The 2022 Canadian Premier League-U Sports Draft happened last night (January 20). The actual draft occurred earlier, then OneSoccer live-streamed a broadcast summary of the draft. It was really nicely done, hosted by Kristian Jack. You can re-watch its broadcast on YouTube here.
I’m not going to evaluate the individual draftees – I’ll leave that to people who know U Sports (e.g., The Merchant Sailor, The Northern Tribune, Brandon Adibe, the CPL’s article, and others). This post is simply to share some data and tallies.
Which Schools produce draftees?
Cape Breton, you beast. In 2022 as always.
While I've done a series of analyses of the CPL-U Sports draft, I had not yet looked at which schools produce the most draftees. So there it is, with schools' big light-blue bars showing all drafts from 2018 to 2022, and small dark bars in the foreground showing 2022 draftees' schools.
Which positions were drafted?
Draftees' playing positions were similar this draft to other drafts, with midfielders being most commonly drafted followed by defenders and forwards. No goalkeepers selected this year, even with the highly-regarded Svyatoslav Artemenko available.
Which playing positions tend to play CPL minutes after being drafted? I did that analysis already.
How did mock drafts do?
Wow there was a lot of attention on the draft this year! There were early critiques of the league for not announcing anything about the draft. During the draft stream there were numerous live-chat discussions (e.g., The Merchant Sailor's liveblog chat). On platforms like Discord that this GenXer still doesn't fully understand.
And there were mock drafts and draftee rankings. Way more than in any previous year, I'm pretty sure. Some of them got into great detail about the players.
- The league published an article on 40 potential draftees, written by Charlie O'Connor-Clarke.
- The Capital City Supporters' Group (Eddie Benhin and Brandon Adibe) produced this YouTube draft ranking, together with Josh Lemoine of the Stepover Podcast.
- Ben Steiner (49 Sports) and Brandon Que (Canucks At School) did a top-30 ranking.
- Dylan Matthias (The Merchant Sailor) published a mock draft with in-depth player assessments, and many honourable mentions.
- pitchsidesolutions tweeted a mock draft.
- @cansoccerfeed tweeted a top-10 list.
I compiled these mock drafts / rankings into a Google Sheets spreadsheet. The more lists a player appears on, the more highly regarded they are.
The various lists overlapped each other somewhat. Just like the actual draft overlapped with the lists somewhat.
Some players were consistently rated, and were in fact drafted, including Jose da Cunha (ATO), Kairo Coore (EDM), Christian Rossi (YRK), and Soji Olatoye (YRK).
Some players appeared on nobody's list but were drafted: Raine Lyne (picked 4th by Valour) and Mohamed Alshakman (picked 15th by Forge).
Some players appeared on most lists but weren't drafted, such as the goalkeeper Svyatik Artemenko, former Valour defender Raphael Garcia, and more. There is hope for these players - they are free to sign pro or Developmental Contracts with any CPL team. I would hope several of these highly-regarded U Sports players get try-outs and contracts with clubs. There are CPL-caliber players among them.
Below is a screenshot showing the drafted players and how many times they were ranked on mock drafts. It also shows some of the players who were selected in several mock drafts but went undrafted.
The Google Sheets spreadsheet is here. Poke around - it's fun.
The OneSoccer draft experience - sweet but bitter
The OneSoccer draft stream was really well done. They spiced it up from last year, which was on my list of seven ways to improve the draft. Lots of folks enjoyed the broadcast and the post-draft discussions (now I know what a twitter space is - thanks Capital City Supporters' Group!). Great job by Kristian Jack and all the folks behind the scenes.
Earlier in the day it was revealed that Kurt Larson remains as Head of Content for OneSoccer.
The broadcaster had earlier shared they would evaluate things after his pattern was revealed of sexist and problematic tweets. For a summary of his conduct, and the responses by OneSoccer and MediaPro Canada, see this post by Randy Scandie. And see below for my twitter thread documenting his OneSoccer account's total avoidance of any topic related to BIPOC, LBTGQ+, etc. soccer in Canada, including one of the biggest Canadian Soccer stories of the year in Quinn becoming the first openly non-binary athlete to win an Olympic medal.
I enjoy OneSoccer broadcasts. I especially enjoy Oliver Platt's analysis - he's the best in Canada in my opinion for sharing his analyses in an accessible and enjoyable way for viewers. But my enjoyment is tainted knowing someone as problematic as Kurt Larson is behind it all. I hope OneSoccer and MediaPro Canada take action soon. They risk otherwise-glowing coverage and discussion of OneSoccer, such as this one, to be tainted by discussion of #LarsonOut.
Jay enjoys coaching and playing soccer recreationally. He’s dabbling in soccer analytics about the Canadian Premier League and League1 Ontario. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario with his family.