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Vaughan Azzurri To Showcase Squad Full Of Top Talent In Canadian Championship

05/15/2019, 4:15pm EDT
By League1 Ontario staff

(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

Vaughan SC are the League1 Ontario 2018 Champions, following a stellar year of performances that saw them take the league title and qualify for the 2019 Canadian Championship. 

The success of the team led to numerous players getting signed into the full-professional ranks, with nearly the entire starting side going to CPL clubs - including long-time head coach, Carmine Isacco, who joined York 9 as an Assistant Coach. 

Now under the lead of head coach, Patrice Gheisar, the Azzurri prepare for a follow-up 2019 League1 campaign, while at the same time readying themselves for the home and away legs (May 15/ 22) of the 2019 Canadian Championship vs. Halifax Wanderers. 

League1 - Sometimes massive success leads to new challenges. It's clear player rotation and re-stocking will have been necessary at Vaughan after so many players were signed on at pro clubs. Who are some of your players to highlight right now?

Patrice Gheisar - "We have lost our top six players from last year's title-winning squad. Last year's midfield was Zak DrakeMatthew ArnoneDylan Sacramento. Wide left was Austin Ricci, our target was Marco Kovacevic and wide right we rotated through a few players. We've lost all of them plus most of the defenders to the CPL or elsewhere."

"We've had to bring in guys that we feel understand our culture and needed to implement a small change in playing style that we wanted to have." 

"I could highlight a whole list of players, but I'll just highlight a few for now." 

"One of the guys that has been instrumental in reflecting what I think the team should be about - high passing, high energy, humble and hard-working - is Eddie Lay." 

"Eddie used to play at Vaughan and has been a part with a couple other League1 teams as well. We know Eddie well as a contributing star with York University and he has come in to the Vaughan team this year and been very dedicated. I think he will be one of our key players, dictating the way we want to play and implementing our philosophy on the field. He's still only 22 years old and I think his best is yet to come. This will be a very big year for him as he heads into his senior year at York." 

"Jason Mills has been a key player to Vaughan for many years now. Three years ago we won the league and Jason contributed massively. He went through a period of disrupted rhythm due to injuries but he has come back stronger than ever. Jason is 25 years old and brings experience and League1 knowledge that is much needed in an otherwise very young team. He presents himself as a combination of a leader on and off the field. He'll help us with the knowledge that we need in the final third." 

(Photo: F10 Sports/ Martin Bazyl Photography)

(Photo: F10 Sports/ Martin Bazyl Photography)

"Shiquan Lowe is one of our few returning backs from last year. He's still very young and I think was disappointed that he didn't make any CPL trials, much like some of our other guys. He's come back hungry and driven. We expect nothing but massive leadership from him. We will be a team that looks to press and play out from the back, which means there is a great deal of pressure on our centre-backs, and Shiquan will probably need to be our best performer in the biggest games that we play." 

"We have some new players to highlight, such as Raheem Rose. He has attended Ryerson University and been a key member there. He has a standard and mentality that fits our culture. He's mobile, athletic and technical." 

"Ryan Raposo grabbed a lot of headlines in League1 last summer, scoring nearly ten goals. He just finished a very good year in the NCAA, making the All-ACC Freshman team out of Syracuse University. We expect him to come in and immediately contribute. I think he plays above his years. He is only 19 but plays with a lot of heart, ability and mobility."

(Photo: F10 Sports/ Martin Bazyl Photography)

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