Why Julian Ryerson caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund

Across the 2021-22 campaign, Julian Ryerson struggled for minutes in a competitive Union Berlin side loaded with wing-backs. But this season, he's become the starlet of the side from the wings, fulfilling his wing-back role to great effect from either side. His form in 2022-23 caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund, who snapped him up for a meek €5 million fee. Here is our analysis as to why the Black & Yellows made a move for Julian Ryerson, and what he will bring to Signal Iduna Park.

Explaining the Target – Player Role Analysis

Historically known as the 'Target Man', we've rebranded this term to be all encompassing. More than just about any role, the word 'Target' immediately paints a picture of the type of player we're looking for. That is, someone strong, typically tall, aerially savvy, robust, and frequently used by their team as a target for advancing up the pitch. In the hockey sense, they would typically be the one responsible for 'roughing up the opposition'

Explaining the Creative Link – Player Role Analysis

Creative Links are quite similar to our attacking midfielder persona - the 'Creative Ten'. The main difference is that they play up front, and typically conduct more of their play with their back to goal in linking up with their teammates. You could call them a 'False 9', a playmaking centre-forward, or something between a '9' and a '10.'

Explaining the Channel Runner – Player Role Analysis

Channel Runners are one of our most unique prototypes, based off the common phrase used for strikers that "run the channels". They typically exist in a front-two, and in teams that intermix moments of counter-attacking football with quick and incisive long passes over the top. The use of a striker in this manner remains a more common approach to life in the women's game, as strikers across all realms are becoming more versatile (and advised for that matter) in dropping into build-up play to receive the ball.

Explaining the Direct Goal-Scorer – Player Role Analysis

When on their day, 'Direct Goal-Scorers' can be some of the most entertaining footballers to watch, with a sense of raw intensity beating inside their heart every step of the way. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has shown everyone exactly that this season at Serie A leaders Napoli, but the likes of Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry have demonstrated their goal-scoring exploits for years.

Canadian Premier League Scouting Database – Attacking Midfielders

We tracked every single CPL game over the course of the season to come up with our unique rating system. We compile that information alongside each player's defensive, attacking and possession rankings. We present the players that are more than ready for that next step, whether that be playing in the MLS or somewhere in Europe. If rumours have it, Marco Bustos may already be on his way. Here is our analysis of the best '10's' in the CANPL.

Replacing Alejandro Diaz at Pacific FC

Following the loss of eventual CPL Golden Boot winner Alejandro Diaz, Pacific FC immediately went from title contenders to top four contenders, scraping into the playoffs with a fourth-place finish come the end of the season. The repeated line as the likes of myself and CPL.ca wrote about Pacific became all about how things could have been very different for Pacific in front of goal had they only had that missing link. Diaz was everything to the Pacific attack, acting as both a 'False 9' capable of dropping deep and receiving the ball, and somehow even fulfilling duties as an occasional 'Target Man' despite his 5'10 height. He linked up with Marco Bustos and Manny Aparicio magnificently well as the three of them dovetailed around each other, and his desire to drop deep often allowed Joshua Heard to run into the vacated space behind. Pacific signed Electric City striker Jordan Brown to try and make up for the loss, but it was clear that Brown was a far less dynamic player, and far less clinical in front of goal. With that, we analyze the essential characteristics in need of replacing when it comes to Diaz and his game, and four possible replacements from around the globe.

Canadian Premier League Scouting Database – Central Midfielders

After this long-haul search of central midfielders in the CPL, four key figures stand out as being above the level of the league. Ollie Bassett is perhaps the most obvious to catch the eye when you watch him play, and his defensive awareness does not necessarily manifest in crunching into tackles and accumulating positive defensive stats like some of his peers. Here is our analysis of central midfielders inside the Canadian Premier League.

Canadian Premier League Scouting Database – Defensive Midfielders

When asking the question of what player to sign, it's important to examine the most relevant information for your context. If you desire to find a true '6' who can hold down the midfield and play as a lone wolf - anchoring all on their own, Andre Rampersad might be your best bet. If looking for someone slightly more savvy in possession, Alessandro Hojabrpour is worth the swing. If you're looking for someone to play in a double pivot and dynamically venture box to box, Diego Gutiérrez is one of the best that the CANPL has to offer. Here is our analysis of the best defensive midfielders in the CPL.

Canadian Premier League Scouting Database – Centre-Backs

All eight of our centre-backs are fairly similar in their approach, each standing out both in and out of possession. They could each hold their own in a high-possession system, and would likely continue to excel if put under the pressure of greater defensive responsibilities. But they also each have their own unique attributes that may work better in some contexts over others.

Explaining the Dynamic Dribbler – Player Role Analysis

Throughout this series, we've endeavoured to avoid player types signified by a single set of actions and statistics. The 'Dynamic Dribbler' is one of the rare exceptions, as the art of 'dribbling' is an essential way for wingers to enact magic on the pitch, and become the magic wand sorcerers that we all know they can be. Here is our analysis of the 'Dynamic Dribbler', and their importance on the pitch.

Stephen Hart – Halifax Wanderers FC – Tactical Analysis

On October 13, 2022, Halifax Wanderers officially parted ways with Halifax Wanderers boss Stephen Hart. The former Trinidad & Tobago coach had been in charge since the Wanderers' inception in 2018, and won the Coach of the Year award for his efforts in 2020. But life inside the Canadian Premier League did not go as smoothly as planned in 2022, with the Wanderers stumbling down to a 7th place finish (in an 8 team league), as Hart's time at the club inevitably coming to an end. So with that, we examine Hart's tactics in his final season with the Wanderers, and how to fix the club moving forward!

Canadian Premier League Scouting Database – Right-Backs

While it's abundantly important to focus on the growth of our own nation in the beautiful game, it's also abundantly clear that one of the primary aims of the CPL is to develop talent that can be sold to other leagues in the world. In some ways, this is a sad reality as some of our very best players leave early on in the season for pastures new, in some cases only to sit on the bench! But in other ways, it allows our league to gain recognition in the world market, and has the potential to allow Canadian soccer players to take their development to the next level for higher profile teams. Today we break into the first of this long-haul series, studying the very best right-backs in the Canadian Premier League. Here is our analysis.