April 13th is rapidly approaching, the most important date of the year for all Canadian Premier League (CPL) fans who have waited so long for the start of the Canadian soccer league. As the most successful team in CPL history, Forge FC will be looking to defend their title yet again. Now is the perfect time to look back at the stars and best performers Canada has seen since the league’s creation in 2019. 

Given the brief history of the CPL and the disruption of the league by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a limited timeframe to identify an All-Star team; nonetheless, here are the best performers of the competition this far along with insights on how they arrived at the top. 

Terran Campbell

At only twenty-five years old, Terran Campbell has become the league’s all-time top scorer. He signed with Pacific FC in the first year of the CPL (2019) and hit double digits with eleven goals in 29 games. 

Born and raised in Canada, Campbell made his way through different academies, eventually finding his way with the Whitecaps FC 2. There, he made his debut and received his initial call-up to the first team from the academy. 

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At only sixteen years old, he signed a contract with the Whitecaps and scored his first goal two years later (in 2017).

Until then, Campbell appeared to be just another player. His transformation into a star kicked off in 2019 when he joined Pacific FC, which recruited him to prepare their squad for the inaugural season of our beloved CPL. As he hit double digits right away, it begs the question: What’s the secret to his success?

“I tell people that I’m a #9 who likes to combine, hold up the ball for the team, be very reliable, I’m pretty good at that, I like that a lot,” 

“Making runs in behind, even if it’s not just for myself, I think that can drag defenders and open up space for my teammates, so those are probably my two best strengths.” 

Source: ‘I want to score more’: After breakout 2019 season, Pacific FC’s Terran Campbell looking for 2020 encore | The Third Sub

Much of Campbell’s success and development in 2019 can be attributed to Marcus Haber, his teammate for that singular season. Being more experienced, he helped Campbell grow when he switched between the winger and striker roles. 

Despite suffering from injuries, Haber formed a great partnership with Campbell up front. Campbell eventually mentioned Haber’s absence as a major reason for his evolution into a #9 and the everlasting impact it had on the best player in the history of the CPL, who not only boasts the most goals (39) but also the most appearances (125). 

Like most, Terran did not have a great 2020 due to the pandemic – which saw his goal tally dip to one. However, this was far from a big issue as he spent another fruitful season with Pacific FC, once again hitting double digits. 

In 2022, Pacific FC announced that Campbell would not continue at the club, having been lured in by Forge FC – and until this day, Terran is enjoying life with similar output levels.

Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson

While most would expect forwards to bang goals and perhaps a predominance of Canadian players, the Canadian Premier League can boast about diversity. 

Interestingly, the second top scorer in the CPL’s history is not a forward. Nonetheless, Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson has proven essential to Forge FC’s success, who recruited him in Sweden back in 2019.

Starting as a midfielder, the Swede has been everywhere across the pitch. Often helping his teammates in the attack, he has become an invaluable asset for Forge through consistent play.

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While this alone would make for a great story, Achinioti-Jönsson is also a versatile player. When injuries plagued Forge’s squad, the Swede was pushed back to the backline due to a lack of players in the defence. 

Not only did he defend well, but he adapted so well that he was undoubtedly one of the standout performers in the league that season. Changing positions and becoming an even better player is not for everyone, but for Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson, that was never a problem.

Read more: Forge FC: Building a Dynasty in the Canadian Premier League

In January, Forge FC announced Achinioti-Jönsson’s contract extension – and truth be told, few players deserve it more than him.

Triston Henry

It might appear we’re spotlighting Forge FC players repetitively – but Forge has undeniably been the dominant force since the CPL’s inception in 2019. 

In the CPL’s brief history, one individual stands out in the Hall Of Fame – and he is not even an outfield player. His name? Triston Henry.

At his age (30), Henry is at the prime of his career which is evident through his excellent performances. Like Campbell, Henry was born and raised in Canada and flourished through the nation’s academy system. 

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In college, he joined the teams in the prestigious college soccer tournaments in the U.S., which were much more developed than Canada’s at the time. Thanks to his agility as a goalkeeper, he rose through the ranks until he started his professional career with Toronto Lynx, marking his return to Canadian soccer.

As he moved to Sigma the following season – in 2019 – it was yet again Forge FC’s sharp scouting eyes that led Henry to sign a contract with the Hamilton-based team.

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Since the creation of the CPL, Triston has kept more clean sheets than anyone. He has also clinched the Golden Glove award multiple times, awarded to the best goalkeepers of the tournament, and in 2023, he was included in the CPL’s best XI of the season. 

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