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Men's 2016 East Division All-Stars Roster: A Closer Look

08/02/2016, 9:00pm EDT
By Anthony Gallo

After a successful League1 Ontario Women’s All-Star match, we are lined up to enjoy the best male players both divisions have to offer. The Western All-Stars will face off against the Eastern All-Stars on Wednesday, August 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Leading the way for the East is Woodbridge Strikers head coach Peter Pinizzotto and Durham United coach Sanford Carabin. On the West side, we have FC London’s Mario Despotovic and Sigma FC coach Bobby Smyrniotis.

A total of two goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and four forwards will represent the East on Wednesday. Let’s take a closer look at who will line up for the Eastern All-Stars...


Matt George (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

Goalkeepers:

The East division will be thankful to have two very solid keepers on their side. Starting in net is Woodbridge Strikers goalkeeper Matt George, who comes in with the second lowest goals against average (GAA) of goalies who have played at least five games (0.92). George has brought his veteran presence to the already talented and experienced Woodbridge team. He had a stint at second division Hungarian side Csakvar FC before he made the move to League1 Ontario and was a 2012 OUA All-Star for Laurentian University. He is also the 2015 League1 Ontario Golden Glove holder.

Behind George is North Toronto Nitros keeper Mark Rogal. Rogal has put some solid numbers up for the first year Nitros team, recording a 1.36 GAA in 11 games and a 5-3- 3 record.

Rogal is part of the University of Toronto team that has a partnership with North Toronto. He has a 5-1- 1 record and three clean sheets for University of Toronto Blues, and attended a Canada U-18 Camp in 2012.


Niba MacDonald (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

The Backline: 

Just like their goalkeepers, the League1 Ontario East division side has a solid defensive group to work with in this All-Star match.

Two Woodbridge defenders in Stephen Almeida and Cameron Brooks have made the squad, and for good reason. The two have been a key part in why Woodbridge has given up a league low 11 goals in 14 matches thus far in 2016, and ensured the Strikers have held the best defensive record for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well. 

Starting the match will be Almeida (14GP, 2G) and he has been a key player for Woodbridge, thanks to his ability to push up and still contribute on the defensive side. He has had trials with a number of professional teams in Europe. Brooks, whho (14GP, 1G) will start the match on the bench, is a Laurentian University alumni and an OUA All-Star in all four years at the school.

Speaking of solid defensive players, we have North Toronto Nitros captain, Niba Macdonald, in the starting lineup. Macdonald is an import from Cameroon for the Nitros and has been a rock in the back for this North Toronto team. Known for his high work rate, Macdonald has netted three goals in 12 games so far this season.

Alongside the defensive starters is League1 Ontario 2016 L1 Cup winner and Vaughan Azzurri defender, Nyal Higgins. Higgins (5GP) has done a lot of hard work this season, and will be entering his first year of NCAA soccer after making the move to Division I school Oakland University.

Finishing up the Eastern starters is Durham United's Bruce Cullen. Cullen (9GP, 3G) is a former Robert Morris defender, who led the Northeast conference with nine assists in 2013, and was part of the Northeast Conference First Team that same year.

On the bench, we have Kingston Clippers defender, Eric Koskins. Koskins (14GP, 3G) is a former Queens University player and has now made the jump to coaching, as he was named as the assistant coach for the Queen's men's team.


Simon Adjei (Photo: Martin Bazyl)


Bruce Cullen (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

Midfielders:

The Eastern All-Stars have talent all over the place, and it continues in the midfield. Starting off for the East is former Queens Park Rangers youth player and Woodbridge Strikers midfielder, Dylan Carreiro.

Carreiro (11GP, 3G) has spent the last two years in Scotland with Dundee United. After joining the team, he was sent on loan to second division side Arbroath FC and scored five goals in 11 appearances in 2014/15. Carreiro also saw action with Canada at the U-16, U-18 and U-20 level, and was a part of the U-23 Canadian team that competed for a berth in this year's Summer Olympics in Rio.

Next to Carriero, we have Vaughan midfielder Jarek Whiteman. The Azzurri midfielder has been a standout for his York University team, and a key part in their OUA and CIS domination. Whiteman (10GP, 6G) helped the team win the CIS Championship in 2008 and again in 2014 and 2015. He would help them in their OUA quest in 2008, in which they lost in the final. However, he would win the Ontario University Championship in 2014 and 2015.

Whiteman also was named the OUA West MVP in 2014 and a CIS First Team All-Canadian that same year.

Rounding off the starters are two Durham United midfielders in Stefan Lamanna and Eddie Lay. Lamanna (7GP, 5G) has translated his strong play in midfield for Durham to his University of Vermont team. In 2015, Lamanna was named to the America East All-Conference Second Team and scored five goals and five assists in 20 games last season. He also attended Houston Baptist University for two seasons prior to joining Vermont.

Eddie Lay (10GP, 4G) enters this match to replace his York teammate Jonathan Lao, who will unfortunately be unavailable for this match. Lay was selected by League1 Ontario officials and coaches to replace Lao, and for good reason. He has been a part of that strong York team with Vaughan's Whiteman, and will enter his second year with York. Lay was used mostly as a bench player for the reigning CIS and OUA Champions, but still managed to make 10 appearances last season.

On the bench, we have Masters FA and former University of Toronto player, Tyrell Rayne. Rayne (11GP, 5G) tallied two goals in 12 games in 2012 for U of T. Next to him, we have Toronto Skillz midfielder Ryan Reid (10GP, 4G), who has been a standout performer for the new team in Toronto.


Kashiff De Jonge (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

Forwards:

The East division can be thankful for the strikers they have named to this All-Star team. First up, we have North Toronto's Kilian Elkinson. Elkinson is a Bermuda Senior International, and plays for University of Toronto. He was named the OUA East MVP in 2014 and named to the OUA East Second Team All-Star team that same season. He continued his strong 2014 campaign with a CIS First Team All-Canadian nod.

Elkinson has been a reliable player for the Nitros this season, appearing in six matches and scoring seven goals.

Lining up next to Elkinson is Aurora United athletic striker, Simon Adjei.  Adjei (11GP, 8G) joins the new team from Aurora via the partnership the club has with a Swedish football management group, Lank.

Before joining League1 Ontario, Adjei was plying his trade with Swedish third division side Husqvarna FF. It is safe to say that Adjei has had a comfortable transition to League1.

On the bench for the Eastern All-Stars are Durham United's Kashiff De Jonge (11GP, 6G). De Jonge was part of Durham College in 2013 and named an OCAA All-Star that year. Next to him is Kingston Clippers striker, Andrew Martin. Martin (14GP, 4G) has been at Queen's University for the past three seasons, appearing in 36 matches and scoring five goals.


Jarek Whiteman (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

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