The 2023 CPL–U Sports Draft Overview


ANALYSIS – The 2023 CPL–U Sports draft has been finalized. Each team had two draft picks. Vancouver FC, being the CPL expansion team, had the first two draft picks in the CPL draft. Forge FC, who won the North Star Shield this year, was drafted last in both the first and the second round.

The 2023 CPL–U Sports Draft Picks Review

University of Toronto’s Player, Anthony White, Drafted to Vancouver FC

The first draft pick, Anthony White, is a defender for the Varsity Blues at the University of Toronto. A second-year university student, White, was majoring in Kinesiology at U of T and is a six-foot-one defender’s hometown is Port Moody, B.C.

This is what the Vancouver FC head coach, Afshin Ghotbi, said about the draft pick according to OneSoccer:

“He has a fantastic left foot, it is very difficult to find left-footed central defenders from around the world, and to find someone who is under 21 from the Vancouver area with his qualities, is a very special pick for us.”

White played regularly for his university team in 2022, often playing the full 90 minutes for the Varsity Blues according to the Varsity Blues. He also plays for League1 British Columbia’s TSS Rovers, in his hometown province.

Ameer Kinani

Ameer Kinani played for TMU Bold. The six-foot forward majored in Arts & Contemporary Studies. On October 1, he scored two goals and had one assist against RMC and three goals against Laurentian in a 6-1 win and his most notable one was getting one goal and one assist in a 2-1 win against Carleton (source: TMU). This is what Ghotbi said according to OneSoccer:

“What we see with Ameer is he has an eye for goal, and it is always important to find players that go in danger areas and be as efficient and precise as he is.” Ghotbi was also impressed with how he took responsibility for his family: “He has taken his whole family under his arms and living without his father and taking care of his mom and his siblings.”

Kinani also played for the Iraq national under-19 football team and he also played for ProStars FC in Brampton, Ontario of League1 Ontario.

Anthony Stolar

Anthony Stolar played for Cape Breton University and was brought up in Toronto, Ontario. He played eight games for his team. In that time period, his team did not give up more than one goal in any of the eight games he had played. In fact, in five of the eight games, Cape Breton earned a clean sheet in all of those games. Stolar was not the only player that played a role in that, but it did help him get drafted this year. This is what Patrice Gheisar, HFX Wanderers FC head coach, said about Stolar according to OneSoccer:

“He checked off all the boxes we were looking for. He is super competitive, he is extremely confident, and he is a player we know he can perform and play any position or duties that we want.”

Stolar scored three goals for his team in the 2022 season. This included scoring one of the two goals that resulted in a tie with Alliance United FC on June 3, 2022. Stolar played for Scrosoppi FC, based in Milton, Ontario.

Christopher Campoli

Christopher Campoli was drafted fourth overall in the CPL Draft. The midfielder for Ontario Tech University was drafted in the previous two seasons. The HFX Wanderers FC, Patrice Gheisar, said this about Campoli (source: OneSoccer):

“I love the fact that he’s been in the league and just not really clicked for him. And now, he had a great season, player of the year, he’s got great attributes, he’s got great technical ability, and the ability to score goals, which is tough to find. I think he has the great opportunity now to stick.”

Campoli was drafted third overall in the 2022 CPL-U Sports Draft and fourth overall by York United FC. It is important to note though that the present head coach of York United FC was the assistant coach of Cavalry FC back in 2021. It is a different situation and Campoli would hope that getting drafted a third time will be the charm.

Campoli had 14 goals and six assists with his university team this year. This includes stepping up in close games, as he had two assists against Carleton University. on October 15, 2022. His most notable game was on September 9, where he had four goals and one assist in a 7-0 win over Trent University (source: Ontario Tech Ridgebacks). Like Kinani, Campoli also played for ProStars FC.

It might be a surprise that Campoli was not drafted higher in the draft. Josh Lemoine, and 49 Sports and Canucks at School both had Campoli being drafted first overall (source: Jay Fitzsimmons).

2023 CPL–U Sports Draft Summary – No Dominant University this Year

READ MORE: The 2022 CPL–U Sports Draft Overview

There were 13 universities that had players selected in this CPL – U Sports Draft. Of those 13 universities, only three of them had more than one draft pick. Campoli and Trivine Esprit (drafted 11 overall) were drafted from Ontario Tech University to York United FC while William Omoreniye (drafted seventh) and Eryk Kobza (drafted 14th) were drafted by Cavalry FC from Calgary University. Lastly, there was Valour FC, Guillaume Pianelli, and Samuel LaPlante, who was drafted from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.

Other storylines were that CPL teams sometimes drafted based on geographics. HFX Wanderers FC, for example, drafted players from Maritime Universities. Atlético Ottawa drafted someone from Carleton University, and Pacific FC drafted players from Greater Vancouver. Lastly, 11 of the 16 players who were drafted, came from a tier-three Canada league. This could be League1 British Columbia, League1 Ontario, and Première ligue de soccer du Québec.


Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League.