The sixth League1 Ontario season rolls out this weekend, featuring 15 matches across both men's and women's divisions. Come and see if you can pick out future Canadian stars!
Our second match of #L1OKickoff2019 Day Three puts one of the strongest sides of 2018 on the field, with a point to prove after a heartbreaking loss in the 2018 Championship Final, against a Mississauga side in rebuild mode.
Woodbridge SC will host North Mississauga SC at Vaughan Grove, Woodbridge on Sunday May 5 (1:45 p.m.).
An absolutely dominant team in 2018, Woodbridge went undefeated all the way to the Championship Final - and then fell in penalties.
Despite the squad winning the L1 Cup earlier in the season, and their imperious form on the pitch, the loss in the Final will doubtlessly be in the back of their minds and head coach Dave Porco as they take the pitch in 2019.
League1 - 2018 was, in every sense, quite nearly a perfect season for Woodbridge women. Who will you look to in 2019 to get you all the way to the top again?
Dave Porco - "Chrissie White and Kira Bertrand are key to our success with their solid play in the back and I think they will continue to be key this season."
"Alyscha Mottershead, April Syme and Cat Rogers in the midfield push this team forward and between those five players - that is the core group. I hope they all stay healthy and we look forward to a good solid year."
"We added some young pieces but we'll see what they look like when they are playing at this level."
"I have a striker named Lauren Hart, for example, who came to us from 2002 North Toronto. She is a striker and has looked good in training but we will see how it goes in the big games."
"We still have Vanessa Thompson, who is a 2001, and she will be in the lineup this weekend as well. We have some other young players and we look forward to seeing how they do in games."
"We have some other regular players that are only back for a couple weeks so we haven't had a chance to sit and talk to them and see if we can get them into a game."
A rebuild was in need for North Mississauga SC after 2018, and a new head coach - Judy Tjanetis - was brought in for the job.
League1 - It's a first season for you in the league, and with a team in rebuild mode there will be some work to do with the side.
Who are some key players we should look for in the early going?
Judy Tjanetis - "Remi Pelletier is one of our centre-backs and I believe she is coming from Humber College. Very intelligent young lady and she plays in the style we like our players to play in, which is focused on possession of the ball."
"We have a couple central midfielders that I am expecting will do good things. Daniela Cardillo and Cat Fernandez are both attacking midfielders. They like to move the ball around and are very skillful and speedy. Daniella likes to do the unexpected in terms of how or when she passes the ball, and I like that about her. They both work very hard and have experience in the college system as well. They are both coming off winning seasons."
"I would highlight a couple of the U17s that will be playing with us this year. Alicia Sutcliffe can play either as a centre-back or as a defensive central midfielder. She is a very powerful young lady. She likes to drive forward and take on players and she wins a lot of aerial and one v one battles."
League1 - We think we already know what you're going to say, but what is your objective for the 2019 season?
Dave Porco - "We have been training throughout the winter with the core girls and they are so keen on winning this championship after what happened last year. They are really gunning."
"We have a great captain like Alyscha Mottershead, and she keeps telling them there is no way we are walking away without a championship this year. We are not falling short like we did last year. That was pretty disappointing for all of them. Winning a cup and going undefeated meant nothing to them. We have one objective this year. We've all talked about it, and we're all gunning for it. We've learned that a perfect record means nothing in the end, it's about winning that final game."
"I have never had so much fun coaching a team. Not because of their record last year, but I have a group of girls that just come to train hard. They are just motivated. They love this game and it just makes it so fun to coach them. You give them the session and they go at it one hundred miles an hour. They love to go at it and compete and it is just fantastic."
League1 - In a first year with North Missisauga League1 team, and a year of rebuild at that, where do put your objectives for team and player?
Judy Tjanetis - "I think we all know at the club that this is a bit of a rebuilding year for the women's League1 team at North Mississauga."
"We lost a lot of players and brought in a lot of new and young players that will be used throughout the season. We have some more experienced players that have not come back yet from their schools in the States."
"Definitely youth is a big factor in the kind of side we are putting out. I expect it to be a difficult season for us, due to the number of new players we are bringing together, but the expectation is that the players get on the field and perform a possession style game."
"Our first game of the season against Woodbridge is maybe not the one I would have picked for our first game. That will be a difficult game. We know they are a very successful team with good players and coaches, they know how to play the game. It will be a tough match for us."
"I have been coaching for a long time. My husband and I have been together coaching for 20-25 years. We tend to gravitate towards teams that are in a rebuilding process so this isn't a new experience for us by any means. We are used to coming into situations where we have to build from the ground up. We are going to do our best and give our best effort to put a product on the pitch that will make North Mississauga proud and will make people want to come and watch us play."
"We want people to come and watch us and to like the style that we're playing. We want to play the game the right way. We believe in having technical players that understand the game, like to move the ball, and do things as a unit - both attacking and defending. The big question will be if we can do that at the start of the season. It's a challenge, but we're up for the challenge."