The Halifax Wanderers have selected defender Anthony Stolar (Cape Breton University) and goalkeeper Aiden Rushenas (Dalhousie University) in the 2023 CPL – U SPORTS Draft.
Stolar, 19, was taken with the Wanderers’ first-round selection, third overall, from Cape Breton University. A defender from Mississauga, Ontario, Stolar is capable of playing at either right-back or left-back.
“He checked off all the boxes we were looking for, he’s super competitive, and a player we know can come in and be ready to perform,” Wanderers head coach Patrice Gheisar said.
A regular starter for his League1 Ontario side Scrosoppi FC, Stolar was a part of CBU’s last two AUS championships.
Rushenas, 19, was selected by the Wanderers in the second round of the draft out of Dalhousie University. The goalkeeper from Toronto was named an AUS second-team All-Star in 2022.
“We had him with our keeper coach Jan-Michael Williams last year, and he has massive upside,” Gheisar said. “He has great feet, which suits our style, has great size and agility and in my conversations with him, I was impressed by Aiden’s attitude.”
The product of North Toronto is no stranger to the Wanderers; Rushenas was a part of the 2022 Wanderers U23 squad and trained with the first team throughout the summer.
The selection of Stolar and Rushenas means both players will enter the Wanderers 2023 pre-season on trial with a chance to earn first-team contracts.
Selecting players exclusively from Atlantic University Sport (AUS) was a commitment by the Wanderers entering the draft.
“We see Atlantic University Sport as a terrific development ground for players able to make the step with us into the CPL, as we’ve proven in the past with Christian Oxner (Saint Mary’s), Peter Schaale (Cape Breton) and Cory Bent (Cape Breton). It’s the most immediate opportunity to impact the first team with players developed in our region,” Wanderers Sporting Director Matt Fegan said.
“By focusing our draft strategy on local, our hope is AUS coaches can continue to attract and develop even more high calibre young talent from our region and beyond, knowing the nearest professional club is willing to give the best crop of players a chance to make that next step up in their careers each year. This is one way we feel we can collaborate and grow the game in Atlantic Canada, as we always want to have local connections within our club.”