February 5, 2015--League 1 Ontario Press Conference (by Rocket Robin)

Details of the Thursday February 5th, 2015 League 1 Ontario press conference held 
at the downtown Toronto Holiday Inn at 11:45am.

The head table consisted of Ron Smale (president of the Ontario Soccer Association), 
Johnny Misley (new executive director the of the Ontario Soccer Association), 
Benito Floro (head coach of the Canadian Nation Men's team) 
and Dino Rossi (chairman of League 1 Ontario).  

Ron Smale called the meeting to order at exactly 12:00pm as the 
conference was being simulcast on Livestream over the internet.
He thanked Dino Rossi and others for the success of the league 
in 2014--its inaugural year.  He is also pleased to announce the 
new men's teams and the new women's league.

Rossi welcomed us and introduced the head table and some observers 
that had travelled from British Columbia to study this Ontario league.  
He read the Ontario league mandate.  He said he was proud of the excellent 
product on the field.  Some of the players are now making noise (although 
he didn't name any specific player) including the #1 pick in the MLS draft 
[Cyle Larin of Sigma FC] and others who are trying out for higher clubs 
in pro leagues around the world.  He is proud to say the league is growing.  
He then invited Benito Floro to introduce the men's division.

Floro offered his congratulations.  He said it was very important to have 
leagues like League 1 to develop players.  He has invited several League 1 
players to try out for Canadian national teams at different age levels 
and expects more players in the future.  He wished all the teams good luck 
and promised he and his staff will follow all the teams.  (He is very soft 
spoken and just audible. I'll have to play back the Livestream and see 
if the mic picked him up).  

The Men's teams:  
1. ANB Futbol
2. Durham United FC
3. Kingston Clippers (no rep was here)
4. Master's Futbol
5. Sigma FC
6. Toronto FC Academy
7. Vaughan Azzurri
8. Windsor Stars (no rep was here)
9. Woodbridge Strikers

and the new teams:
10 Oakville Blue Devils
11 Pro Stars Football
12 Sanjaxx Lions

Johnny Misley said it was an exciting day for soccer and thanked Rossi 
for his work.  He said the women's division would be a pipeline to the 
national team.  He then played a video of Canadian  
women's national team coach John Herdman who right now is in British 
Columbia and congratulated the launch of the new league.

Intro of the women's teams:

1. ANB Futbol
2. Durham United FC
3. North Mississauga
4. Pro Stars FC
5. Sanjaxx Lions
6. Vaughan Soccer Club

The press conference ended by 12:18pm.  Nice and quick but perfect timing 
as within five minutes a fire alarm started ringing and lights blinking 
constantly for the next fifteen minutes.

There were photo ops at the front and a lunch table at the back.
The group shot eventually squashed everyone within the width of most 
people's cameras but somehow ended with Floro partially blocked 
in the back row. 

Attendance could have been up to 100 but more than 90% were league execs.  

I realized that there were other questions I wanted answered.  
The folder that we were given (nothing I don't remember reading from the 
league web site) outlined the starting dates of the season.
I asked Rossi an obvious question which was how many games would each team play?  
He said with 12 men's teams playing a home and away regular season schedule that 
would mean 22 games (more than last years 9 teams equals 16 games) and that means 
(he said the exec comittee is still deciding) maybe smaller groups in the Cup 
competition or a straight knock-out system.
The Women's division with 6 teams will have a 15 game regular season (each team 
plays each other three times each) and their Cup competition may be two groups 
of three so..."will try that every team will get in 19 games).   He said that 
both the men's and women's divisions will have the Cup competition end in August 
so that each team will be at their strongest before their best players go back 
to university/college.  

With the new Ontario Soccer Centre field having its main tenant as the new 
Toronto FC II USL Pro League team, ANB Futbol who played most of their home games 
at the old field last year will be bumped to County Day School (they played a few 
games their last season).  It's possible Vaughan Azzurri may play some of their 
late season games at the new field because they don't always have access to dressing 
rooms once the hockey season starts.  

Rossi finished answering my questions by agreeing my observation that in their second 
year now that the league has more time to get organized there'd be less 'Wednesday 
at 9:00pm' games and better starting times for games.

A brief chat with the execs from North Mississauga who are new to the league this 
year and are only running a women's team (they are a co-ed organization) say they 
will be playing at the Hershey Centre fields in Mississauga and may work out some 
double headers with Sigma Academy FC (who only run men's/boy's teams).  

I spoke to Duncan Wilde (head coach) who has reinstated the new/old Oakville Blue 
Devils franchise which won the CPSL championship in 2005 (I remember).  I watched 
Toronto Lynx since they got started in 1997.  They were playing in PDL since 2007 
and the travelling to US cities like Chicago was a burden.  Their execs had been thinking 
of joining League 1 Ontario and now was the time.  They have an affiliation with the 
Oakville Soccer Club but will still have and run their own Lynx Academy.  In this way 
they will have enough players to draw on for their September and October games after 
they lose players returning to school in August.  He is well aware of the league
rule of only having three imports on the team--while in the PDL they maxed out at the
nine import limit he said to be competitive with the other Ontario PDL franchises who
attracted the best local players.  The Lady Lynx have left the W-League 
as have all the Ontario based teams.  The Lady Lynx are expected to join League 1 next 
season but this year will operate in one of the lower leagues in Ontario.  

Stuart Neely was there for TFC Academy but he'd left before I could ask him about
a list of senior Academy players who have moved on or upward (perhaps TFC II?) from 
last year's championship team.

There wasn't any mainstream media presence today.  Just some podcasters and message 
board writers.  Only video coverage outside the Livestream was Anthony Totera and his 
Red Card Productions doing a few interviews.    

Rocket Robin

Photo of league executives and team officials of League 1 Ontario Men's and Women's teams.

back to 2015 League 1 Ontario Men's index

back to 2015 League 1 Ontario Women's index