TORONTO – Dreams just keep coming true for Daniel Gogarty.
Last November, the York University defender was selected fourth overall in the Canadian Premier League’s U Sports draft by York 9 FC, his hometown club.
Then another dream came to fruition on Monday when Gogarty officially signed with York 9, thus taking another big step towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional soccer player.
“It was surreal. To be doing something you always wanted to while growing up, but to be drafted by your hometown cub and playing at home, it’s unreal. It’s a dream come true,” Gogarty told Sportsnet after being drafted.
Lots of the talk surrounding the CPL, a new league with seven teams from coast-to-coast that will kick off its inaugural season in April, has been about the standard of play and its overall quality. Comparisons to MLS are inevitable.
Gogarty, 22, is pretty confident that the CPL will hit the ground running from Day 1.
“It’s going to be high-quality professional football from the jump, right from the start. It’ll be top quality football in Canada. Some players are already coming from abroad, some have played in Canada before, so it’s going to be the cream of the crop of young players in this country,” Gogarty said.
A business economics major, Gogarty is a six-foot-two centre back who made 68 appearances over five seasons for York University where he played a key role in helping the Lions win the U SPORTS championship in 2015.
Now he’s ready to make the transition to the pro ranks with York 9, who will play its home games in the CPL on the campus of York University. He hopes young players coming up behind him will follow the path he has taken.
“When you’re a kid in Canada and you’re thinking about playing soccer professionally, you have to go to the NCAA, or MLS, or an academy overseas. That’s what we used to have to do. Now kids can go to Canadian university, be drafted by a CPL team and play in Canada. I think it’ll keep more Canadian talent in the country,” Gogarty opined.
What might also keep Canadian players in the country are the CPL’s aggressive roster rules, designed to give opportunities and developed Canadians.
CPL commissioner David Clanachan recently confirmed in an interview with Sportsnet that each team must field six Canadian players at the start of every match. Rosters will be made up of at least 50 per cent Canadians (plus one), and teams will be limited to seven international players. Another rule mandates that a minimum of three domestic players on each team must be under the age of 21 AND those players must combine to play a minimum of 1,000 minutes per season.
As such, one of the CPL’s long-term goals is to eventually feed players into the Canadian national team and current coach John Herdman, who has voiced his overwhelming public support of the new domestic league.
“To have someone like [Herdman], who is so interested in the soccer being played in Canada, it’s going to be amazing for young kids who will try to get into the national team. They have a hope of eventually playing for a coach who’s watching them,” Gogarty offered.
Soon, Gogarty will be trekking all across Canada with his teammates during a 28-game CPL season. What road trip is he most excited about?
“Vancouver Island [vs. Pacific FC]. It looks beautiful. I was there for the  U Sports championships, but I didn’t get a chance to explore the area as much as I wanted to, so I’m looking forward to going back,” Gogarty said.