The Canadian Premier League's history-maker has returned. Ryan Telfer signed with York9 FC on Wednesday, inking a permanent deal with the CPL side after enjoying a historic 2019 campaign with the Nine Stripes while on-loan from Toronto FC. The deal comes after Telfer's short stint with Nea Salamis Famagusta FC of Cyprus. Telfer, who turned 26 in March, signed a six-month contract with the Cypriot topflight club after TFC declined to pick up his option last November. Telfer's name is all over the CPL. Its first-ever goalscorer and first international call-up, Telfer put in a number of impressive performances last year, making the attacking talent one of the league's biggest off-season signings in Year 2. Here’s a review of his historic 2019 CPL campaign with York9 FC. RELATED READING: Ryan Telfer returns to York9 FC for 2020 CPL season
Undervalued veteran guile

First goalscorer in CPL history, first CPLer to score against an MLS side, first to score a home goal for York9 and, *breathe*, the first CPLer to score an international goal. On loan from Toronto FC, Telfer was at the forefront of some of the most exciting moments of York9 FC's 2019 season – and some of Y9's most well-executed attacking sequences. In retrospect, that veteran leadership was his most important attribute. Think of that Canadian Championship first leg with the Montreal Impact. A gritty, all-out affair with an MLS side, Telfer was the one Nine Stripes player to step up when it mattered with a rocket of a second-half shot at York Lions Stadium. 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 another season as Y9's "been there, done that" attacker will do this younger core some good. RELATED READING: COVID-19 pandemic helped Ryan Telfer find his way back to York9 and CPL
Attacking knowhow

Good with a cross, a forward pass or a cunning finish, Telfer was a standout in all areas of the pitch for York9. As good at cutting in as taking the play to the wings, capable of scoring or creating – he had it all. Jim Brennan's side wouldn't be anywhere without the goals Telfer created or scored. Those flashes of brilliance were many: that inaugural goal against Forge FC, his brace in Winnipeg, and the several more he scored on summer days at York Lions Stadium. By season's end, Telfer was second team scoring with eight goals, and he led the club in Opta's "big chances created" category (seven). Above that, the 26-year-old was as dependable as attackers go, logging over 2,200 minutes and 24 starts. RELATED READING: York9’s Angus McNab: Emilio Estevez sale final piece of Ryan Telfer puzzle
Versatility: A starting no. 9 for York9?

Upon his return, Telfer said he was impressed with York9's off-season signings. It's easy to see why they give the team more depth. Alex Hamilton, Michael Petrasso, Gabriel Vasconcelos, and Kyle Porter make up a loaded York9 winger contingent. Central midfield is even more overcapacity: Chris Mannella, Joseph Di Chiara, Manny Aparicio… the list goes on. The Nine Stripes have aptly added reinforcements after Telfer's departure. But these additions leave a key question: Where could Telfer play? An outright striker might be his new role. It's a natural evolution for an athletic Telfer, who could end up more like Cyle Larin – a versatile No. 9 with excellent passing, first touch, and athleticism – rather than a run-of-the-mill winger. Looking at his 2019 season, it's clear that's how Telfer is destined to develop. According to SportLogiq, the former TFC man completed more shots and key passes per 90 minutes than any other starting CPLer. Ultimately, putting Telfer up top will get him involved as late into an attacking sequence as possible. More goals, more wins for York9 in 2020.

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