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Tryouts continue in Winnipeg as athletes look to make join one of the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural squads.

Open trials in Winnipeg began yesterday, with more than 200 people showing up. Winnipeg is the fourth of seven stops for CPL open tryouts, as coaches look to fill their teams ahead of the league’s first season, in 2019. Spectators can take in a scrimmage this afternoon at Investors Group Field that will close out trials in Winnipeg, running 5:30 to 6:30.

Fans can expect some homegrown talent on teams’ rosters. League commissioner David Clanachan says the CPL is the premier domestic league in Canada, that’s why it was formed.

“We’ve done some very interesting things around the rules and regulations around Canadian content and age and all those kinds of things. In our manifesto we’ve declared it, and we’re going to back up what we say,” said Clanachan at IGF earlier today.

Clanachan says he’s invariably asked in any market he goes to if there will be local talent playing on the team. He says local players won’t be put in a “fully protected” category but there will be “tabbed” players. International players will be signed as well, but Clanachan says they need to build a league with Canadian talent.

“There’s a ten or twelve year old out there who’s the Sidney Crosby of soccer. We don’t know who they are right now, and shame on us if we don’t find them,” said Clanachan.

The final open tryouts will be held November 5th and 6th on Vancouver Island. After that, the league will determine what players go where, for training camps.

Outside of open tryouts, the CPL will also be holding a U SPORTS draft, targeting athletes in the Canadian university system. The partnership between the CPL and U SPORTS will allow student athletes to play for a CPL club under a development contract while preserving their eligibility to play for their school once the CPL season is over. The draft will be held November 12th, 2018 in Vancouver.

In addition to Winnipeg’s Valour FC, the inaugural 2019 season for the Canadian Premier League includes: Pacific FC, Calgary Cavalry, York 9 FC, Edmonton FC, Halifax Wanderers, and Hamilton Forge.

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