Ryan Telfer is back in the CPL – what history will he make next? The 27-year-old signed for Atlético Ottawa this week after leaving York United last Fall. Telfer, you may recall, has had quite a successful career at the CPL level, making 39 appearances for York (then York9 FC) across two seasons, scoring ten goals and adding three assists. Telfer, a native of Mississauga, Ont., has quietly racked up quite a list of accomplishments through the first two CPL seasons, going all the way back before the league’s inaugural game on April 27, 2019. Here’s what the CPL’s history-maker has managed to accomplish so far – with his next chapter in Ottawa coming up next.
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First MLS-to-CPL loanTelfer became the first player loaned to the CPL from an MLS club in March of 2019. Swapping Toronto FC for the Nine Stripes, Telfer had returned to York Lions Stadium where he starred for York University before featuring for Vaughan Azzurri of League1 Ontario and, eventually, climbing to TFC through their second team, where he featured 38 times in 2017 and 2018. It was a meteoric climb through the ranks in the Greater Toronto Area which culminated in a once-in-a-lifetime moment just down the road in Hamilton.
First goal in CPL historyYou remember this one, yeah? Just as supporters, players, and coaches at Tim Hortons Field revelled in the euphoric state induced by the initial ceremonies and pomp surrounding the first match in the Canadian Premier League’s history, it happened. York9 captain Manny Aparicio cut Forge FC’s backline with a smart through pass, which Telfer wiggled through a sliding defender. That opened up a 1-v-1 opportunity with Forge goalkeeper Triston Henry. Telfer wouldn’t miss his mark and his chance to be a name synonymous with the CPL forever. “It’s a special feeling. Just to be known as the first goalscorer in this new league is something special to me,” Telfer told reporters after the match, having just seen messages from family, friends and supporters. “It honestly hits inside. There’s no better feeling than having family members being proud of you.”
First goalscorer at York Lions StadiumTelfer’s next history-making moment came just under a month later when the Nine Stripes faced AS Blainville in the Canadian Championship. After a scoreless first leg in Quebec, Telfer and co. returned for a pseudo-home opener against the PLSQ side. Difficulties in front of goal plagued Jimmy Brennan’s group until the 70th minute when Simon Adjei, unlucky not to score himself, thumped a ball towards the keeper, who parried the opportunity up for a diving Telfer. While a dry run for their CPL home opener against Forge that weekend, you couldn’t ignore Telfer notching yet another record.
First goalscorer against an MLS opponentIn a gritty, all-out affair with the Montreal Impact (now CF Montreal) at York Lions Stadium, Telfer was the Nine Stripes player to step up when it mattered with a rocket of a second-half shot at York Lions Stadium. At a field he was used to, from his time at York University, against an MLS opponent he had previously faced, the occasion seemed to Telfer’s level in an unexplainable way. Perhaps it was the confidence that bred from both instances.
First international goal in CPL historyTelfer’s play in 2019 quickly caught the attention of Trinidad and Tobago – not before Canadian men’s boss John Herdman showed interest – and soon enough he had jetted off to the Caribbean to represent the Soca Warriors. In his second international match against Martinique, Telfer found the back of the net with a mad scramble. Oddly similar to his last international marker which, you guessed it, has set another record...
Most international goals by an active CPLerTelfer’s four goals for the country while a CPLer is a record among players active in the league. His last came in March against Guyana in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying when he, uh, capitalized on an error for the goalkeeper. The 27-year-old has made eight appearances for Trinidad and Tobago and is set to play a big part in their World Cup qualifying campaign which will continue in June with crucial tilts against the Bahamas and Saint Kitts and Nevis – the latter of which could be a group decider. Perhaps a chance to add to his tally?