Expansion Vancouver FC added to its roster Thursday by taking Anthony White and Ameer Kinani with the first two picks of the CPL U Sports draft.
The eight Canadian Premier League clubs were allowed to select two players each from a list of 199 college athletes who declared for the draft, the largest prospect pool in league history.
The draft was open to any U-Sport underclassman with one to four years of eligibility remaining, provided they have good standing and plan to return to school the following year.
Eight of the 16 players selected were defenders
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Players selected may be invited to pre-season training with their prospective club, where they may compete for a roster spot for the 2023 CPL season.
Vancouver opened the draft by taking White, a defenseman from the University of Toronto, and Kinani, a forward from Toronto Metropolitan University. Selection order was then based on the 2022 order of finish, with the team selected last, and CPL champions Forge FC finishing last in both rounds.
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Vancouver, which did not have a second-round pick, made goaltender Callum Irving its first signing on Wednesday.
White, a center back from Port Moody, BC, made 22 appearances for the Varsity Blues through two seasons, including 18 starts. In the past he trained at FC Nurenberg in Germany, as well as Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb and NK Sibenik. He won the first League1 BC title with TSS Rovers this season.
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“It’s unique to find left-footed central defenders in the soccer market,” Vancouver FC head coach Afshin Ghotbi said. “Anthony is a talented and intelligent young defender who has lofty goals for his football career.
“I was impressed by his ambition and look forward to getting to know him even better in the future.”
White, a second-year kinesiology student, hopes to follow the lead of defender Lukas MacNaughton, who went from U of T to the CPL’s Pacific FC and MLS’s Toronto FC.
Kinani, an Iraqi youth international, has scored four goals in 11 games this season for Toronto Metropolitan University. He added 17 more in 20 games for ProStars FC in League1 Ontario this summer, and previously spent time with Cartagena FC in Spain.
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“Ameer is always dangerous in front of goal,” said Ghotbi. “With and without the ball, he is committed to running behind back lines and creating havoc with his pace.
“Ameer boasts a natural nose for goal, and has the instincts to be in the right positions at the right moments.”
CPL-U Sports Concept
1. Vancouver FC, Anthony White, University of Toronto, defender, 2nd year; 2. Vancouver FC, Ameer Kinani, Toronto Metropolitan University forward, 1st year; 3. Halifax Wanderers, Anthony Stolar, Cape Breton University, defender, 2nd year; York United FC, Christopher Campoli, Ontario Tech University, midfielder, 4th year; 5. Valor FC, Guillaume Pianelli Balisoni, Universite du Quebec a Trois Rivieres, defenders, 3rd year; Pacific FC, Eric Lajeunesse, University of British Columbia, defenders, 1st year; 7. Cavalry FC, William Omoreniye, University of Calgary, midfielder, 1st year; 8. Atletico Ottawa, Junior Agyekum, Thompson Rivers University, midfielder 2nd year; 9. Forge FC, Miles Green, McMaster University, midfielder 4th year.
10. Halifax Wanderers, Aiden Rushenas, Dalhousie University, goalkeeper, 2nd year; 11. York United FC, Trivine Esprit, Ontario Tech University, midfielder, 1st year; 12. Valor FC, Samuel Laplante, Universite du Quebec a Trois Rivieres, defender, 1st year; 13. Pacific FC, Brandon Torresan, Trinity Western University, defender, 2nd year; 14. Cavalry FC, Eryk Kobza, University of Calgary, defender, 4th year; 15, Atletico Ottawa, Mohamed Bouzidi, Carleton University, forward, 1st year; 16. Forge FC, Milo Djuricic, University of York, defender 4th year.
© 2022 The Canadian Press