In 2019, the Canadian Premier League was 100 per cent newcomers. No smash-hit, off-season signing surprised because, well, everyone was a surprise. This season is markedly different. We have known entities, such as Cavalry FC’s Marco Carducci, Forge FC’s Kyle Bekker, and Pacific FC’s Terran Campbell. Question is, will they be dominant forces in Year 2 of the CPL like they were in 2019? Or will the 40-odd new names in the league push and potentially out-shine the original CPL trailblazers? Here are six newcomers who could blow the roof off of the Canadian Premier League in 2020. RELATED READING: CPL pre-season roster tracker: How each team is shaping up
Hanson Boakai – Midfielder – FC Edmonton

Once dubbed "Edmonton’s Messi" before a certain other teenager came through Alberta’s capital. The 23-year-year-old Hanson Boakai makes a storybook return to the Eddies this season after breaking through with FCE as a 16-year-old and then making the move to Europe. Did it pan out? Not really. A solid 23-appearance run with tier two Finnish side Ekenäs IF – which also once housed former HFX Wanderers players Chakib Hocine and Zachary Sukunda – was his crowning achievement. But here comes a mature winger returning to play at home. No more homesickness, no more inconsistencies that come with being a young attacker. Boakai has things lining up nicely with a club that can prop up local talent much more than it did in the NASL days.
Jason Beaulieu – Goalkeeper – HFX Wanderers FC

A brutal knee injury sidelined the former Montreal Impact goalkeeper’s move to the Ottawa Fury last season. That could have been the breakout campaign for 26-year-old Beaulieu, who has played fourth-fiddle, if that’s even a thing, in Montreal. It is easy to compare Beaulieu to Marco Carducci, for example: an MLS backup who has been finally given a chance. Carducci went on to win a CPL goalkeeper of the year award, he recorded a huge a win over his old MLS team, and earned call-ups to the Canadian men's team. A move back to MLS could be on the cards for Beaulieu, as long as he plays them right and dominates in net with the Wanderers.
Moses Dyer – Forward – Valour FC

The Canadian Premier League’s first Kiwi arrives on this continent with a point to prove. Capped 11 times for New Zealand, the 22-year-old Moses Dyer is living a similar life to a Canadian of, say, 2005; no high-level club to play for in his home country, of decent pedigree, guided abroad to ply his trade. Scoring 17 goals in three seasons is a great return, but Dyer will be looking for those double-digit numbers in the CPL and, let’s be honest, another look from his national team. Dyer has the potential to be the CPL's next big thing.
Alejandro Díaz – Forward – Pacific FC

Is ex-Club América forward Alejandro Díaz the most impressive signing in CPL history? A case could be made for former Ligue 1 fullback Arnold Bouka Moutou, but the point stands. A 21st Club-recruited player, Díaz has four goals for Mexico’s youth teams and has long been considered a player with serious promise. At 24, Díaz has made his move. CPL play is well-suited to his speed and touch as a centre-forward. Pacific’s attractive style will only help Díaz further. Would a 14-goal total be out of reach? If the Tridents perform up to potential, it could be even more that.
Thomas Meilleur-Giguère – Defender – Pacific FC

Pacific FC’s new centre-back Thomas Meilleur-Giguère arrives from the Ottawa Fury after starting all but four of the club’s 38-match run in 2019. Impressive physically with veteran consistency to boot, this is a young defender on just about everyone’s radar. What’s next is, well, for him to take the next step. No longer in the shadows of others at USL level, this 22-year-old will be a first-choice defender every week. If Pacific FC perform well and make a playoff run, Meilleur-Giguère could be the double-barrelled name on everyone Canadian soccer supporter’s lips. EditorialAd-HomeKit_Launch

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