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Five More League1 Players Sign Professional Contracts

By League1 Ontario staff, 03/12/17, 5:00PM EDT


Five more men's League1 players signed professional contracts in the past week, bringing the total number that have moved on from this Canadian division III pro-am league to fully professional clubs around the globe to 64 players - in just two and a half years.

After impressing onlookers in League1's 2014 opening season, Raheem Edwards was picked up by Toronto FC in 2015. His ascent through the club's ranks to a full professional contract with the first team was completed on March 2.

The 21 year-old had impressed in the 2017 pre-season, following up on an outstanding 2016 season during which he was called to the first team and made appearances in Toronto FC's successful campaign to win the 2016 Canadian Championship. 

"Since beginning his soccer journey within the Toronto FC system where he has played with Toronto FC II, Raheem has faced every challenge head on and continues to excel with the opportunities placed in front of him," said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko in the club's press release. 

Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC)

Six days later Toronto FC signed another of their academicians, this time completing a contract with Matthew Srbely that will see him suit up for Toronto FC III in League1, and Toronto FC II in the USL.

Srbely had impressive performances in the 2015 and 2016 League1 seasons for the Reds, and kicked off his professional career by heading off to the 69th edition of the prestigious Viareggio Cup in Tuscany, Italy.

Matthew Srbely (centre) signs with Toronto FC III

FC London had an incredible debut season in League1 in 2016, winning the men's west division before narrowly losing in the Championship final to Vaughan Azzurri.

One big reason for the team's success was the contribution of stalwart Parker Seymour, who had 17 appearances for FC London in 2016 - most of which were 90 minute shifts.

Seymour signed a contract with Swedish third division club Raslatts SK on March 9.

Seymour wasn't the only League1 standout to head to Scandinavia this week, and he wasn't even the only one to head to Raslatts SK.

Master's Football Academy Saints player Sherwin Emmanuel was also picked up by the club based in Jonkoping Sweden on March 12. Emmanuel logged 1,706 minutes over 21 appearances for the Saints in League1 2016 play. 

Finally, League1 All-Star and Sigma FC top striker Leaford Allen signed with second division Swedish club, Tenhults IF on March 11.

Allen led League1 in the scoring charts for long periods in 2016, and the imperious central forward's ability to score consistently was instrumental in propelling Sigma to the west division final.

Allen was also selected as MVP at the 2016 League1 Ontario All-Star match, representing the west division team with aplomb by scoring a brace and guiding them to a 4-2 win over their east division counterparts. 

Allen follows in the footsteps of North Toronto's Abdallah El-Chanti and Aurora's Zakaraie Mahrady, who were both signed to Tenhults IF in the summer of 2016, and will look to continue the club's successful Canadian partnership as Tenhults hunts for promotion to Sweden's top flight.  

Leaford Allen (Tenhults IF/ Sigma FC)