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L1O Men's East Division: The Departed

09/09/2016, 2:30pm EDT
By Lauren Maharaj

Although we witnessed the Eastern division's All-Star men dominated in a 4-2 loss, the result should carry no evidence of an imbalance of talent between the two star-studded divisions.

In fact, the Eastern division - similar to the West - has undergone an exodus of players to respective career progressions, whether it be to university or pro club trials. These new undertakings are a reminder of how important League1 soccer is to the development of the Canadian game.

Although it can be an extensive challenge to narrow down the most important players that have departed the Eastern division, we have attempted to define a short-list fueled by the opinions of the various coaching staff.

Here is just a small portion of the Eastern division's departed players, and where their new endeavors have taken them:

Dayonn Harris (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

Vaughan Azzuri

Dayonn Harris - The forward will return to Penn State for a second consecutive year, looking to undo the unfortunate time lost in his first season due to injury.

He only played six games for Nittany Lions in his first season, starting three of the matches and playing a total of 238 minutes.

For the Azzurri, his ability on the ball and blistering speed has made him a force to be reckoned with, and in turn attracted the attention of the national program. Harris currently represents Canada at the U-20 level.

North Toronto Nitros

Mark Rogal - Rogal is amongst a group of over 20 players that the Nitros have lost to University or other endeavors this fall, and he is one of the most important to the North Toronto outfit.

The Nitros' regular starting keeper and captain, Rogal also represented the club as the League1 Men's East division All-Star starter.

Prior to departure, Rogal wore the Nitros shirt 13 times in 2016, and played a total of 1170 minutes.

He is currently wearing the blue of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, returning for his third year.

Ryan Reid (Photo: Alex D'Addese)

Toronto Skillz

Ryan Reid - This Skillz' midfielder has been praised by his coaching staff as the club's breakout player of the season.

The 19-year-old's growth over the course of the 2016 season has certainly been impressive.

His passing range and vision, along with a strong tactical awareness, has been central to the good work of the Toronto Skillz midfield.

Reid leaves the Skillz for Europe after signing a one-year agreement with Portuguese second division club Eléctrico Futebol.

Reid contributed four goals in 13 appearances prior to departure.

Aurora United

Ethan Danielli - Danielli has been playing the beautiful game since five years old, and has developed into one of Aurora's most reliable talents.

A native of Guelph, Ontario, he committed to local institution University of Guelph five years ago, and four years on was honoured with the Soccer MVP award in 2015-2016.

Danielli carried that momentum forward for Aurora this summer, playing 810 minutes in nine appearances. He is a multi-talented and left footed midfielder with a natural creativity.

Stefan Lamanna (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

Durham United

Stefan Lamanna - Lamanna is another Eastern division talent who has momentarily left behind the shirt of his League1 outfit in exchange for that of his NCAA Division I obligations. 

He will return to the University of Vermont for his senior year, where he will look to build upon his impressive junior term. It was a season that saw the Pickering native appear in 20 matches, starting in 13. He also finished the year ranked second on the team in scoring with five goals and five assists.

For Durham United this past summer, he can boast a similar statistic - netting five goals in eight appearances prior to his departure.

Kingston Clippers

Mackenzie Roach - Entering his freshman year at Niagara University, Roach was a mainstay for Kingston this summer.

Roach's competitive background includes being four-time division champion for St. Theresa Catholic Secondary School. Along with being the side's trusted captain, Roach earned team MVP honors twice.

For Kingston he appeared 14 times this season, loading up a whopping 945 minutes of play.

Ignazio Muccilli (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

Woodbridge Strikers

Ignazio Muccilli - On the cusp of his second year with Jacksonville University, Muccilli is one of the few that has left hometown club Woodbridge Strikers to play university-level competition this fall.

Muccilli had a strong freshman year with the Dolphins, sealing his season as a part of the Atlantic Sun Freshmen Team with 11 appearances.

Head Coach Peter Pinizzotto has tipped the midfielder to be one of the players on the squad to turn professional before long. 

Although the injury bug plagued him this season, his ability and class was evident whenever he hit the pitch for the Strikers, and Woodbridge supporters will have high hope that he can return to League1 action next season.

Masters Futbol

Michael "Jai" Avila - Master's Futbol club used the 2016 season to nurture and expose their youthful talent to the next level of competition, and Avila was at the forefront of this concept.

Avila earned himself a scholarship to St. Lawrence University in Michigan after becoming what Technical Director Junior Groves believes to be one of the best young defenders in the country within his age group.

Equipped with a broad vision and range of passing, confident communication skills, and a bounty of soccer knowledge, Avila is considered by his coaching staff as one of Masters most influential players this year.

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