Ontario launches provincial semi-professional men’s league
Posted on 8 April 2014 in Around the Soccer World
On 8 April, the Ontario Soccer Association officially launched its new provincial semi-professional men’s league – League1 Ontario – with the announcement of the 10 organizations that would take part in the inaugural season.
“Canada Soccer is thrilled to see this standard-based provincial league created,” said Victor Montagliani, Canada Soccer President. “This exciting initiative is fully aligned with the recommendations we adopted following the study on Division II soccer viability in Canada and Canada Soccer’s vision as presented in the 2014-18 Strategic Plan Leading a Soccer Nation. We are confident it will become a fantastic vehicle to link and harmonize our player development structure for the benefit of Canada’s up-and-coming athletes.”
“We believe that League1 Ontario is critical in following the Canadian Soccer Association’s Strategic Plan which calls for provincial semi-professional leagues across the country,” said OSA President Ron Smale.
"This league is designed to bridge a gap in Ontario's talented player pathway on the men’s side,” said League1 Ontario Chairman Dino Rossi. “To this point we have not been able to adequately address the needs of our top players once they have exhausted their opportunities at the highest levels of youth soccer. League1 will go a long way to correcting this issue."
League1 Ontario will feature 10 teams in its inaugural season, set to kick off during the last weekend on May 2014. The teams, selected through a standard-based application process managed by the OSA, are: ANB Futbol, Durham Power FC, Internacional de Toronto, Kingston Cataraqui Clippers, Masters FA, Sigma FC, Toronto FC Academy, Vaughan Azzurri, Windsor Stars, and Woodbridge Strikers.
Toronto FC Academy, Vaughan Soccer Club (home of the Azzurri) and Woodbridge Strikers Soccer Club are members of the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) which will also launch in 2014. Durham Power FC is operated by Pickering Soccer Club, which is also a member of the OPDL.
ANB Futbol, Masters FA and Sigma FC are OSA Recognized Non-Club Academies.
"I am very proud that, in our first year, this league will bring together several of the top organizations in the province, which boast some of Ontario's leading technical professionals,” Rossi added. “There is consensus that League1 will always prioritize the advancement of our top domestic players and that young players will be given ample opportunities to develop and thrive."
The location for the inaugural match and the teams that will take part are to be announced.