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CPL Rewind: Everything that happened in ’18
Canadian Premier League

Welcome 2019, the year everyone in Canadian soccer will associate with the Canadian Premier League; the first match, first champion, first season.

That said, 2018 made it possible.

Here’s how that foundation came together.

January-April 2018

Photo by Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo.
Canadian Premier League commissioner David Clanachan.

The Canadian Premier League started strong in 2018.

Clanachan was named commissioner on Jan. 10, making the long-time business executive the face of the league.

He was swiftly followed by the appointments of Beirne and Easton.

The league unveiled its first emblem and visual identity in late April, opening the floodgates for what was to come.

May 2018


York9 FC paved the way with an historic announcement at Vaughan City Hall on May 10 as it became the first club announced to the public.

Cavalry FC joined York Region a week later with an announcement at their future home, Spruce Meadows. Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was named head coach, making him the first gaffer in club history.

The month ended with a quartet of clubs as league officials welcomed HFX Wanderers and Vancouver Island into the league.

June 2018

Coach2-5541 good
HFX Wanderers coach Stephen Hart. (CPL)

June picked up where May left off with more clubs joining the CPL.

Valour FC and FC Edmonton were confirmed as the fifth and sixth clubs, respectively.

Valour appointed Rob Gale as its first head coach on June 26. Former Canadian men’s national team head coach and Haligonian Stephen Hart joined HFX two days later.

July 2018

With July came the seventh and final club of the inaugural CPL season: Forge FC.

Ownership introduced the club during a sprawling press conference at Tim Hortons Field.

FC Edmonton and York9 appointed head coaches in July, signing Jeff Paulus and Jimmy Brennan, respectively.

August 2018

Bunbury
Open Trials Lead Coach Alex Bunbury. (CPL)

Pacific FC became the sixth club to name a manager and the first to appoint someone outside of Canada.

Michael Silberbauer, a former Danish international, was unveiled on Aug. 20.

The Canadian Premier League announced the #GotGame Open Trials in August, a series of nationwide trials, with stops in Halifax, Quebec, Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Alberta and Victoria.

September 2018

  • Sept. 4: Merriman joins Pacific as assistant coach
  • Sept. 6Bender named Pacific EVP
  • Sept. 18Nash, Santiago join Cavalry staff
  • Sept. 20-21: Open Trials in Halifax
  • Sept. 21: CSB acquires Stadium Digital
  • Sept. 27-28: Open Trials in Montreal
  • Sept. 28: Macron named official kit provider
Trialist jumping
CPL Open Trials hit Halifax. (CPL)

Clubs started to flesh out their staff in September; James Merriman and Josh Bender set up shop on Vancouver Island and Martin Nash and Jordan Santiago did the same in Calgary.

Out east, the first #GotGame Open Trials began in Halifax, with former Canadian international Alex Bunbury leading the talent search. Bunbury and co. set up shop in Montreal a week later for the second Open Trials session.

In one of its biggest announcements to date, CPL officials revealed an agreement with Macron on Sept. 28, making the Italian apparel company the league’s official jersey supplier.

October 2018

Silberbauer Main
CPL coaches during the Open Trials in Toronto. (CPL)

The #GotGame Open Trials continued east in October, hosting trialists in Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary.

Forge FC named Bobby Smyrniotis as its first head coach the day the Trials opened at Tim Hortons Field. Smyrniotis became the seventh and final head coach named by a CPL club.

On Oct. 17, the CPL announced a partnership with U SPORTS, the body overseeing Canadian university sports, and the creation of the CPL-U SPORTS Draft.

November 2018

Feature photo reveal
The Canadian Premier League’s first player signings. (CPL)

November saw CPL clubs answer a much-asked question: When will clubs add their first players?

Results from the CPL-U SPORTS Draft were announced on Nov. 13. Cavalry FC selected 2nd-year Carleton striker Gabriel Bitar first overall.

The #GotGame Open Trials wrapped up following the final stop in Victoria.

On Nov. 29, CPL clubs unveiled their first players a series of announcements that paved the way for roster building to be front and centre come January 2019.


Larson: Transformative year in Canadian soccer paves way for even bigger 2019