grant is one of a handful of decent East Coast prospects on offer this year. Strong, versatile, and solid with both feet, the Memorial University standout scored five goals in 11 matches in 2019 and made the national all-rookie team in 2019 alongside current CPLers Isaiah Johnston (York United) and Jake Ruby (HFX Wanderers). Grant would count as an under-21 player for the 2021 CPL season and, if drafted, could be the first Newfoundlander to play in the CPL.
Soji Olatoye – Forward – YorkYork University and Sigma FC standout Olatoye is available to be selected in 2021. Described as a winger with good pace and strong one-on-one attacking abilities, the Brampton native recently transferred from NCAA Division 1 school La Salle University where he led the team with six goals and 14 shots on target in 15 games.
Euan Bauld – Centre-back – Cape BretonA player that’s been on the draft radar for some time, Bauld is a strong centre-back with four years’ experience at Cape Breton. He’s a product of the Hibernian FC academy in Scotland, and he played a handful of professional games with Berwick Rangers in the Scottish second division. Bauld has also previously played for Calgary Foothills FC and trialed with Cavalry, and he could be a very useful addition for any CPL side looking for a vocal, commanding presence at the back.
Mo El Gandour – Centre-back – Mount RoyalFormer Cavalry FC draft pick and youth team member, Mo El Gandour’s name is back in the CPL-U SPORTS conversation after being picked ninth last season. El Gandour played for Cavalry’s youth team in Alberta last summer, making eight starts and scoring twice. Versatile in attack and able to play as a striker, left winger and advanced midfielder, the Mount Royal forward earned a U SPORTS second-team nomination in 2019 with a two-goal, two-assist season.