Welcome to CPL50, a series where we’ll reveal the top 50 players from the 2021 Canadian Premier League regular season, as voted on by a panel of coaches from all eight teams and media from OneSoccer and CanPL.ca. For more information on the voting process and method, click here.
Cracking the top 15 of the CPL50 is Forge FC's Swedish maestro, Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson. The 25-year-old has been in Hamilton for three years now, and each year he's become more and more integral to the fabric of the Bobby Smyrniotis' team. Achinioti-Jönsson played 36 times for Forge in 2021, 27 of them Canadian Premier League matches (including every single minute of Forge's two playoff games). He played the third-most minutes for the Hammers in the CPL this year (2,183), functioning as the team's vital link between the backline and midfield. Achinioti-Jönsson is one of the best passers in the entire CPL -- of players with more than 1,000 minutes played, he had the second-best accuracy in the league (89.2%). He was a constant force in the number 6 role for Forge, often dropping deep between the centre-backs to help play out (and he himself played as a centre-back several times, particularly in a back three). Plus, Achinioti-Jönsson was an important part of the team's set-piece routines as one of Forge's better aerial threats, which he showed with a goal scored against York United: With 81 matches played for Forge over three years, Achinioti-Jönsson has the third-most appearances for the club. He's been a huge part of their success in the Concacaf League as well as both of their CPL championships -- indeed, it was he who scored the winning goal in the 2020 CPL Final at the Island Games. A native of Hittarp, Sweden, Achinioti-Jönsson's trip to join Forge in 2019 was his first venture outside of his native country. He'd played previously for a few sides in the Swedish first and second tiers, including Helsingborgs IF and IFK Värnamo. Since leaving the country of his birth, though, Achinioti-Jönsson has found a home in Hamilton, Ontario.
The rest of the CPL50 countdown is available here. Five more players will be revealed per day until December 22.