The Canadian Premier League (CPL) held their CPL-U SPORTS draft on Friday January 29th. The CPL Wooden Spoon winner (slang for team that finished last in the previous season) is awarded the first overall pick in the draft. With that choice, FC Edmonton selected Thomas Gardner. Draft picks snaked for the second and final round, meaning they went in reverse order of the first round. With the 16th and final pick of the draft, your Eddies drafted Jackson Farmer.
Per the league write-up on the first round selection:
“Gardner, a 22-year-old native of North Vancouver, B.C., is no stranger to the draft, as this year marked the third time he’s been selected during the annual event. In 2018, Gardner was picked sixth overall by Pacific FC, but he sustained a knee injury shortly after being drafted that ruled him out for several months, and he didn’t end up signing with the West Coast club. Gardner went back to UBC and was drafted a second time by Pacific in 2019, going 12th overall, but again he didn’t sign with the Tridents due to the ongoing global pandemic…
“I see value in him, and I think that’s the most important part of this; as a club we see value in him. I worked with him when he was younger, I gave him his professional debut in the USL,” Koch said.”
From the UBC Thunderbirds release on what was a very successful day for their University:
“I’m really happy for Tommy to get this opportunity again,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher of the 2018 U SPORTS Rookie of the Year. “Tommy’s a good player, flat out. He was a good player when he came to us in that first year, unfortunately through injury and whatnot, things just didn’t evolve for him. He knows Alan from previous time together and I know Tommy’s really excited for this opportunity to go and play and again experience that next level of play,….”
Transcribed from a CPL video interview, here are comments from Coach Koch on Farmer:
“I also worked with him before. He had a very very good start as a young player in the professional game. I’ll call it what it is, he kind of hit a little bit of a ceiling and now the hope is we are going to give him an opportunity to show what he can do now and hopefully get him going again. A lot of familiarity…we knew we wanted another centre back and that is why we picked Jackson.”
Going back to the previously mentioned UBC Thunderbirds article, here is the comment on Farmer:
“…the T-Bird defender was selected by his hometown CPL club.
Farmer was a stalwart for the ‘Birds in his first season with the blue and gold, scoring three goals and adding an assist in addition to his stellar defensive play. He was named both a first team Canada West All-Star and a first team All-Canadian for the 2019 season.”
As in every league, being drafted is not a guarantee of a roster spot. Gardner and Farmer have earned their right to hear their name called, now we as fans look forward to watching them earn their spot on the pitch at Clarke Stadium.
Welcome to Edmonton Thomas and Jackson, we hope you stay a while.