As the Canadian Premier League prepares to enter its third season, perhaps no team has shaken things up quite as much as York United. In many ways, it feels a bit like an expansion side, with a new name, new look and new colours. Following two disappointing seasons where the club failed to deliver on its lofty expectations, it was time to change something up.
The man primarily responsible for this transition is Angus McNab, President, GM and CEO of the club. McNab took over at York early last year, and brought with him a multitude of experience in sports management which spanned the fields of analytics, marketing, broadcasting, communications and business. He’s truly a modern soccer renaissance man.
Not only will York have a new look aesthetically going into 2021, but McNab switched things up on the footballing side as well, with only nine returning players from last seasons’ roster.
York added league veterans like Noah Verhoeven and Dominick Zator, but also went deep into the South American pipeline to find a multitude of new attacking options. In a league where frugality and youth involvement rule the day, it was important to find young players in search of a new opportunity with lofty ambitions. In the present, there’s no secret that the CPL is a developmental league for many players, and York appears to be embracing that ethos.
When supporters do return, York United is aiming to look different on the match experience side as well. After struggling to draw fans in year one, McNab has vowed to offer a more diverse and interactive experience for soccer fans in the Toronto area. It’s a very competitive market in terms of entertainment dollars, and even something as simple as selling the right craft beer, or re-orientating the position of the supporters section, can make a big difference.
If everything goes to plan, the Canadian Premier league will be kicking off in late May, and York United should be poised for a successful season. With their full roster intact already, and training camps set to start in early March, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see York United in action for the first time in their new colours.
Over the course of an hour, myself and Alexandre Gangue-Ruzic of Between the Sticks had a wide-ranging conversation with the GM, President and CEO. If you’re passionate about the CPL, or even just soccer in Canada more generally, it’s definitely worth a listen. In addition to discussing the topics above, McNab provided some valuable insights on the recruitment process behind some of the newest additions to the squad, as well as what he thinks the future of sports analytics might look like. A big thanks to Angus for coming on the show!