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Ontario Soccer has had proven success in developing top level talent, and last week’s 2024 MLS Super Draft was no different. In total there were five Canadians selected, with all having been developed through the Ontario Soccer system.
Dynamic winger Kimani Stewart Baynes (Colorado Rapids) from the University of Maryland, forward Marcus Caldeira (Minnesota United) from West Virginia University, defender Olu Oyegunle (Chicago Fire) from Syracuse University, Malik Henry (CF Montreal) a midfielder from University of Akron, and forward Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau (Vancouver Whitecaps) from St John's University.
“On behalf of Ontario Soccer, a heartfelt congratulations to all those successful players who were recently selected through the MLS Draft. It will be with keen interest that we follow their first steps in their professional careers as they continue to pave the way for other young, aspiring Canadians,” said Matt Ferreira, Ontario Soccer Director of Development. “It is with great pride, through the fantastic work of our membership, that we continue to see players develop in Ontario to meet the demands of professional football.”
Toronto born attacker Kimani Stewart Baynes was initially not projected to be available for selection, but all that changed after Major League Soccer announced the forward had become eligible after signing a Generation Adidas Contract. He ended up being drafted 4th overall, to the Colorado Rapids. Earlier this year the forward got his first taste of the professional environment signing a development deal with the Halifax Wanderers, reuniting with Former Vaughan Azzurri Coach Patrice Gheisar. Stewart Baynes who spent the 2022 Season with Vaughan Azzurri’s U19 side scored 17 goals in 14 appearances.
Selected 20th overall to Minnesota United, forward Marcus Caldeira played for the Sigma FC academy until he was 16 and signed a development contract with Forge FC. Training with the likes Kyle Bekker and Ashtone Morgan, under the watchful eye of Forge head coach and Sigma FC co founder Bobby Smyrniotis.
Olu Oyengunle, a defender from Toronto, ON had also come through the Sigma FC system having played with them since he was 15. He was drafted 35th overall by the Chicago Fire.
CF Montreal selected Malik Henry with the 39th overall pick hoping to strengthen their midfield presence. The Hamiltonian midfielder had previously spent time with the Toronto FC Academy and Hamilton United.
Finally, with the 74th overall pick, the Vancouver Whitecaps selected Ottawa native Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau from St. John's University.