Grading Each CPL’s Team Offseason So Far

Grading Each CPL’s Team Offseason So Far

With the CPL offseason now roughly halfway done, its time to look at how each team has done so far. Every team incept for Forge has announced most of the players who will be departing and have announced most of the players who will be returning for the 2023 season. This gives me roughly enough information to give each team a letter grade on how well their offseason is going so far. Some teams are obviously doing better than others, and some teams are not even doing anything at all. We will circle back to this article in April right before the season gets underway to see how each team did and to see if they improved at all (which hopefully they all did).

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Halifax Wanderers – B

Roster Size: 13/23

Wes Timoteo, formerly of FC Edmonton – Ian Kucerak / FC Edmonton / CPL

HFX has been busy thus far. They got a new coach after Stephen Hart was let go following the conclusion of the 2022 season. Fourteen players have left the club so far including both goalkeepers which is an area of improvement that HFX needs to focus on. 

HFX is looking to improve on their poor goalscoring record last season with a bunch of new attacking signings, former FC Edmonton player Wes Timoteo, Canadian youth international Tiago Coimbra and 2022 MVP and Golden Boot winner Massimo Ferrin have all signed for the club thus far, with more expected to be announced soon.

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Atletico Ottawa – C

Roster Size: 13/23

Diego Espejo, Atlético Ottawa – Tim Austen / Freestyle Photography

ATO has had a reasonably quiet off-season so far. After making it and hosting the CPL Final, the team laid low for a while and didn’t make any player announcements until just before Christmas. Since then they have announced eight players are leaving the club, most notably Drew Beckie who has retired from playing but is joining the front office for the club. Two players have had their options picked up, with the remaining team already under contract for next season. 

Three of the team’s best players are going on trials with other clubs. Diego Espejo is going on a pre-season trial with Inter Miami of MLS, while both Ollie Bassett and Nathan Ingham are going to sister club Atletico San Luis of Liga MX. Espejo is just with Miami until the MLS season kicks off, then will rejoin the team. Bassett and Ingham are on trial for all of the Clausura Season which goes until April 30th which means they may miss the first month of CPL games.

With Brian Wright and Abdou Sissoko now both confirmed to have departed the club, this leaves some important gaps that the team needs to fill. Last season Sissoko held down the midfield which allowed Bassett to go up and play a more forward role which let him have his MVP season. Brian Wright wasn’t as strong for ATO has he has been in the past but he was still a solid option off the bench for a team that lacked scoring. Look for the team to bring in a holding midfielder and hopefully a couple attacking players this offseason. Most of the signings will likely come in February/March, but with the core of their squad still in place, there most likely won’t be that many new faces for the 2023 season compared to the 2022 season where essentially the whole team changed.

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Forge – F

Roster Size: Who knows?

Bobby Smyrniotis, Forge FC – AUDREY MAGNY / CPL

Is Forge even a team still???

It has been radio silence from them, not a single new signing has been announced or any player departures. Who knows what is going on here? 

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York – A

Roster Size: 15/23

What goes better together than York and roster turnover? Nothing. York has let go of fifteen players this season so far with five players coming into the team. They do have some big boots to fill though as the defender of the year candidate Dominick Zator has left the club. York should be looking to fill this gap, with a player just as strong, or stronger than Zator. 

York does have possibly the best attacking lineup in the CPL so far this offseason. With Osaze De Rosario and Mo Babouli starting up top and Brian Wright coming off the bench York should have a fairly good attacking lineup. But the big question will be can their defense hold up?

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Valour – A

Roster Size: 14/23

Moses Dyer, Valour FC – Brandon Taylor / CPL

Valour has been busy this off-season. ten players have departed the club or have had their loans finished. This includes Jonathan Sirois, Sean Rea, Brett Levis, and Moses Dyer to name a few. The club has also been busy on the international market though with attacker Pacifique Niyongabire from Perth Glory in Australia and Kian Williams, a midfielder who played in the Icelandic top division brought in among some other additions from within the CPL. 

Look for the possibility of FC Montreal loaning a couple of their younger players to Valour again. Most likely it won’t be in the form of Sirois and Rea due to the fact that both these players should be moving on by now from Valour or have signed for Valour permanently. But it appears that FC Montreal and Valour have a good working relationship so it is always possible for Valour to acquire some other players. 

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Cavalry – C

Roster Size: 13/23

Cavalry FC’s Elliot Simmons, Joe Mason, and Victor Loturi (L-R) celebrate Mason’s goal vs. FC Edmonton. (Tony Lewis / CPL)

Cavalry so far has had a decent amount of roster turnover with ten players leaving thus far and only one signed in the way of former Australian youth international Jesse Daley. There are still a number of key plays for this side that are out of contract but no public statement has been made so far, this includes Joe Mason, Ali Musse, Mason Trafford, and Sergio Camargo to name a few. 

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FC Edmonton – F

Roster Size: 0/23

FC Edmonton supporters – Sherri Lacasse / FC Edmonton / CPL

RIP Edmonton FC 2010-2022. The team folded after no new buyer was found to take on the team. They let their whole squad go and are not looking to announce any other new signings. Hopefully, football returns to Edmonton sometime in the future. 

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Vancouver FC – D

Roster Size: 3/23

Callum Irving, Pacific FC – Sheldon Mack

With the new expansion team Vancouver FC (they play outside of Langly), starting play in 2023 they are actively building their roster. They have so far signed three players and made two draft picks. They have also announced a big-name coach in the way of Afshin Ghotbi, who is looking to make his mark on the CPL in his first season in charge. Look for Vancouver to be making a bunch of roster announcements in the coming weeks/months. They need to step up soon, as having only enough players for a five aside team doesn’t quite cut it in the CPL.

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Pacific – D

Roster Size: 13/23

Pacific has some serious rebuilding to do. With most of their core players leaving the team they are hopefully starting their rebuilding phase. Some notable players to have left are Marco Bustos, Jamar Dixon, Callum Irving and Gianni dos Santos, among others who have all left the team. 

Marco Bustos, Pacific FC – Sheldon Mack / CPL

They are rebuilding though, with three players having been signed to the team so far, striker Easton Ongaro, Pierre Lamothe who is a former HFX player and Steffen Yeates who is a Canadian youth international. Look for many more new signings before the start of the season. 


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