Halifax Wanderers pick CBU soccer star Cory Bent

Bent played youth soccer in England for Manchester United and Preston North End

Cory Bent had no idea if he was even going to be selected for this year’s Canadian Premier League draft, so he was ecstatic when he found out he was the first pick.

On Monday night, Bent gathered around a laptop with a few of his teammates from Cape Breton University to watch the draft unfold.

“As soon as my name popped up, everyone started cheering. It was a really family-like feeling when I got drafted,” said Bent.

Bent was selected first overall by the Halifax Wanderers on Monday. He is coming off four stellar seasons with CBU where he notched 24 goals in 46 games, and made it to the league’s all-star team on three separate occasions.

Although being drafted only secures a trial and not a full spot on the team, Matt Fegan, assistant general manager of the Wanderers, is confident that Bent will play a big role on the team next season.

“We wanted to add somebody who we feel isn’t just here to make up the numbers — a player who can actually fill minutes and play and have a really big impact on the team. I think we’re going to see that with him,” said Fegan.

Soccer runs in the family

Bent grew up around professional soccer. His father and cousin were both professional soccer players in England. His father played 350 games in the second tier of English soccer, and his cousin, Darren Bent, made 13 appearances for England.

Bent’s father now has a coaching role with Preston North End, an English second division team. Bent says his father still watches all of his games and calls him after they’re over to offer advice.

“It’s really great to have those kinds of role models in your life that have been there and done it. It allows me to take a shorter, easier path than they did. They’ve been through all the bumps, so they can see when something’s coming, which is a great asset to have,” said Bent.

Bent’s own soccer past is nothing to brush over. He played his Under-8 season with Manchester United’s academy. Then he played for Preston North End’s academy until the age of 14. He came to Canada when he was 19 to play for Cape Breton University.

Bent attributes his time playing in the upper levels of England’s academy system to developing himself into the player he is today. He was able to face off against England’s top youth players, including current Manchester United star Scott McTominay.

Bent will have his work cut out for him when the Canadian Premier League restarts in May.

The Wanderers scored the fewest goals of any team this past season, so Bent’s scoring prowess may help the team improve upon its last-place finish.

Simon Miller

Simon is a journalism student in the one-year program at the University of King's College. His academic background is in political science and economics, but he also enjoys reporting on local sports.

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