Fri May 22
Written By: Staff, League1
Durham United F.C. is an eastern Toronto, Durham region-based team. Durham United was founded in 2014 with their men’s team providing an outlet for top tier players around the region. Together, Pickering Soccer Club, Oshawa Kicks, and new partners, West Rouge Soccer Club, represent the regional clubs which will continue to work at a grassroots level to help funnel their top tier athletes through D.U.F.C.
For 2015, Durham has slightly altered their coaching staff, allowing previous D.U.F.C. Head Coach, Tony La Ferrara to move to the newly established women’s side to coach alongside associate head coach of York University women’s team, Paul Deabreu. Both have been coaching for upwards of 25 years and will help the D.U.F.C. women’s team achieve success in their inaugural season.
Durham was easily one of the busiest clubs this off-season. While learning that League1Ontario had launched the women’s program, Durham quickly acted to bring newly appointed men’s head coach Sanford Carabin to the table after coaching the Seneca men’s program previously. This allowed Tony La Ferrara and Paul Deabreu to start building the women’s side from the ground up.
In addition, not only did Durham finish and open their state-of-the-art turf facility (located in South Pickering), but they also negotiated and began their OPDL team, looking to really become a powerhouse in youth development. Corrado Roccasalva, visionary behind Durham United, believes this is the start of a new era for soccer in the Durham region.
It would be quite hard to single out some key players out of a newly formed women’s program. What head coach Tony was able to comment on was the collective effort that they've put in before opening up their season at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario, against North Mississauga.
Furthermore, La Ferrara was also happy to see that many female athletes on the team are not only from the Durham region, but grew up playing for Pickering Soccer Club. Kayla De Souza is currently coaching with the club and together with her sister Briana will be key members of this young team. Goalkeeper Nora Abolins has had a stellar career with Western Kentucky University setting dozens school and NCAA records.
Katie Arathoon has played for the club since she was four years old. Taylor Potts, Maddie Iozzi, Kayla Adams, Rachel Hoekstra and Katie all played on the U16 Pickering National Championship team. Jessica Craig played her youth soccer with the Pickering Soccer Club. The majority of the players are from the Durham region.
The remaining question for Durham’s women’s squad, will be if these girls can handle the transition from university soccer, where most have came from, to play in a tough League1Ontario division with six other newly founded teams.
Paul and Tony see one important upside to their team, saying that they may have some slight chemistry over other teams in the league this upcoming season, as a large portion have also played against one another, in high school competition, coming from high school programs such as Saint Mary’s, Dunbarton High School, etc.
The ultimate goal of players participating and competing in League1Ontario is to have an opportunity to get noticed and play at the highest possible level. If both Tony LaFerrera and Paul Deabreu can achieve this, it will be a solid inaugural season for Durham United F.C.
Of course, Durham fans would love to see a strong showing from the women themselves. With a strong and experienced coaching staff, and some NCAA players, winning the league is definitely a possibility, and would ultimately mark the beginning of a great semi-professional program in the Durham Region.