Three Canadian teams took a total of eight players in the 2002 A-League draft.
The Vancouver Whitecaps
took three players from British Columbia, filling out the roster that new head coach Tony Fonseca inherits.
Fonseca was promoted this week, having been assistant to Dale Mitchell who left to take the reins of the Canadian under-20 team.
And he will have cover in defence, midfield and the forward line after the Whitecaps selected the trio in the draft.
Andrew Veer of Coquitlam can play in midfield or attack, Tyler Hughes of Victoria is a defender while Nico Craveiro – cousin of the Whitecaps’ Chris Craveiro – is another Victoria native who plays in midfield.
Veer was a four-year starter at Simon Fraser, claiming 23 goals and 20 assists in 72 career games to post the best figures at the university since 1986. He represented Canada at the Francophone Games in Ottawa-Hull last year and played for the Canada West U-18 team under Tom McManus, who was recruited to the Whitecaps this week.
Hughes was another member of the Francophone Games squad, and was honoured with four selections to the First Team All-Conference in the Big South Conference. He rounded off his college career by being named tournament MVP in the Big South Conference.
Craveiro, 23, was named a 2001 Canada West All-Star a year after being a CIAU All Canadian with the University of Victoria team.
The Whitecaps are set to go into the new season with a similar squad to 2001, but will need to decide on a first-choice goalkeeper after the retirement of Didar Sandhu and Lars Hirschfeld’s return to the Calgary Storm.
The Montreal Impact
secured Rob Defaveri and Steve Arce of Ontario, and Quebec native Éric Manfoumbi.
Their first choice, and seventh overall, was Toronto’s Defarvi who is the Fairfield University Stags’ all-time leading scorer and a Canadian under-20 international midfielder.
Fellow midfielder Arce played for Michigan State University, while Manfoumbi spent last season as a defenseman for the Boston University Terriers, having previously won two Quebec Elite Soccer League titles with FC Sélect Rive-Sud.
New Impact head coach Bob Lilley told Quebecsoccer.com: “All these players are very good college players, but they'll have to prove themselves, as well as the veterans, once training camp starts.”
The Toronto Lynx
passed on its territorial pick, and traded its first open pick for future considerations, but took two players in later rounds.
Defender Matt Rosenfeld of St. Francis University was the Lynx’s first choice, with goalkeeper James Kryger of Cleveland State University second.
Rosenfeld spent the past two seasons with the Thunder Bay Chill of the PDL, while Kryger is a 6-4 goalkeeper who has European experience as a backup with Ipswich Town in England.
The Lynx have bolstered their defensive ranks by re-signing two experienced players.
Mauricio Vincello, the 2001 Lynx Defender of the Year, will be returning while Milan Kojic will suit up for the Lynx in 2002 having spent last year with the Impact.
Head coach/General Manager Peter Pinizzotto called Vincello “our most consistent player last season,” and added: “He is a team player who is one of the strongest defenders in the A-League.”
Another player to re-sign with Toronto is midfielder David DiPlacido, the 2001 Fan Favourite who is second on the club’s all-time list in games played.