July 1st Edition

Canada advance to Copa knockouts, Koné and Bombito to France, and Olivia Smith to Liverpool

To all our readers, Happy Canada Day!


🇨🇦 Canada advance to the knockout round at Copa América

Photo: Canada Soccer

Mission accomplished.

Canada set out to make history at the 2024 Copa América and they have done that in a big way this past week. Picking up their first dub at the tournament against Peru, before advancing to the knockout rounds with a draw against Chile in their matchday finale.

Despite scoring just one goal in three group-stage matches, Canada are off to the quarter-finals on the back of an outstanding defensive performance. Max Crépeau, plus the Canada backline of Alistair Johnston, Moïse Bombito, Derek Cornelius and Alphonso Davies have all been excellent.

On Tuesday, the heat of Kansas was no match for the Iceman, as Jonathan David scored Canada’s first Copa América goal in a 1-0 victory against ten-man Peru.

Then, after Chile saw also saw red on Saturday in Orlando, Canada played to a 0-0 draw that was enough to see them finish second in the group to Argentina.

It wasn’t always the prettiest ball from Les Rouges, but the fact that they are getting big results under pressure this early in the Jesse Marsch era can only be seen as a positive.

Canada now play Venezuela on Friday in Arlington, Texas in the quarter-finals. La Vinotino claimed top spot in Group B on Sunday after a 3-0 dismantling of Jamaica. The chance for Canada to make even more history is now on offer, and this group will go into the knockouts with the confidence that they can hang with anyone in this tournament.


🇫🇷 Ismaël Koné and Moïse Bombito are headed to France

Graphic: One Soccer

Two Montrealers are moving to French clubs. Ismaël Koné has earned a move from Watford to Marseille, and Moïse Bombito has agreed to personal terms with Lyon.

C’est pas la capitale, c’est Marseille baby. Koné has completed the transfer to Olympique de Marseille after the Ligue1 club agreed to a €12 million fee. The 21-year-old midfielder has started every game for the CanMNT under Jesse Marsch and has impressed since then.

While at Watford, the Montreal midfielder has featured 42 times for the Hornets and registered four goals and three assists.

Roberto De Zerbi will do wonders. The former Brighton coach has a reputation for building both clubs and players. Take note of the number of players Brighton has lost to bigger clubs. Alexis Mac Allister is a prime example. Under De Zerbi, Koné has the potential to flourish and continue to impress for both club and country—a big move.

Another former CS Saint-Laurent baller is moving to France. Moïse Bombito has reportedly agreed to personal terms with Olympique Lyon, but Colorado Rapids have rejected OL’s first bid of $4 million USD.

Moïse Bombito has other options. Brazilian club Botafogo has been named as another option for the 24-year-old defender. It's an exciting move, as Brazil has the top league in South America. It would be exciting to develop a player with Brazilian flair. Moreover, there is an established scouting network in Brazil.

It all comes down to Colorado Rapids. The MLS outfit will weigh its options and assess which move works best for the club. As Bombito has agreed to terms with Lyon, the Rapids will aim to extract as much juice as possible from this lemon.

CS Saint-Laurent must be proud. This week, five players from that club earned upward moves: Ismaël Koné earned a move to Marseille, Bombito potentially moved to Lyon, and three of their players moved to the CPL. This is a testament to the talent pool that exists in Quebec. Moreover, Saint-Laurent has positioned itself as a destination for young players who aspire to go pro.


🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Olivia Smith, YNWA

Photo: Canada Soccer

In a week of history-making for the program, a member of the women’s national team is nearing a historic move of her own.

Multiple news outlets in England, including the BBC, are reporting that Liverpool are willing to break their club record transfer fee in order to pay the release clause — estimated to be around $366,450 — for 19-year-old Canadian Olivia Smith.

Smith is coming off an outstanding season in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon—her first in Europe—where she was named both the league’s Best Player and Best Young Player. She had 13 goals in 18 matches in the Portuguese League this season.

Liverpool, meanwhile, finished fourth in the FA WSL last season, and will be looking to push even higher next season as they fight for a spot among England’s best.

This will be a big week for Smith in general, however, as Canada names their 18-player squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Will Smith be on the plane? Regardless, this would be an exciting move for the 19-year-old.

Canucks Abroad

🌍 Canucks Abroad

Photo: Bristol City

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Jamie Knight-Lebel also on the move. Bristol City have sent the 19-year-old Montréal-born centre-back out on loan to League Two side Crewe Alexandra. The move was announced on Monday with the U20 defender joining the Railwaymen on a season-long deal. JKL has four caps for Canada’s U20s.

🇷🇸 Milan Borjan departs Red Star. Borjan and Crvena zvezda agreed to mutual termination, after seven long years with the Serbian champions. The Hamilton native spent this past season on loan with Slovak side Slovan Bratislava. Could a MLS or CPL nightcap on Mr Zombi’s career be up next?

🔴 Isaiah Johnston signs with Loudoun. The former York United midfielder departs Huntsville for the DMV, signing through 2025 with club options for ‘26 and ‘27. The ex-Cape Breton Caper made his USL Championship debut Saturday, entering for former Forge left-back Kwame Awuah.

🔵 Stephen Afrifa keeps on scoring. He just cannot be stopped. Afrifa came off the bench and once again balled out for Sporting KC, netting his third goal in his last four matches with a smart back-door route to goal.

👑 Quinn delivers a late point. Seattle’s midfield engine was given Player of the Match honours in a 1-1 draw against Gotham. On top of a steady defensive performance, the Reign’s #5 lofted a late free-kick off a Gotham head and into the back of the net for the 99th-minute equaliser.

Follow Canucks Abroad on Twitter.

Canucks at Home

🏡 Canucks at Home

Graphic: One Pro Sports Management

🔶 CS Saint-Laurent ballers go pro with Valour FC and Halifax Wanderers. Valour FC have announced the signing of two Ligue 1 Quebec players: Loïc Kwemi and Safwane Mlah. Meanwhile, Halifax Wanderers have announced the signing of Canadian U21 Jefferson Alphonse for the rest of 2024, with options for 2025 and 2026. Three CS Saint-Laurent players have become pro players through the CPL. CS Saint-Laurent’s performance in Ligue 1 and the CanChamp have put their players on the radar. Canadian football is on the rise.

🌊 Halifax Tides FC announce their front office team. The latest NSL club has hired its CEO, President, and Sporting Director. Courtney Sherlock was named CEO, Val Malone is now president, and Amit Batra has been selected as Sporting Director. Their profiles can be found here.

🔱 Pacific first to the 2,000 U21 minutes mark. Two games short of the halfway mark, the Tridents become the first club to meet the requirement this season. James Merriman has been able to count on goalkeeper Emil Gazdov and defenders Eric Lajeunesse and Paul Amedume for much of that total. U21 players continue to make leaps and bounds in the CPL with regular minutes.

Follow Canucks at Home on Twitter.

Other News

📰 In other news this week

cutting lucie safarova GIF by Tennis Channel

Via Giphy

🌱 BC Place to install natural grass. On July 27th, the Vancouver Whitecaps will host AFC Wrexham in a friendly match at BC Place. The Welsh club have requested that the artificial turf be replaced with natural grass, which will be installed on top of the artificial pitch.

🔴 Toronto FC travelled south to the ATL. The game did not start positively for TFC, as Insigne was denied a goal due to offside. Atlanta United scored after exposing TFC’s shocking defence. And then Bernadeschi did what he does best with an equalizer. Things went south at the last minute, as Luka Gavran dropped the ball to set up for a pass. But was quickly taken away by Atlanta’s Jamal Thiare after quietly stalking Gavran. The game ended 2-1 for Atlanta United.

🔵 Josef Martinez is back, baby. On a rainy day, Stade Saputo witnessed Josef Martinez return to the starting lineup against Philadelphia. His impact was immediate. After going down 1-0, Martinez equalized for MTL with a thumping header off a corner kick. Despite not touching the ball on the second goal, Martinez was once again a major influence on that goal. Martinez was subbed off in the 75th minute while the game was 2-2, a bold move but a safe one since he had just returned from injury. Goals from Dominik Iankov and Ruan saw out CFM’s 4-2 win over Philadelphia. 

🌊 Vancouver Whitecaps hosted St Louis in a seven-goal thriller. It was a rough start for Vancouver as they went down 2-0 after 12 minutes, but their attack continued to press, and things started changing. If it’s not Ryan Gauld, it’s going to be Brian White. He decided his back wasn’t doing enough and carried the team with a hattrick performance. Fafa Picault registered a goal to confirm the fourth. Despite St Louis’ last-minute goal in stoppage time, the Caps walked out of BC Place with a 4-3 win.

🌾 Valour hosted York United in a tight game. In the opening 16 minutes, two highly technical shots hit the crossbar. Brian Wright set the tone with a screamer from outside the box that hit the woodwork. The game ended 1-0 for Valour, with Diogo Ressureição scoring a banger from outside the box.

🔱 BC Darby went down at Starlight Stadium. It was a game of thumping headers and a missed penalty. It was not Pacific’s day. PFC opened the game with a goal from Thomas Meilleur-Giguère, but VFC’s Alejandro Diaz equalized in the 40th minute. Vancouver’s Elage Bah broke the equalizer with a banger of a goal in the 81st minute. The game ended 2-1 for the visitors.

🏟️ This was a wild one, a seven-goal thriller between Ottleti and Forge. We won’t cover every moment of the game, but please watch the highlights. Here are a few fun facts from the game: six of the seven goals occurred in the second half. This was the first time Forge lost a CPL game in which they led (they had won 29 and drawn once when they scored three or more goals.). This is the second time Forge has conceded four or more goals, and the most goals Ottawa had ever scored at home.

⚓️ Halifax and Cavalry face off on Canada Day. There’s one more game this week, with the CPL lining up a Canada Day special out east. These two sides will be looking to turn their early season fortunes around, with a new kickoff time of 5pm AT / 2pm MT being set for this one.