From U-Sports to CPL: Three Young Canadians to look out for.


OPSM first started locally in Ottawa from a simple idea to help more players along their respective paths to the next stage of their career, whether that was reaching the academy level, college, or professional, OPSM is continually proud to represent Canadian players all the while assisting in the goal to grow the sport in the country.


Not many programs or initiatives have helped this development quite like the partnership between U-Sports and the Canadian Premier League (CPL) that has seen many young star players on the collegiate scene in Canada move into a professional setting thanks to the pathway that’s been well-constructed by the two parties.


The CPL Draft is a key pathway in which players are brought up to the professional ranks in Canada. The draft consists of two rounds and clubs can choose all eligible players – who declared for the draft – from U-Sports Programs. 



Amadou Kone of Carleton University is one of these top players that was drafted and signed to a U-Sports contract. Kone was selected in the second-round of the 2024 USports Draft by Forge FC. The 18-year-old from Ontario had a short-term deal prior to college with Forge FC, but then decided to attend Carleton where he made 12 appearances in the 2023 season.


Kone is filled with potential and has set himself on the right path towards a professional career.

“Our whole Carleton Ravens family is extremely proud of Amadou,” said Carleton’s Head Coach, Plada, “He is being rewarded for all the work he does behind the scenes. His dedication to his craft is first-class and we are all excited to see how far he can take this journey. He still has a long way to go, but if he continues to balance the physical and mental performance aspects the sport requires, while sustaining his educational needs, he will definitely put himself in a position to succeed not only professionally but personally as well.”


Similarly, Jason Hartill and Max Pipegrass of Max Pipegrass of Cape Breton University have also used the U-Sports Program to land CPL contracts in an aim to continue to foster their playing career and education.  


Cape Breton’s Head Coach, Deano Morley, has been with the program since 2004, first as a player then as Coach. Morley has seen many talents come and go, led his team to the number one ranking in Canada, and held many other prestigious accolades. Morley is amazed and grateful to see the growth of how Cape Breton can provide a pre-professional experience while maintaining the core element of it all: education.




“Exceedingly proud. I hope it speaks hard to the foundation that we give and provide them at our proform here. We have lads that have gone on to play professionally at leagues around the world and lads that are playing professional years after. More importantly doing it with their degree that’s what I want to see. It’s always education first. This pathway between the cpl and usports to provide this experience while studying is outstanding and such an outstanding achievement for the cpl and game of football in canada,” stated Morley.


Morley is correct. Education is the key element in it all.


Education in the classroom and coming out of school with a degree will hold great value in their future beyond soccer. Education on the pitch will help churn them into top professional players with experience needed to garner a contract.




Hartill, a second round pick in the 2024 CPL Draft at only 19-years-old, provides great technical ability on the ball and brings a relentless energy to win it back when off the ball. 


His teammate, Max Pipegrass, signed a U-Sports Contract with Cavalry FC. The 2004 born midfielder spent his youth career playing for the Calgary Foothills in addition to having prior experience training with the Calvary first team.


Morley spoke to the talent levels of his players, saying, “Both are very technical, have a good work ethic, don’t fall short to distractions that many young men fall trap to. They’re both very good in time management, have great habits and attitudes, and have the pedigree to become very good professional players in the CPL. Having this experience young will only benefit them in the long-term.”


Kone, Hartill, and Piepgrass are three prime examples of how the CPL is leveling up their game by allocating roster spots to players who don’t want to just yet forgeo their ability to play collegiately. For players, it’s a great opportunity to get an early start in the professional game whilst not riding them to their collegiate ability. For clubs, it’s a great opportunity for them to help the future talents of Canada in adjusting to the professional game. It’s a pathway that did not previously exist, and provides young players with more opportunities to reach the professional level.


“I think the U-Sports university system and high level NCAA systems have prepared players well because of the pressure of time management. You really have to manage your time and decision making very well, so you have to have a high level of discipline to commit to study and play at a very competitive level, managing your bodies, nutrition, sleep and football development. When you’re coming out of a development fostering all of those things in you it prepares you well for the next level also in your top U-Sports programs you seeing competition for places and standard of football getting higher,” stated Morley.


What is important is the fact that young Canadian players are getting a once in a lifetime chance in a fantastic system with world-class players, coaches, and mentors by their side. All the while, they still have the opportunity to continue to pursue a fantastic education. It’s a win-win for all parties involved. 


We are extremely excited to work with and watch the success that Piepgrass, Kone, and Hartill have had in the classroom, and now on the pitch at the professional level.