VICTORIA — More than 200 Canadian Premier League hopefuls began Monday’s #GotGame Open Trials on Vancouver Island, the final stop of the league’s exhaustive coast-to-coast talent search.
The list has been trimmed ahead of Day 2 in Victoria, with some trialists setting themselves apart after the first set of small-sided games and physical testing.
The league’s coaches selected 57 players to advance to Tuesday’s scrimmages — which will feature 11 vs. 11 games to provide the league’s bench bosses a better opportunity to evaluate players who could receive invites to preseason camps.
The best of the best will appear on the league’s Open Trials Watchlist, which is set to be revealed later this week. In the meantime, here are five players who caught the eyes of CPL coaches on Day 1 in British Columbia.
TRIALIST NO.: 1553
Tetsuya Yoshinaga, 25
SCOUTS SAY: Yoshinaga proved to be a “smart, technical” midfielder on Day 1 of the #GotGame Open Trials on the Island, according to CPL scouts. He was mentioned as being “good” in 1-vs.-1 situations and “quite sharp” compared to those around him. One CPL talent evaluator described Yoshinaga, a Douglas College standout, as having “good awareness” in the middle of the park.
TRIALIST NO.: 1491
Kazuteru Okamoto, 22
SCOUTS SAY: Okamoto showed well as a wide player who can feature on the right or left, according to scouts. He was “very quick and very sharp” throughout Day 1, a scout added. Okamoto was described as having an excellent cross amid providing service throughout the small-sided games. “He can strike a ball,” a CPL talent evaluator said. Okamoto got on the ball during Day 1 and repeatedly demonstrated an ability to drive forward.
TRIALIST NO.: 1404
Matt Eronemo, 28
SCOUTS SAY: One CPL scout appreciated how the former Kitsap Pumas defender “addressed the ball” throughout Day 1 on the Island. He was “vocal, safe and secure,” the scout added — all of the things clubs look for while forming a reliable back line. Eronemo didn’t produce anything special on Day 1, but he went about his business, made good decisions and stood out for his simplicity.
TRIALIST NO.: 1424
Kazushiro Hamaguchi, 26
SCOUTS SAY: One CPL scout described Hamaguchi as “the best player on the pitch” during Day 1. He was described as “vocal” in midfield as he showed confidence in marshalling everyone around him. Hamaguchi’s dynamic movement was noticeable in small-sided games often plagued by stagnation from unsure triallists. Most importantly, CPL talent evaluators said he made “good decisions” throughout the day while playing simple and showcasing his “good feet.” His “awareness” was a level above most triallists here in B.C., a CPL scout added.
TRIALIST NO.: 1568
Daniel Pulido Caravez, 21
SCOUTS SAY: The former Cal Poly standout was described as having “excellent awareness” with and without the ball, while demonstrating “good habits” as a playmaking midfielder. He was “positionally sound,” one CPL scout said, adding Caravez understands how to use the space. Caravez, who also has experience playing in Mexico’s lower divisions, was technically sharp on the day. He offers a “clean strike of the ball,” a CPL talent evaluator added.