Leaford Allen. (League1 Ontario)
Over the next two weeks, League1 Ontario will count down its best all-time players at each position – as chosen for their continued dominance on L1O fields over the league’s history – on its social media channels.
Jade Kovacevic: L1O All-Time Best XI
Filipe Vilela: L1O All-Time Best XI
Saving the best for last. Greatest player in L1O history, Jade Kovacevic has racked up an unthinkable 122 goals in 71 appearances for FC London – including a 40-goal tally in 2017. A rare mixture of power, pace, and technical skill, Kovacevic is a fitting final name on this all-time XI.
Another powerful-yet-technical striker, Filipe Vilela is synonymous with L1O’s men’s division. A breakout 20-goal, championship and golden boot-winning season in 2015 with Oakville was no fluke – Vilela has gone on to record several more double-digit goal campaigns, taking four all-star nods and another L1O championship in 2017.
Leaford Allen: L1O All-Time Best XI
Laura Gosse: L1O All-Time Best XI
Scoring 36+ goals over five L1O seasons, Laura Gosse has proven an incredibly reliable and clinical forward option. Her consistency as a feared final-third operator came in handy in two league championships with Durham United.
Allen has also scored over 30 times in L1O, enough to earn four all-star nods and professional opportunities in Sweden. Allen, most recently with Sigma FC, has a knack for highlight-reel goals, too, as his combination of physicality and technical skill shines at L1O level.
Alyscha Mottershead: L1O All-Time Best XI
Mohammad Reza Nafar: L1O All-Time Best XI
Rising through the FC London ranks over four seasons, Mohammad Reza Nafar has slowly become one of L1O’s greatest attacking midfield talents. Modest early performances led to a sprawling 1,500-minute 2019 campaign which saw Nafar pick up goal of the year and first-team all-star nods after powering FCL to the L1O Final.
Former CanWNT midfielder Alyscha Mottershead slots in as an attacking midfielder as a record five-time L1O all-star, and fifth Woodbridge Striker on the women’s L1O Best XI. Good on the ball, impeccable vision, and physically-imposing, Mottershead is arguably the best all-around midfielder to play in L1O.
Khody Ellis: L1O All-Time Best XI
Cat Rogers: L1O All-Time Best XI
Cat Rogers has been plucked as L1O women’s best right-winger. Spells with ANB Futbol, North Mississauga, and Woodbridge which produced three all-star appearances, have made Rogers a canny midfield operator – and a veteran feared by defending and attacking players.
An all-star for four-straight seasons, Khody Ellis is the most reliable winger in L1O history. His mixture of blazing speed, tricky dribbling, and attacking wherewithal made the Oakville Blue Devils standout a serious threat across +70 L1O appearances.
April Syme: L1O All-Time Best XI
Giuliano Frano: L1O All-Time Best XI
Fourth and final CPLer on L1O’s men’s Best XI, ex-Sigma stalwart Giuliano Frano arrives on the men's side as a versatile defensive midfielder. Almost 40 appearances across two first-team all-star seasons, including a nine-goal output in 2017, puts Frano well above other long-time L1O midfielders.
Completing the women’s Best XI pivot, Woodbridge Strikers’ April Syme is the best defensive midfielder in L1O’s history thanks to an incredible four first-team all-star nominations. Breakout seasons with The Bridge sent Syme to play professionally in Sweden. She returned in 2018 to help her side to a cup championship and playoff final.
Joe Di Chiara: L1O All-Time Best XI
Julia Benati: L1O All-Time Best XI
Player of the match in the 2014 League1 Ontario Cup final for Vaughan Azzurri, Di Chiara has been at the top of L1O from the beginning. A dominant midfielder, Di Chiara won final MVP honours again in 2016, as well as first-team all-star honours. After earning professional stints in Kazakhstan and Lithuania, the 28-year-old now plies his trade with York9 FC.
Benati has been an L1O all-star every year since debuting with FC London in 2016. It's only getting better for the box-to-box maestro, who was named midfielder of the year in 2019 after her passing range and knack for a screamer were deadly elements of London's attack in their third title-winning season.
Laura Twidle: L1O All-Time Best XI
Jonathan Grant: L1O All-Time Best XI
A tenured L1O veteran, Grant was named the League’s first defender of the year in 2014. Returning to Sigma in 2017, Grant showed his versatility, scoring seven goals as a winger and eventually earning a professional opportunity with Forge FC.
Winger Laura Twidle, meanwhile, is a three-time all-star, most recently with Oakville Blue Devils after she captained the side to the 2019 L1O Finals. Twiddle has scored 27 L1O goals in total, including a team-high 13 with North Miss. in 2017.
Joey Zupo: L1O All-Time Best XI
Tamara Brown: L1O All-Time Best XI
Towering Joe Zupo has physically bossed L1O backlines for years, earning three first-team all-star appearances and recent professional opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.
Defender of the year in 2016, Tamara Brown has had an exceptional multi-year run with Durham (now Pickering FC) and Cape Breton before launching her professional career with Swedish club Mallbackens IF last year.
Diamond Simpson: L1O All-Time Best XI
Dominic Samuel: L1O All-Time Best XI
A vicious defender, Diamond Simpson has been the league’s most consistent defender for years; 4,700 minutes over four seasons, 13 goals, no red cards, and four call-ups to the Canadian women's national team against the likes of Brazil and the Netherlands. Her latest accomplishment? League1 Ontario’s 2019 Best XI.
Two-time defender of the year Dominic Samuel easily makes the L1O’s best XI on the men's side. A versatile defensive option, Samuel has found his footing in the pro game with Forge FC, playing across the backline for the and helping the Hamilton side to a CPL Championship in 2019.
Jared Phillips: L1O All-Time Best XI
Kira Bertand: L1O All-Time Best XI
Kira Bertrand has been ever-present in L1O since the beginning, grabbing her first all-star nod with North Mississauga in 2015. Three more all-star nods puts the now-Woodbridge defender fifth the L1O’s greatest.
Jarred Phillips is one of L1O men’s greatest fullbacks. Appearing as an all-star on three occasions, Phillips has won the L1O championship twice with Vaughan Azzurri (in 2016 and 2018) and played all 180 minutes of their Canadian Championship debut last season.
Stephanie Bukovec: L1O All-Time Best XI
Matt George: L1O All-Time Best XI
Four-time all-star Matt George is the only L1O goalkeeper to play in the Canadian Championship, backstopping Oakville Blue Devils and Vaughan Azzurri entries in 2018 and 2019. He earned man of the match honours in the 2017 championship final, making history with the first CanChamp-bound L1O side.
Stephanie Bukovec, meanwhile, arrives after moving from two dominant years with Vaughan Azzurri to a successful career in Europe. Most recently with Ajax, Bukovec has also been capped for the Croatian national team. She was named L1OW goalkeeper of the year in 2016 after earning conceding only seven goals in 540 minutes.