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Men's Premier Division 2023: Award Finalists

By League1 Ontario staff, 11/10/23, 10:30AM EST


Find out the top five ranked players in the seven end-of-season League1 Ontario award categories..

The end-of-season award finalists for the 2023 Women’s Premier Division have been decided.

The top five in each category – and eventual winners – are determined by a culmination of factors at the end of the 2023 season. Votes were submitted at the conclusion of the campaign by coaches and league staff from a list of nominees submitted by each club for each category. Those totals were then combined with points awarded to players who were selected by coaches as one of the "Three Stars" of each match in the regular season.

Over the next seven days, we will be announcing the top five players (in no particular order) in each award category, from where the ultimate winners will be chosen.

Congratulations to all the finalists in what has been a very competitive selection process following a season brimming with difference-making players.

Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists

Top Five: Goalkeepers of the Year

Andreas Vaikla – Scrosoppi
Vaikla kept eight clean sheets in 22 games this season as Scrosoppi ended the regular season at the top of the standings and reached the playoff final.

Svyatoslav Artemenko – Electric City
Artemenko conceded less than a goal a game in 2023, helping Electric City to an impressive seventh-place finish in the division with the second-best defensive record.

Baj Maan – Simcoe County Rovers
Mann played in all but one of Simcoe County Rovers’ games in 2023, conceding 21 goals in 19 regular-season appearances, and helped his side secure their first Men’s Premier Division title.

Carter Robart – Guelph United
Robart featured for Guelph United in all their games this season, losing only 19 percent of them and conceding just 23 goals.

Darlington Murasiranwa – FC London
Murasiranwa played 1,431 minutes for FC London in 2023 and helped his side to a run of seven unbeaten games before being signed by Canadian Premier League club Valour.

Defender of the Year graphic

Top Five: Defenders of the Year

Gianfranco Facchineri – Windsor City
Facchineri was a standout member of Windsor City’s team in 2023, playing more than 1,300 minutes, scoring two goals, and regularly being praised by coaches.

Carlo DiFeo – Scrosoppi
A key figure of the best backline in the division, DiFeo played more minutes for Scrosoppi than any other player and started in their playoff semifinal and final.

Justin Earle – Simcoe County Rovers
Earle played every minute for Simcoe in their title-winning campaign and captained the team from the heart of its defence. He also netted twice in the regular season.

Amardo Oakley – Guelph United
Oakley helped his side secure six clean sheets this season, and rescued a point for Guelph with a stoppage-time equaliser against Woodbridge Strikers.

Nyal Higgins – Vaughan Azzurri
Higgins only lost four games when playing for the Azzurri in 2023 and helped the Vaughan defence to nine clean sheets across the regular season and playoffs.

Midfielder of the Year graphic

Top Five: Midfielders of the Year   

Alexander Zis – Scrosoppi
Talented midfielder Zis played more than 1,600 minutes for Scrosoppi this season and his decisive brace gave them victory over Blue Devils in the playoff semifinals.

Marcus Caldeira – Sigma
Young midfielder Caldeira made 12 appearances in 2023 and averaged a goal every other game across the season, helping Sigma finish ninth.

Nikola Stakic – Alliance United
Reigning Midfielder of the Year Stakic scored an impressive 11 goals in 16 games this season, grabbing a hat-trick in his side’s 13-1 win against Unionville Milliken.

Orlendis Benitez-Hernandez – Simcoe County Rovers
Benitez-Hernandez was instrumental in helping Simcoe County Rovers towards their first Men’s Premier Division title, and scored more goals than any other midfielder in the league.

Christian Zeppieri – Vaughan Azzurri
Zeppieri played more than 1,500 minutes for Vaughan in 2023, and with performances acclaimed by coaches he helped the Azzurri to 14 wins from the 20 games that he featured in.

Forwards of the Year graphic

Top Five: Forwards of the Year

Adam Czerkawski – Blue Devils
Converted defender Czerkawski scored 18 goals across 22 games this season, with 10 coming in four consecutive games, helping Blue Devils to a playoff semifinal against Scrosoppi.

Tomasz Skublak – Scrosoppi
Skublak netted a staggering 24 goals during Scrosoppi’s league campaign, making him the most dangerous marksman in the Men’s Premier Division this season.

Jevontae Layne – Simcoe County Rovers
Over the course of 20 games, Layne played more than 1,400 minutes and found the back of the net 14 times on the way to Simcoe being crowned champions, including a brace in the final.

Christopher Campoli – Vaughan Azzurri
Campoli found the back of the net 17 times in the regular season, 11 of which came in his final eight games, and he helped his side through to the playoff semifinals.

Augustus Oku – Burlington
Oku led Burlington’s successful playoff and 2024 Premier charge from the front by scoring 13 goals in 18 games, including a hat-trick against Hamilton United.

Young (U20) Player of the Year graphic

Top Five: Young Players of the Year

Marcus Caldeira (2004 born) – Sigma
Despite Sigma not making the playoffs, Caldeira’s performances caught the eyes of many, netting a brace against Windsor City and opening the scoring against Blue Devils.

Christian Zeppieri (2003 born) – Vaughan Azzurri
Zeppieri played 1,489 regular-season minutes for Vaughan Azzurri this campaign – the second-highest total by any player in the team.

Braden Stevanovic (2006 born) – Windsor City
The youngster certainly made his mark in Windsor’s senior side, scoring four goals in 16 appearances and regularly showing off an abundance of potential.

Kevin Espiro (2003 born) – Burlington
Espiro featured in 18 games in 2023, playing a big part in what was a very successful transformation season for Burlington, making his mark in League1 Ontario.

Allen Saye Blegay (2006 born) – Simcoe County Rovers
Blegay played 13 times in his debut Men’s Premier Division season and stood out in a championship-winning team at a very young age.

MVP of the Year graphic

Top Five: Most Valuable Players of the Year

Orlendis Benitez-Hernandez – Simcoe County Rovers
Benitez-Hernandez was a talisman for the Premier Division champions with 16 goals in 21 games and a proven ability to turn matches on their head, netting late winners against Burlington and Electric City.

Nyal Higgins – Vaughan Azzurri
The Vaughan centre-back played close to every minute of his side’s Men’s Premier Division campaign, as they conceded just 23 goals across the regular season and playoffs.

Tomasz Skublak – Scrosoppi
Skublak was a huge part of Scrosoppi’s excellent season and scored an average of 1.4 goals per game, his total of 24 strikes earning him the Men’s Premier Division Golden Boot award.

Adam Czerkawski – Blue Devils
Like Vaughan Azzurri’s Nyal Higgins, Czerkawski played almost every minute of the campaign, racking up more than 1,860 minutes and scoring 18 goals, including a hat-trick against Burlington in the playoffs.

Nikola Stakic – Alliance United
Stakic regularly pulled on the captain’s armband and pulled the strings for Alliance United, who fell just six points short of the playoffs with nine wins.

Coach of the Year graphic

Top Five: Coaches of the Year

John Yacou – Scrosoppi
Yacou led a transformed Scrosoppi to the top of the Men’s Premier Division regular-season standings with 17 wins, before reaching the title decider against Simcoe.

Darren Tilley – Burlington
Tilley’s Burlington side went unbeaten in 75 percent of their games this campaign, which saw them finish fifth in the final table – 12 places higher than in 2022.

Marko Milanovic – North Toronto Nitros
North Toronto may have finished 10th this year, but  Milanovic certainly implemented an exciting style of football as they notched 46 goals – ten more than the last campaign.

Jason Beckford – Simcoe County Rovers
Beckford led Simcoe County Rovers to their first Men’s Premier Division title, with a 75 percent win rate in the regular season and 56 goals scored – more than any other team.

Carmine Isacco – Vaughan Azzurri
Although Azzurri couldn’t complete a title defence, Isacco led his team to third place in the regular season having won 14 of their 20 games, and to a playoff semifinal.


Each of the award winners will be announced in due course, as well as details of a celebratory trophy ceremony.