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    CPL-U SPORTS Draft | Ranking the best picks from 2018 & 2019

    Story originally posted Credit:CPL

    Story originally posted December 15, 2020 at and at December 19, 2020 Courtesy of and

    In a little over two years, U SPORTS men’s soccer has become a key pipeline for Canadian soccer talent.

    The ongoing CPL-U SPORTS Draft, which is set to return in January of next year, has brought 17 players to the Canadian Premier League, many of which are considered some of the league’s brightest stars.

    January’s draft will consist of two rounds, with eight picks in each round and each CPL club making two selections. All 16 draftees will be invited to their club’s pre-season training camp ahead of the 2021 CPL campaign.

    A total of 13 players made the jump to CPL clubs in 2019, surprising coaches and Canadian soccer onlookers, making key contributions in the CPL’s inaugural season. A total of 12 former picks made at least one appearance during the 2020 season at The Island Games in PEI, further showing how valuable Canada’s university circuit is.

    Here are the top CPL-U SPORTS Draft picks, ranked by impact at the CPL level.

    9. Jake Ruby (14th overall, HFX Wanderers FC – 2018)

    The 14th and final pick in last Fall’s CPL-U SPORTS Draft, first-year fullback Jake Ruby wasn’t expected to make a CPL roster – especially as he arrived from Trinity Western University, a small British Columbia school where he was first spotted by CPL’s scouting department. Months later, thanks to a comprehensive scouting report, Ruby was invited to Wanderers training camp and never looked back, eventually riding out the COVID-19 stoppage and earning a contract. Ruby, now 20, made eight appearances for the Wanderers in PEI.

    8. Zach Verhoven (9th overall, Pacific FC – 2018)

    Pacific FC's Zach Verhoven in action vs. HFX Wanderers FC. (Photo: Pacific FC).
    Pacific FC’s Zach Verhoven in action vs. HFX Wanderers FC. (Photo: Pacific FC).

    Pacific FC’s lone 2018 pick to make the club, a then-20-year-old Verhoven came off a decent season with the UBC Thunderbirds. A solid pick, but few expected him to emerge as one of the best two-way wide midfielders in the league. His late-season form in 2019 saw him play all but once in PFC’s Fall season campaign, contributing two goals and three assists.

    Verhoven lands at the top in most attacking categories across both seasons for Pacific, including team-leading eight big chances created (according to Opta) and 23 successful crosses in 31 matches played.

    While Verhoven was released by the club this off-season, it’s expected the former U SPORTS standout will find another CPL club for the 2021 campaign.

    For the rest of the list and the full story, please go to

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