The Canadian Premier League is built on the promise of building the future of soccer in Canada. THE NEXT GEN celebrates this promise by showcasing and honouring the best young Canadian soccer talent from coast to coast in the Canadian Premier League.
Welcome the NEXT GEN CLASS OF 2020, an eight-part video series celebrating the best young Canadian talent on display during the Canadian Premier League 2020 season. These incredible young players’ performances demonstrated their talent and grit at the Island Games in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and are proof that professional soccer is now attainable in Canada.
Julian Dunn made the absolute most out of his high-profile loan from Toronto FC, playing every minute of The Island Games in a The Next Gen-worthy season with Valour FC.
Slotting alongside Andrew Jean-Baptiste, the 20-year-old was one half of arguably the best centre-back partnership in PEI, using his size to prevent balls in behind or from running too close to his six-foot-three frame.
Dunn completed 2.5 headed duels and won 1.18 aerial duels per 90 minutes during the tournament, both tops among CPL defenders. The lanky centre half also led the team in both headed clearances and clearances.
Dunn’s shining moment came against York9 FC, now York United FC, where he provided impressive defensive aptitude for a second straight shutout for Valour. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed in PEI, as he was nominated for the CPL’s Best Canadian U-21 Player of the Year award.
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It’s the kind of season worthy of another contract at Valour – but it’s not that simple. The Toronto native has returned to his hometown club.
“There’s a desire there from both parties, the players and the parent clubs,” Valour coach Rob Gale on bringing MLS loanees such as Dunn back to Winnipeg for 2021.
“Now we’ll just have to wait until the new (MLS) season begins and see how those players stand in the depth chart of their parent clubs.”
If Gale is concerned about keeping the core together, you’d think Dunn would be top of that list.