14 May 2020

Emilio Estevez, a 21 year old midfielder who had trials in 2018 with Queens Park Rangers in England and Levante in Spain’s La Liga while playing for SC Waterloo in the Canadian Soccer League, has been signed by ADO Den Haag in the Dutch Eredivisie.

That’s a big score for the Toronto-born player who played his youth soccer in Etobicoke, his college soccer with Sheridan Bruins and stints in the CSL and League 1 before a  2019 season with York9 FC in the new Canadian Premier League.

Estevez was spotted by York head coach Jim Brennan in a try-out following games with Waterloo in 2018 and was signed by Brennan for the 2019 inaugural season, making 21 appearances. The attacking midfielder also made his international debut for Chinese Taipei, playing in World Cup qualifiers against Australia, Kuwait and Jordan. Chinese Taipei represents Taiwan which China regards as a rebel region that must be reunited with the mainland. Chinese Taipei is rated 138 in the FIFA rankings.

Vojo Brisevac, head coach and GM of the CSL’s SC Waterloo was not surprised at Estevez new-found success. “He showed good skills with us, quick and very good on the attack and we wish him all the best both in Europe and internationally,” he said.

The Estevez move to Den Haag of the Netherlands is added to a growing list of players from the Canadian Soccer League signed directly or indirectly by European clubs in recent years. These include Fidan Nika of St. Catharines Roma Wolves to German clubs FC Passau, SG Bogen II,  SV Poppenreuth and SV Mitterteich, while Gil Hong and Christian Kusiewicz of Mississauga Eagles FC were transferred to Gyori ETO FC  Hungary and Marcus Godinho of Toronto FC II moved to Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premier League and in 2018 with Berwick Rangers, also of Scotland.

David Monsalve of North York Astros was signed by FC Inter Turku of Finland, and returned to Canada to play for Ottawa Fury of the USL. Igor Pisanjuk of Mississauga Eagles FC, then Vasas Astros SC of the CSL, went on to play with Hungarian clubs Ferencvarosi, Szolnoki MAV FC, Kecskemeti, Egri FC and Vasas FC.

In earlier times the most prominent former CSL players signed by European clubs were Paul Munster of London City signed by Slavia Prague of the Czech Republic and Atiba Hutchinson who played briefly for York Region Shooters before embarking upon a 17 year career with several top clubs in Europe.