League1 Ontario will add three new teams to the women’s division in 2019, kickstarting what is sure to be an exciting sixth season of the province’s top soccer league.
“We are delighted to enter into our sixth season overall and our fifth season showcasing the best senior women’s players in the province,” said League1 Ontario Commissioner Dino Rossi.
“Since the debut of our women’s division in 2015, we have seen some of our top players represent Canada, as well as several other countries, at the international level and now we are also witnessing a steady stream of our top League1 stars making the move on to professional careers in some great hubs for the game, including Italy, Sweden and France,” Rossi added.
“We are excited to welcome three new squads to the league for 2019 and I am personally very curious to see the next generation of stars that emerge to make a name for themselves at this level.”
Ottawa South United (OSU) and Alliance United will add women’s teams to their existing League1 programs, building off successful beginnings in the men’s division in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
“OSU has demonstrated a commitment over a number of years to seek the best opportunities for players within our club. Adding the League1 women's team to our pathway in 2019 provides a clear and tangible difference for our young, aspiring female players,” noted Club President, Bill Michalopulos.
After finishing in the top half of the men’s table and making the post-season playoffs in just their first League1 season, Alliance United FC will expand their successful model into the women’s division.
“Alliance United FC is thrilled to be adding a women's squad to League1 Ontario for the 2019 season,” commented Alliance United Operations Manager, Kent Green.
“Our men’s squad had a successful inaugural season and we expect our strong crop of female players will similarly challenge the old guard within the league in year one.”
FC Oshawa – a new partnership between Oshawa Kicks Soccer Club (OKSC) and FC Durham Academy – will also join League1 Ontario’s women’s division in 2019, greatly expanding opportunities for elite senior female players in the east end of the GTA by becoming the third team based in the Durham-region.
“This partnership is unique, as it brings together a community club and an academy to feed Oshawa’s top senior women’s talented pathway,” said Will Thurber, OKSC President.
“Both our programs have a long-standing history of providing scholarship opportunities to players making the transition to post-secondary play. This partnership ensures a deep, talented, home-grown player pool providing female players the ability to stay local through the summers after returning from post-secondary play.”
In total, 30 teams will take the pitch across men’s and women’s divisions in 2019 – 14 in the women’s division and 16 in the men’s counterpart. Toronto Azzurri Blizzard, West Ottawa SC, Sanjaxx Lions and Toronto FC III will all step back from League1 involvement in 2019.
“We’ve seen some license-holders step away in the past for periods of time and return at later dates,” said Rossi. “Running senior teams at the pro-am level is a demanding enterprise. We wish those departing clubs the best of luck for the future and we always hold the door open for future opportunities to work together to better the game in Ontario.”
“In their place, we’ve also seen some exciting new teams emerge into League1,” Rossi added, “and anticipate they will all put their own unique stamp on the competition.”
“We’re looking forward to seeing this new character, style and talent enrich our competition in 2019 and beyond.”
The license holders approved for 2019 are as follows:
About League1 Ontario
League1 Ontario is the province of Ontario’s pro-am, standards-based, senior league. Founded in 2014, the league began with a ten team men’s division, which has now grown to 16 teams in the men’s division and includes a separate 14 team women’s division. League1 Ontario serves as a stepping stone between the high-performance youth level and elite amateur and professional levels of the game. Owned and managed by Canadian Soccer Business (CSB) and sanctioned by FIFA through the domestic bodies of Canada Soccer and Ontario Soccer, League1 Ontario’s primary focus is the showcase and development of Canada’s future stars.
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