Hamilton United League1 Ontario Kick-Off (Photo: courtesy of Hamilton United Elite)
2018 will be a banner year for League1 Ontario, as three new clubs join the province's pro-am league, opening up new regions and potentially creating more regional derbies.
One of the most recent additions to the League1 Ontario women's competition, Hamilton United Elite formally announced their entry to Ontario's pro-am women's division at Player's Paradise Sporting Complex in Stoney Creek on Sunday January 14.
"The addition of Hamilton United to the League1 Ontario women's division is very exciting," said League1 Ontario Commissioner, Dino Rossi Jr.
"This club has established itself as a leader in the province by bringing together a large and diverse community under a single banner to complete the player development pathway in one of Ontario's leading soccer markets," he added.
"This community also has a track record of giving its teams fantastic support and we can't wait to see big crowds cheering on Hamilton United this season."
On-hand to celebrate the announcement were Sam Di Santo, President of Hamilton United and Saltfleet/ Stoney Creek SC, as well as Stefano Girgenti, a Hamilton United Board Member an President of the Ancaster Soccer Club.
"I am extremely excited about where soccer in the Hamilton community is heading," said Di Santo.
"When we created Hamilton United Elite Soccer Club over five years ago, one of its main goals was to provide a complete high performance pathway for player opportunities within our soccer community. Today, by being awarded a League1 license, we are one step closer to fully realizing our goal."
"What a great day for soccer in Hamilton," agreed Girgenti. "Hamilton United has been awarded a League 1 license!"
"Talented and skilled players have another opportunity to display their passion for this great game. An exciting time, now and for the future."
(L-R) Sam DiSanto (Hamilton United Elite President; Saltfleet & Stoney Creek SC President); Dino Rossi Jr., League1 Ontario Commissioner
Supporters of the game in Hamilton will doubtlessly be welcoming of local involvement in this division III showcase league for the best women's players in the province.
"Hamilton United’s entrance into League1 is something for all of those involved in soccer in Hamilton to celebrate," said Tony DeLuca, Hamilton United Treasurer and President of Mount Hamilton Soccer Club.
"This ensures players have a true pathway to the highest levels of soccer in Canada," he added.
"Thanks to all those on the board, coaches and volunteers for helping make this a reality."
The anticipation for the women's League1 side will also help stoke the fires of a large and passionate body of supporters ahead of Steeltown's expected inclusion in the upcoming Canadian Professional League (CPL), set to debut in spring 2019.
In attendence at the Hamilton League1 launch event was John Gibson, a CPL advisor and former President of Hamilton and District Soccer Association (HDSA),
"I had a vision on a beach in Hawaii some time ago," he said. "[And] seven years later it has come to fruition with Hamilton United and its entry to League1."