Two top-drawer select teams will come together on Wednesday, July 27 at the Ontario Soccer Centre for the inaugural 2016 League1 Ontario Women’s All-Star game.
The best League1 Ontario has to offer will face off against a Quebec Selects side.
Don't wait on tickets, early bird options are closing: http://league1women.bpt.me/
A total of two goalkeepers, six defenders, seven midfielders and five strikers have been selected by League1 officials and coaches.
The coaches leading the charge are from the current trio of table-toppers, Woodbridge Strikers’ Joe Parolini, FC London's Mike Marcoccia, and Durham United’s Ron Clarke and Eugene Alves.
Let's take a closer look at the League1 representatives...
Stephanie Bukovec (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
In goal, we have two of the best in the league. Vaughan Azzurri keeper Stephanie Bukovec will start this match, with Woodbridge Strikers goalie Hope Sabadash named as the backup.
Bukovec, a Belmont University player, has appeared in six matches so far this season and has the fourth lowest goal against average (GAA) with 1.17. At Belmont, she broke the record for best GAA, most saves, most minutes played and shutouts in a single season. In one incredible L1 Cup semi-final performance this season, Bukovec actually played a half as central forward, scoring two goals, before returning to the net for the tiebreaker penalties, when she saved one shot before scoring the match winner.
Her backup, Sabadash, is no stranger to accolades either. She was an NSCAA All-American in 2015 and has won several first team awards as well for Southeastern Louisiana University. She has translated her success in the NCAA with a flawless 0.29 GAA in seven League1 Ontario matches so far.
Madeline Iozzi (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
You can't have good goalkeeping without great defending, and we have that in this All-Star team. Vaughan Azzurri defender Mika Richards, Woodbridge Strikers’ Katharine Herron, Durham United’s Maddie Iozzi and FC London’s Meghan Scott will get the start in a back four.
All six of the defenders selected have or are attending universities, and four of them are competing at the Division I NCAA level.
Two of the starting defenders, Richards and Iozzi, have represented Canada at the youth levels.
Richards has represented Canada at the U-15, U-17 and U-20 level and attended the recent U-20 camp in Mexico on May 22. Iozzi won the silver medal at the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship.
For Woodbridge Strikers’ Katharine Herron and FC London’s Meghan Scott, they will both be freshman at the NCAA level this fall. Herron will be attending Southern Methodist University and Scott will be at Indiana University. Herron has appeared in six games for the Strikers this season, scoring once. Scott has been a key player for London, playing in 11 games and also scoring once.
Durham United’s Iozzi is no stranger to the NCAA scene as well. Iozzi will be attending her fourth year at Syracuse, where she has played in 57 matches so far. In turn, Richards is at Harding University, where she scored five goals in nine games.
The backups for the League1 Ontario Women's team includes North Mississauga and Southwestern University alumni Kira Bertrand (11GP), and Durham United/ Cape Breton University’s 2015 First Team All-Canadian Tamara Brown (10GP, 2G).
Cat Rogers (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
The midfielders for the League1 side have been all over, competing for national teams and winning awards at the university level.
Starting off is North Mississauga’s Cathryn Rogers, who made appearances for the Jamaica U-17 and U-20 team in 2008 and 2010. She is also an alumni of Ohio University, where in 2012, led her school in several categories including goals, assists and points. Rogers was also named to the Second Team All-MAC in 2012. This season she has one goal in 10 games for the Panthers.
Alongside her is Julia Benati of FC London. The Junior from the University of Buffalo was on the MAC All-Freshman team in 2014 and has played impressively for her London team this season. She has four goals in 10 games and is London’s second leading scorer.
Next we have Aurora United’s Sarah Stratigakis. Sarah has represented Canada at the U-17, U-20 and U23 level, and most recently joined the national team at the CFA International Youth Women’s Football Tournament in China. She was also named to the CONCACAF U-20 Best XI in 2015. Currently she has four goals in six games for Aurora.
The last starter in the middle is Woodbridge Strikers’ April Syme, who won many awards while she was at the University of Western Florida. In 2013, she was named to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team, and in 2014 Syme was named to both the Daktroniks and NSCAA All-South Region Second Team and the 2014 All-Gulf South Conference First Team.
This League1 Ontario season Syme has one goal in 12 games.
The bench players for the League1 side include Woodbridge Strikers’ and former Canadian national team player Alyscha Mottershead (8GP, 6G), Darby FC’s Toria Chia (7GP, 1G) and Sanjaxx Lions’ Sona Makulova (6GP, 2G).
Sarah Stratigakis (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
Christabel Oduro (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
The talent certainly doesn't stop at the forward position. League1 will be led by the two top goal scorers this season, in FC London’s Jade Kovacevic (11GP, 15G) and Woodbridge Strikers’ Christabel Oduro (12GP, 12G).
Both Kovacevic and Oduro have many things in common. They have represented Canada at the youth levels, and dominated while they were plying their trade at the NCAA level.
Last fall saw Oduro get a chance to play professionally in the second division in Germany for Herforder SV.
Oduro made five appearances for the Canadian senior team in 2012, and most recently played for the U-23’s. Before that, she played at Memphis University, where she was named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She also led the Conference USA in goals (16) and points (39) in 2011, and in 2012 with 13 goals and 34 points.
Kovacevic also played for Canada, making three appearances for the U-17 team and one for the U-20s. While she was at Louisiana State University in 2012, she was named to the Second Team All-SEC and the SEC All-Freshman team, after she lead her team with six assists in 17 matches. She was then an All-Canadian for Fanshawe in 2015, breaking records like goals in a OCAA season (26), tying the record for most goals by a Fanshawe player, and setting a Canada-wide CCAA 2015 record with 26 goals in ten matches.
Kovacevic and Oduro form a very strong strike force and will be backed up by League1 Ontario 2015 Young Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner, Woodbridge Strikers’ Jessica Lisi (6GP, 10G). Lisi will be a freshman at Memphis University this year.
Durham United and Central Michigan alumni Laura Gosse (10GP, 7G), and Kingston Clippers/ Queens University striker Jackie Tessier (9GP, 8G) complete an impressive set of five strikers offering pace, skill and tactical nous.
Jade Kovacevic (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
Jackie Tessier (Photo: Martin Bazyl)