Just because the inaugural League1 Ontario season is over doesn't mean that all of the league's players have hung up their boots for the year. More than eighty players that featured in League1 were on the field playing for their post-secondary teams this fall, many of them stars on successful teams.
Below are the highlights of each League1 team’s top performers at the University/College level.
Windsor's post-secondary players generally kept it close to home.
Eight players - Celso Carapau, Brett Holmberg, Jamar Kelly, Kyle Vizirakis, Brydon Caesar, Luis Torres, Gabriel Paulino and Khalid Baher - were key parts of a successful season by St Clair Community College. St Clair narrowly missed the OCAA playoffs. Holmberg led the way, chipping in two goals and two assists during the season.
Michael Pio, Derrick Amankwa and Alex Mendonca went the university route, playing on opposite sides of the border. Pio and Amankwa took the field for the University of Windsor Lancers, with Pio recording three goals this season. Mendonca suited up for the University of Detroit.
Two players - Jacob Orellana and Jonathon Osorio - were key members of the Humber Hawks, who finished the season as the runners up in the OCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.
Goalkeeper Matt Caldaroni was part of a much improved UOIT (Oshawa) program. Fairly new to OUA play, the school finished in the middle of the pack this year in OUA East Division.
Ashton Hyde headed stateside, appearing in nine games for Ohio Dominican (NCAA Div II).
Like Windsor, many of Kingston’s student-athletes stayed close to home.
Three Clippers players – Stephane Emard, Maxime El-Asmar and Rowen Martino – played for Algonquin College, which captured the OCAA Men’s Soccer Championship and were the CCAA’s #1 ranked side for most of 2014. Emard was honoured as the CCAA Men’s Player of the Year, which is an outstanding achievement.
Conor Hannigan, Taylor Reynolds, Andrew Martin, Oliver Coren, Robert Lannan and Tommy Hong all played for Queen's University. The Gaels had a solid season, advancing to the OUA quarter finals.
Goalkeeper Tomas Daecshel and defender Stuart Heath took their talents out of province. Goalkeeper Daeschel played for McGill while Heath headed east, starting twelve matches for Univeristy of Cape Breton.
Striker Antonio Assaad went further afield, signing a contract with Riada Wal Adab of the Lebanese Second Division, producing one goal and four assists in his first four matches.
Goalkeeper Ben Cowman, who had a strong first half of the season for DUFC, continued his strong play in OUA play, earning Second Team All-Star status in the OUA West Division for the University of Western Ontario. The Mustangs finished fourth in their division and were knocked out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals.
Midfielder Kyle Crichton played for the 2014 CIS Champions, York University.
Davinder Johal, Shaquelle Agard and the Saimovici brothers (Emile and Ethan) all played for nearby Centennial College. Centennial narrowly missed the playoffs, finishing third in the OCAA East Division.
Jordan Dover went stateside, where he played for the Green Bay Phoenix, who struggled with a younger line-up than usual this season.
Goalkeeper Michael Scavone was a regular for Roberts Wesleyan College, backstopping his Redhawks side to the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) Championship.
Defender Kyle Walton started twelve times for Western Illinois University. The Fighting Leathernecks were Summit League runners up, coming just short of earning a berth in the 2014 NCAA College Cup Tournament.
Four Strikers players - Vikor Anastasov, Brandon Gutierrez, Cameron Brooks and Ernesto Gaita - played in the OUA. Gaita featured nine times for the CIS National Champions, York University Lions, notching two goals along the way. Gutierrez was on the roster of the CIS silver medal winners, McMaster Marauders. Anastasov was a star striker for Ryerson University, scoring seven times and named an OUA East Division First Team All-Star for 2014.
Kasha Dehdezi and Joshua Paredes-Procter featured for the OCAA Humber Zhawks. Defender Paolo Rogato captured the CCAA National Championship title with his Sheridan College side, after winning Bronze in the OCAA Final Four tournament.
Sigma FC has made name of itself in the Ontario soccer scene due to the sheer number and quality of players they have placed at top NCAA programs. In 2014, a staggering thirteen members of their League1 Ontario roster headed south of the border at the midway point of the season.
The most well-known of that group is striker Cyle Larin. Although his sophomore season at the University of Connecticut was somewhat disappointing from a team standpoint (UCONN failed to advance to the NCAA tournament, despite being considered pre-season favourites to contend for a national title), Larin continued his personal rise. He scored nine goals in sixteen games for UCONN and also took part in a Canadian Men’s National Team Camp in October, where he made a quick impression in a friendly against Colombia, getting one of Canada's few chances on goal. Larin is expected to be a top draft choice in January's MLS SuperDraft.
A total of four Sigma players who played in L1 this season earned spots in the 2014 NCAA College Cup Tournament. Alex Halis and Chris Nanco were key performers for Syracuse University. Nanco has had a particularly strong season, scoring five goals for the Orange, on top of earning an invitation to a Canadian U20 National Team camp this past summer.
Mark Wadid (Penn State) and Richmond Laryea (Akron) also played in the tournament.
The other 2014 Sigma FC players who played NCAA soccer are: Kwame Awuah (UCONN), Mark Anthony Gonzalez (Evansville), Greg Ranjitsingh (Mercer), Jordan Stoddart (Winthrop), Christian Samaniego (Southern Connecticut State), Jordan Hibbert (Adelphi), Justin Stoddart (Lewis & Clark) and Daniel Correa (Notre Dame College of Ohio).
In addition, Manny Morgado played for Sheridan in their CCAA National Championship title-winning season.
Several ANB Futbol players have had solid seasons for their University or College teams.
Justin Broome had a strong freshman year at Hartwick College, and earned a start in the school’s first round NCAA College Cup match vs. Penn State in November.
Julian Santia (Campbell University) and Harry Jawanda (Seton Hill University) also had strong 2014 seasons for their respective schools.
Closer to home, Raheem Edwards followed up his strong play in League1 with a standout season for CCAA National Champions, Sheridan College. Edwards recorded eight goals and added eight assists.
In OUA/CIS play, Adam Hemati and Jackson Tooke had strong seasons for Ryerson Rams. Niklas Bauer played ten games and recorded three goals for Wilfrid Laurier University. Goalkeeper Hayden Armstrong headed out west to play for University of Calgary Dinos.
The League1 Ontario champions saw several players split time between TFC and their school teams this season.
L1 MVP and Golden Boot winner, Molham Babouli, as well as teammate Tarik Robertson were part of the CCAA National Championship winning Sheridan College side. Quante Abbott Hill-Smith and Marcos Nunes starred for Humber College.
Oladapo Afolayan and Mark Rogal played for University of Toronto.
Kevon Black started eighteen games for Duke University and Eli Roubos featured in seven matches in his freshman season with Oregon State, who were eliminated from the NCAA College Cup in the second round.
No League1 team is as closely associated with a post-secondary program as Vaughan. Head coach Carmine Isaaco is also the head of the York Universtiy Lions program and many players on the L1 Cup Champions' Azzurri roster also featured prominently for the CIS National Champions in 2014.
Sixteen members of the Azzurri squad – Colm Vance, Casey D'Mello, Daniel Fabrizi, Arthur Casupanan, Jonathan Lao, Ben Futoriansky, Dena Iezady, Eric Amato, Joey Cicchillo, Daniel Gogarty, Jarek Whiteman, Matt Stinson, Malcolm Loukides, Paulo Alves, Omari Morris, Henry Moody and Devante Walker - were prominent members of the undefeated Lions team.
Two Azzurri players headed south of the border, with Mattieu Laurent (UAB) and Austin Ricci (Oakland) playing important roles for their school teams, which both qualified for the NCAA College Cup Tournament. Oakland was knocked out by Michigan State in the second round of the tournament. UAB suffered a first round exit.