The 2022 CPL–U Sports Draft Overview

Canadian Premier League photo

ANALYSIS – The 2022 CPL–U Sports Draft took place yesterday virtually. The players were selected from U Sports, who are athletes playing in Canadian universities across the country. There was a selection of 40 players that CPL teams had a chance to draft, with only 16 of them getting drafted.

2022 CPL–U Sports Draft Review

Cape Breton Capers shined at the draft

Cape Breton Capers had three of their players drafted in the CPL–U Sports Draft. This included the first, second, and fourth draft picks of the CPL–U Sports Draft.

José Cunha, Kairo Coore, and Raine Lyn were the three players selected. This is what Glenn MacDonald of Salt Wire said about what this means to the program. The last club team Cunha played for was Portuguese club G.D. Estoril Praia and Christopher Campoli for League1 Ontario team Unionville Milliken SC.

“This is a brilliant moment for the program,” Deano Morley, CBU men’s soccer head coach, said during the draft broadcast on “They will represent us well and they will represent U Sports well. It’s just an excellent pathway. To see these young men get this chance is excellent.”

The Portuguese player joined the Cape Breton Capers last year. He was drafted by Forge FC but did not play a game. He will now play for Atlético Ottawa, which is owned by Atlético Madrid.

A second-year student from Whitby, Ontario, Kairo Coore is a product of Erin Mills Soccer Club in Mississauga, Ontario according to the Canadian Premier League. Prior to joining the Capers, he played two seasons in Division 2 competition with the NCAA’s Saginaw Valley State Cardinal of Michigan. This is while Raine Lyn was a midfielder for the Capers. He started in six of the 10 games for Cape Breton University.

Three Straight Draft Picks from Université de Montréal

Kristian Jack mentioned that it was the first time in CPL history that three straight players were drafted from one university according to OneSoccer. This was Université de Montréal. The eighth, ninth, and 10th draft pick all came from that university.

Starting with Luca Ricci, who was drafted eighth overall by Pacific FC. This was also the last draft pick in the first round. He was born in LaSalle, Quebec, Canada. Ricci is 23 years old and started his youth career with the Montreal Impact Academy. This is according to Cleve Dheensaw of Times Colonist:

“Luca has an excellent background and has been in a professional environment and that is very interesting to us,” said then PFC technical director and assistant coach James Merriman.

Yesterday, Pa-Modou Kah became head coach of North Texas SC and James Merriman is now the head coach of Pacific. As a result, Merriman has become the third head coach in Pacific FC, who are also reigning CPL champions.

Forwards Julien Bruce and Quentin Paumier were also drafted. Bruce went ninth to the nation’s capital in Ottawa while Paumier was drafted by Edmonton. Ricci played for FC Lanaudière and Bruce played for FC Laval. Both teams currently play in the PLSQ. Lastly, Paurnier last played for FC Côte Bleue.

Christopher Campoli Drafted Third Overall by HFX Wanderers FC

Christopher Campoli was a midfielder for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. His last club team was Unionville Miliken SC of League1 Ontario. He was tied for second in goals scored with 12. The one who led goals in U-Sports was Coore, who was drafted second in the CPL–U Sports Draft.

The Woodbridge native appealed to HFX Wanderers FC head coach Stephen Hart according to CPL Soccer:

“I liked how he was direct at times. He can score goals and create goals; he’s got good vision and I like that um you know he’s not a very predictable player and sometimes you need that imagination that invention and he certainly showed it.”

CPL–U Sports Draft Overview

This is what Clanachan said about the CPL–U Sports Draft to Kristian Jack according to CPL Soccer:

“We broke through and did something that no other sport had done.”

This is the fourth CPL–U Sports Draft. Drafting U Sports athletes is important to give these players a pathway to professionalization. CPL is one of only two leagues to draft players only from U Sports to a professional league. The other league is the CEBL (Canadian Elite Basketball League), which came after the CPL–U Sports Draft. The CFL and MLR also pick U Sports athletes, but in the same draft, they also pick NCAA athletes. This is especially true with MLR, where many more rugby union players are drafted from NCAA and only a few from U Sports.

In this year’s draft, Cape Breton University and Université de Montréal shined the most. It is incredibly special when considering there are not many professional men’s soccer teams in Quebec and Atlantic Canada compared to its population. It also shows the potential for what a CPL team could be in either Quebec and/or Atlantic Canada.

Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League/Chant Photography.