The official announcement and presentation took place this afternoon at the OSA's Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario and was attended by the Cataraqui Clippers' technical director Chris Eveleigh and former Kingston FC player, Jason Massie.
Dino Rossi, OSA Board member and chairman of League1 Ontario stated "Our main goal for this league is to fill the talent gap in our soccer system." Benito Floro, head coach of the Canadian Men's National Team stated that, "for us, this league is the future of Canadian soccer."
I spoke with Chris Eveleigh last week about the Clippers' plans for their upcoming season, which will begin May 31, 2014 at 11am at the Ontario Soccer Centre against the MFA Saints. This competition will be the top level of sanctioned competitions in the province of Ontario, and the Clippers have withdrawn their second place finishing team from the OCSL's Men's C1 division from 2013 in order to field their League1 Ontario team.
The league will kick off on Friday, May 30 at 8pm at the OSA's Soccer Centre with a match between the TFC Academy and Vaughan Azzurri.The Clippers are hoping to have home games on the weekends of their Ambassador Cup tournaments, July 5th and July 19th, as well as their Soccerfest weekend, June 21st.
The team currently has a core of ten players and is looking to finalize their roster of eighteen after open tryouts at the Invista turf field on the evening of Tuesday, April 22. This tryout is open and free of charge, but you must RSVP to Chris Eveleigh in advance.
|Eveleigh and Massie at the L1O|
Eveleigh's main goal for the team is to make it a "community team," and by that, he refers to sponsors, players, and coaches primarily. His hope is that all of the team's players will be from Kingston and its surrounding areas. They are also looking to use players from within their own club, especially the newly promoted OYSL U17 team coached by Mark Stanley, as callups as needed and also draw from the GKSSA, the local men's soccer league. One of the team's sponsors is the Kingston Athletic Therapy Centre, which will be acting as physiotherapists and strength conditioning for the entire club.
The ten teams involved in League1 Ontario are mostly located in the Greater Toronto Area for this season, with the Cataraqui Clippers and Winsdor Stars being the outliers. The other teams involved include the Toronto FC Academy, Sigma FC, Vaughan Azzurri, ANB Futbol, Durham Power FC, Masters FA, Internacional de Toronto, and Woodbridge Strikers. This list is notable due to the inclusion of private soccer academies in Toronto FC Academy, Sigma FC, ANB Futbol, Durham Power FC, and Masters FA.
There are plans to expand League1 Ontario to include a women's division, hopefully, by the 2015 season. Whether the Clippers will be involved in that remains to be seen.
The full details from the OSA, including the schedule, will soon be available at the OSA's League1 Ontario website.