In the latter part of a League1 Ontario season, many of the member clubs look to their depth of quality in youth and prospects to step up and deliver the late season results.
In many cases, this late-season crop of young players represents the starting point of roster building for the following season.
During the League1 Ontario 2015 season, for example, some of these prospects clearly made impressions on college and university scouts, as a number of 2016 athletic scholarships have already been offered and signed by players.
An ongoing feature story over the coming weeks as signings develop, this is the League1 Ontario 2016 University/ College Round-Up - Men's Division - Part I:
Durham FC co-captain and League1 Ontario all-star Joe Zupo has signed a deal with Australian second division side Devonport City Strikers.
The Strikers compete in the National Premier League in Tasmania/ Australia, the second highest level of Australian soccer behind the top-flight A League.
"Joe was the inspirational leader of our team and I can't remember a time he put a foot wrong," said Durham FC head coach, Sanford Carabin. "An immense presence in our back-line, Joe competed in every game for us and led by example. This is the right time for Joe to take a step up and further challenge himself. I couldn't be happier for him."
A centre-back, Zupo was also considered as a league MVP candidate for his stalwart performances with Durham. Upon signing for Devonport City, Zupo gave credit to the east-end Toronto club.
"I'm very excited to be going on this journey to continue my development and to continue to test myself at higher levels," said Zupo.
" As a competitive player, that's extremely important for me. I'm looking forward to meeting my new teammates and experiencing a new lifestyle and culture, as well.
"My time in League 1 has given me access to this chance - playing alongside and
against players who are just as keen as I am as moving up the pyramid in world football kept me motivated to train well and keep my form up."
"Credit has to be given to Durham United for finding me this opportunity, and supporting me in this endeavor."
22-year old Oakville native and Pro Stars FC central defender Madison Hudson has signed a contract with club Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL) in the BeNe League - the highest level of women's soccer in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Hudson made several appearances for Pro Stars FC U-21 and League1 Ontario 2015 sides, and attended Holy Family University in Philadelphia on both academic and athletic scholarships. She was selected to the First Conference team, Third East Region team, and was team captain.
Hudson scored in her first match with OHL on February, dispatching a header in the first half during a 2-2 friendly draw with KV Mechelen.
A key member of Durham United FC's midfield for the 2015 League1 Ontario campaign, Kristian Lee-Him has been signed to Slovenian third division side MNK Izola.
Lee-Him was a product of the Sigma FC academy system before going to Durham United's senior men's side playing in League1 Ontario. Lee-Him quickly made an impression at the east-end Toronto club.
Toronto FC II announced Wednesday that the club has signed senior academy player Martin Davis to a USL contract.
As per policy of Toronto FC, details of the contract have not been announced. A Jamaican national, Davis has represented Jamaica at the U-17 and U-20 levels. Davis will be added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
“Martin took a big step last season when he left his home country of Jamaica for Toronto leaving his family and friends to test himself and continue his development as a footballer,” said Toronto FC II Head Coach Jason Bent.
“This will be a good measuring tool for Martin to see how his development has progressed. Splitting time between our PDL and League1 Ontario team, as well as appearing in a few matches for Toronto FC II, has helped him get stronger and adjust to the power and pace of the North American game.”
League1 Ontario Growing Again In 2016
North Mississauga Panthers the latest team to be approved for play in Ontario’s Pro-Am league
Ontario Soccer Association - Vaughan, Ontario, February 1, 2016:
Late last year, League1 Ontario announced the addition of eight new teams to its Men and Women’s divisions. Today, League1 Ontario is adding one more team to the Men’s division and announcing a new conference structure for that division in 2016.
North Mississauga Panthers becomes the 16th Men’s team to earn membership into League1 Ontario and will play in the Western Conference in 2016. They join the North Mississauga Panthers Women’s team, who won the L1 Cup in 2015.
League1 Ontario commissioner Dino Rossi spoke about what North Mississauga Panthers brings to the league.
“We’re thrilled to be able to add North Mississauga to our league,” Rossi said. “They have a proven track record of developing elite level players in our province, which makes them a natural fit for League1.”
OSA President Ron Smale described how this club is investing in both ends of the Ontario development pyramid.
“It’s great to see clubs like North Mississauga and others in League1 and the Ontario Player Development League now filling the development needs at both ends of our high performance player development system,” Smale said.
“We have clubs that are looking at this as a top-to-bottom investment – from starting them in recreational soccer and developing them on the right path through our OPDL youth structure, to finishing their development in League1.”
North Mississauga President Trevor Bertrand expressed his excitement for their club.
“This is a big year for us at North Mississauga,” Bertrand said. “First we gained entrance into OPDL and now we’ve been accepted into League1 Ontario Men’s division. We’re offering a full spectrum of development opportunities.”
The Men’s division grows to 16 teams and will now be divided into two conferences for 2016.
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|Woodbridge Strikers||Oakville Blue Devils|
|Vaughan Azzurri||Sigma FC|
|Durham United FC||TFC Academy|
|Kingston Clippers||Windsor Stars|
|Master's FA Saints||Pro Stars FC|
|North Toronto Nitros (New for 2016)||Sanjaxx Lions|
|Toronto Skillz FC (New for 2016)||FC London (New for 2016)|
|Aurora United FC (New for 2016)||North Mississauga (New for 2016)|
Men’s teams will play 14 games, home and away, within their own conference and a further eight games against teams in the other conference. The top team from each conference will play off against one another in the league final. The Women’s division remains as a single table alignment.
Additionally, teams in both the Men’s and Women’s division will compete in a single-elimination cup tournament throughout the year.
As part of the league re-structuring this season, ANB Futbol has not renewed their League1 Ontario license. As well, Pro Stars FC will not return a team to the League1 Ontario women’s division for 2016.
About League1 Ontario:
League1 Ontario is the only pro-am, standards-based, senior league in Ontario. Founded in 2014, the league began with a 10-team Men’s division, which has now grown to 16 teams and includes a separate 10-team Women’s division.
League1 Ontario serves as a stepping stone between the youth, amateur ranks, and the full-on professional sides.
Sanctioned by the Ontario Soccer Association, the league’s focus, first and foremost, is the development of Canada’s future stars.
About the Ontario Soccer Association:
Founded in 1901, The Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) is the largest provincial sports organization in Canada. Its members include more than 650 Clubs servicing over 24,000 teams with 380,000 registered players, 70,000 coaches and managers, and 10,000 match officials. The OSA develops and delivers exceptional and sustainable programs and services throughout Ontario with the mission of providing leadership and support for the advancement of soccer in collaboration and cooperation with our membership, partners and other stakeholders. The OSA also operates League1 Ontario, a provincial pro-am men’s and women’s league, as well as the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL).
Ontario Soccer Association Media Contact:
Cormac Rea | League1 Ontario Communications Coordinator | 613-299-0374 | firstname.lastname@example.org