U Sports’ newest pathway to professional sports announced its detailed draft on Wednesday afternoon. The second annual Canadian Premier League draft will take place in Montreal, Quebec on November 11th, this following the conclusion of the U Sports soccer season.
The national university championship is being hosted in Montreal in the days prior to the draft and will provide an opportunity for coaches to give a final evaluation on players they may consider drafting.
The draft format is identical to last year’s inaugural edition with the teams selecting in snake order (1 to 8 then to 1). In 2019, 13 players were selected, however, with the inevitable expansion teams likely to be announced before the draft, the total number of players will be greater.
Those aforementioned 13 players amounted for 15’249 minutes in the leagues inaugural season. That total works out to 1730 per player which is more time than the average CPL player.
As I spoke about in an earlier article, the CPL has provided university-level footballers with an extra level of motivation. Canadian university soccer used to be looked at as the end of a player’s career, but with the introduction of the CPL, it opens a new professional route.
While Canadian football players always had the opportunity to be drafted in the Canadian Football League (CFL), their agreement with the professional ranks was and is not as welcoming as the one U sports shares with the CPL.
The agreement allows the drafted athletes to play with the professional club and return to school in the fall. While they may stick with their CPL sides throughout the whole season, this flexibility opens the door for many Canadian players who may not want to risk giving up education in favour of sport.
With the draft entering its second year, it is a sign of sustainability for the CPL and the leagues continued appreciation of the domestic talents in their own backyard.
The rules for the CPL U Sports draft are below with credit to CanPL.ca
2019 CPL-U SPORTS Draft rules and notes:
The CPL-U SPORTS Draft will consist of two rounds
Only underclassmen are eligible to take part
Graduating seniors are not eligible for the draft but may sign a standard professional contract with any CPL club
Clubs have until April 15, 2020 to offer either a Developmental or standard professional contract to draft picks
If no contract is offered, the player is free to sign with any other CPL club
A CPL Developmental Contract stemming from the CPL-U SPORTS Draft can be converted to a standard professional contract up to one month after a team’s last match
August 1st, 2020 is the deadline for clubs to come to an agreement with U SPORTS draft picks
Players will be released back to their U SPORTS program no later than August 15th if they are not signed by the club
If a player is retained by the club for the remainder of the CPL season, his CPL Developmental Contract will be extended until the end of the current CPL season (roughly beginning of November) Furthermore, the club and the player can mutually agree to a one-time, one-year option in which the player’s rights are retained by the club for the following CPL season. This player will lose his eligibility to play in U SPORTS for the upcoming season but is still considered eligible for subsequent seasons moving forward
If a player returns to his U SPORTS program he may only sign another CPL Developmental Contract by taking part in the U SPORTS Draft again – his original CPL club has forfeited the player’s rights to retain him. If a player has been released back to his U SPORTS program, they can sign a standard professional contract with any other club of his choosing