League1 Ontario, Ontario's regional division III pro-am men's and women's senior league, today unveiled its 2017 men's and women's regular season schedule.
"The release of a new League1 Ontario schedule brings with it excitement and anticipation, and it is my sincere belief that the 2017 season is poised to be our best yet," said League1 Ontario commisioner Dino Rossi Jnr.
The fourth season in League1's existence is set to kick off the weekend of April 29 with eight matches featuring all 16 men's teams, while the women's season will commence the weekend of May 5 with five matches.
In total, the League1 season will span 315 matches until the beginning of October, featuring 27 of the best senior men's and women's teams in the province of Ontario.
"We are very pleased to have expanded our geographic footprint to include teams in the Ottawa area for the first time, and to see our women’s division continue to grow - now featuring a total of 11 teams," added Rossi.
Rossi confirmed that the champion of League1 Ontario's men's division will have a special surprise in store following the season.
"The champion of our men’s division in 2017 will earn direct qualification into the first round of the 2018 Canadian Championship competition, which is a huge boost to our league," he said.
Some tantalizing opening weekend matchups are in the making on April 29, with 2016 men's champions Vaughan Azzurri hosting at McNaughton Turf against a very strong Durham United FA side; 2016 men's west division champions FC London travelling to Kia Training Ground to face TFC III - a new look team featuring players from the club's erstwhile PDL team as well as new talent, and 2015 champions Oakville Blue Devils hosting perennial powerhouse academy, Sigma FC, at Sheridan College.
On the women's side, the May 5th opening weekend is also full of highlights: 2016 L1 Cup champions Vaughan Azzurri travel to face debutante League1 club West Ottawa SC at Beckwith Park on May 5; a clash of the titans on May 6 as 2015 champions Durham United FA host cross-town rivals Woodbridge Strikers at the Pickering Soccer Complex, and the legendary Toronto Azzurri Blizzard return to senior play on May 7 versus the mighty Sanjaxx Lions at Azzurri Village.
"I can’t wait to see what story lines emerge in 2017," concluded Rossi. "Which players will emerge to be our top stars? And who will be hoisting trophies at season’s end?"