Pickering U19's celebrating their 2023 Women's Reserve Division triumph
Toronto, ON – (January 9, 2024) – Pickering Football Club have acquired the men’s and women’s licenses previously held by Electric City Football Club, in a move that allows one of the founding League1 Ontario clubs to restart their L1ON program with full operational control after stepping away prior to the 2022 season.
Pickering FC, who operated its L1ON teams under the Durham United FC banner from 2014 to 2018, transferred their licenses to UK-based Evolution Sports & Entertainment ahead of the 2022 season, although Pickering staff continued to support the new operator throughout the campaign.
Prior to the start of the 2023 season, the League1 Ontario Board of Directors revoked those licenses held by ES&E, and it was recently announced that Scrosoppi FC have acquired the vacated women’s division license. An announcement is expected shortly on which club will be acquiring the men’s division license that became available.
During their hiatus, Pickering developed a plan to rebuild their competitive senior program ahead of a potential return to League1 Ontario, and celebrated winning the 2023 Women’s U19 Reserve Division Final against North Toronto Nitros on penalties after topping the East Conference with an incredible 31 points from 12 regular-season matches. Their Men’s U21 team also finished second in the Reserve Division’s North East Conference in 2023.
Corrado Roccasalva, General Manager of Pickering Football Club, said: “With aspirations of once again being a sole operator of a League1 Ontario license, Pickering Football Club [PFC] approached Electric City FC [ECFC] to gauge interest in the sale of their L1ON license.
“After several conversations, an agreement was reached. With the process now complete, PFC would like to thank the L1ON Board for their support and ECFC for their professionalism and commitment to the game. PFC is looking forward to once again being a key contributor to the growth of soccer at the highest level in Ontario.”
Electric City, based in Peterborough, were founded in 2021 and made their League1 Ontario debut in the Men’s and Women’s Premier Divisions the following year. Both teams featured in two campaigns and, while always finishing in the top half of the table, neither qualified for the playoffs.
Although Electric City’s men’s and women’s teams qualified to participate in the Premier divisions in 2024, the League1 Ontario Board of Directors have determined that Pickering’s men’s and women’s teams will be assigned to the L1ON Championship division – the second tier in the new L1ON pyramid. Pickering will also field women’s and men’s U21 teams, which will serve as their ‘B’ teams, in the League2 division.
Matthew Braithwaite, Managing Director of League1 Ontario, said: “We are pleased to welcome Pickering Football Club back to the League1 Ontario senior divisions.
“They were a founding member of both the men’s and women’s divisions and are two-time Women’s Premier Division champions, winning the inaugural season in 2015 and again in 2018. They have always aspired to add to their titles, and after some strong campaigns at Reserve level last year, we are excited to see them return.”
By virtue of Pickering’s teams being placed in the second tier, the League1 Ontario Board of Directors has opted to elevate the Woodbridge Strikers men’s team and St Catharines Roma Wolves’ women’s team from the Championship division to the Premier for the 2024 season. Both clubs fell just short of automatic qualification for their respective Premier divisions in the Road to 2024 standings.
Pickering in the 2022 Men's Premier Division