U SPORTS Player of the Year and Burlington native Kotsopoulos Forge FC’s top pick, third overall
Forge FC announced Tuesday the soccer club selected University of Guelph forward Jace Kotsopoulos (first round, third overall), University of Montreal midfielder Aboubacar Sissoko (second round, 12th overall) and University of Toronto midfielder Marko Mandekic (third round, 17th overall) in the first-ever Canadian Premier League-U SPORTS draft following the 2018 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia on Sunday. The three players have been invited to Forge FC’s preseason camp in early 2019, with the opportunity to sign either a standard developmental contract for non-graduating student-athletes wishing to preserve their eligibility, or a pro contract for graduating seniors.
Kotsopoulos, a Burlington, Ontario native, recently completed his fourth season with the Gryphons and led the Ontario University Athletics soccer circuit in goals (15) and points (19) en route to being named an OUA West First-Team All-Star, the OUA West Most Valuable Player and U SPORTS Player of the Year. This past season, he also became Guelph’s all-time leading scorer. In 57 career games at Guelph, including 53 starts, the 5-9 forward has recorded 53 goals and seven assists for 60 points.
Sissoko, a Bamako, Mali native, recently completed his fourth season with the Carabins and was named a Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec First-Team All-Star. Prior to this season, Sissoko was named a RSEQ First-Team All-Star and U SPORTS Championship All-Star in 2017 and an RSEQ Second-Team All-Star in 2015.
Mandekic, a Kitchener, Ontario native, recently completed his second season with the Varsity Blues. In 23 career games at the University of Toronto, including 20 starts, the 6-2 midfielder has recorded two goals and four assists for six points. In 2017, Mandekic was named an OUA East First-Team All-Star and a member of the U SPORTS All-Rookie team. He has also spent time in the Toronto FC Academy under-20 development program.
The partnership between the Canadian Premier League and U SPORTS gives top Canadian university players an opportunity to play professional soccer while continuing to maintain their education and university sports eligibility.
Forge FC will kick off the inaugural CPL season in April 2019. For season ticket information, please visit www.forgefootball.club.