CPL teams, including Pacific FC, to hold open tryouts

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The Canadian Premier League is holding open tryouts for any players 16-and-over across the country who believe they can play professionally.

The Island auditions are Nov. 5-6 at a park to be determined. The other trials will be held Sept. 20-21 in Halifax, Sept. 27-28 in Montreal, Oct. 1-2 in Hamilton, Oct. 11-12 in Toronto, Oct. 18-19 in Winnipeg and Oct. 25-26 in Calgary.

“Let’s see what we have out there in the way of talent,” said Josh Simpson, president of FC Pacific, a charter CPL franchise, which will begin play in the inaugural season next spring at a revamped Westhills Stadium in Langford.

The CPL says it has already scouted every Canadian playing pro soccer in North America and overseas. Player distribution or draft plans have yet to be finalized.

“It is quite an in-depth list the league has put together,” said Simpson, the Juan de Fuca product, who went on to earn 43 caps for Canada and play pro in Europe.

“Also, [Pacific FC assistant coach James Merriman] has a very good idea of the B.C. talent available.”

Naniamo’s Merriman spent the past seven years coaching in the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps residency development system, including helping bring along Alphonso Davies, who recently signed with Bayern Munich.

“The tryouts are just the cream on the top,” said Simpson, of any hidden gems that may have been overlooked.

“But you never know.”

The cost to tryout is $200, which the league says will take care of administrative costs, such as a performance evaluation summary including fitness test results, lunch, refreshments, CPL training shirt, bag and armband and medical support.

Not to mention the chance to at least know if that pro dream was realistic or not.

Alex Bunbury, capped 66 times for Canada, will conduct all the trials across the country.

“There’s a lot of good players [in Canada] that very often have not been given the opportunity,” James Easton, vice-president of soccer operations for the CPL, told the Canadian Press.

“We want to make sure that we’re looking far and wide, in all the nooks and crannies, and giving opportunities to players who think they can be professionals. So we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Sometimes you’re only given one opportunity and it’s up to you to make the most of that opportunity.”

Registration is required in advance at canpl.ca/gotgame.

— With files from Canadian Press

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