Pacific FC become first CPL club to surpass U-21 domestic player 2,000 minute threshold

Pacific FC became the first CPL club to surpass the U-21 domestic player 2,000 minute threshold during the 2024 CPL regular season. 

Since the inception of the Canadian Premier League, clubs have been required to surpass a U-21 domestic player minutes threshold throughout the regular season in order to qualify for playoffs. It encourages young talented players to get opportunities to play at the professional level they might not otherwise get in other leagues. These players develop into the backbone of CPL teams, maturing into crucial players such as Forge FC’s Kwasi Poku, York United’s Max Ferrari and Pacific FC’s Sean Young. 

Pacific FC have prided itself on giving ample opportunity to U-21 players who have proven themselves with the club. This season three Tridents have carried the load in helping Pacific FC eclipse the 2,000 minute mark. 

Eric Lajunesse, 21, was the sixth overall pick in the 2023 CPL-U SPORTS Draft and immediately cracked the lineup playing 522 minutes for the Tridents last season. Lajeunesse rejoined the Tridents following the conclusion of the UBC Thunderbirds season this spring. To begin the season, Lajeunesse has started nine matches and led the Tridents with 928 U-21 minutes. Quickly adapting himself to the CPL level, Lajeunesse has become a staple on Pacific FC’s backline opposite Kunle Dada-Luke. 

Emil Gazdov, 20, has blossomed into the starting goalkeeper for the Tridents, currently leading the CPL with four clean sheets. One of the team’s top prospects for higher leagues, Gazdov is a critical reason the team has given up a league-low eight goals across 11 matches. The young keeper has been the clubs preferred option in net when healthy, recording seven starts and playing a total of 646 minutes this season. 

Paul Amedume, 21, originally joined the club as a 18-year-old, building his skillset before becoming a formidable piece of the Tridents backline. Often the first option of the bench, Amedume will have the opportunity to establish himself in the starting lineup as injuries have hampered Pacific FC defenders this season. With 377 minutes this season Amedume is already over the halfway mark from his previous season total. 

With a clear emphasis on youth development at Pacific FC it provides encouragement to Van Isle Wave and other young athletes interested in staking their claim in a domestic professional league.