In a move that Sigma FC Technical Director, Bobby Smyrniotis calls a key initiative to ensure continued talent development within the province of Ontario and within SIGMA FC, the academy was introduced on Tuesday April 8th as an inaugural club within the Ontario Soccer Association sanctioned League1 Ontario. In line with the CSA's strategic plan (2014-18) the new Ontario based high performance league will be the top senior domestic league in the country.
"League 1 Ontario is a new initiative from the OSA to provide the most important piece in player development, and one often overlooked in many organizations. That is a first team at the top of a quality academy program, in order for both developing players and coaches to strive for. This league will be new and with everything new comes some bumps, but it has the ability to provide a viable solution within the province for the talented pathway of players for the ultimate benefit of our national team," said Smyrniotis.
Smyrniotis considers the move into League1 Ontario as SIGMA FC's continued evolution into higher competitive avenues for its players.
"For us it is a natural progression for our structure which has, since day one, provided 1st team soccer for our players. In the structure of an academy it is very important to have a "top" and over the years our OSL Elite team has served this role quite well. With our inclusion into League1 Ontario we will now have two very good senior age platforms for our players to perform and develop as they progress into and through the next level of the game."
See the League1 launch release below which includes participating teams.
For more information on League1 Ontario, check out their new website, or follow them on twitter.
OSA ANNOUNCES LEAGUE1 ONTARIO TEAMS
VAUGHAN, ON (Tuesday, April 8, 2014) -- The Ontario Soccer Association announced the 10 organizations accepted into the inaugural season of League1 Ontario, the province's semi-professional men's league. Organizations were chosen through a standards-based application process.
"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," OSA President Ron Smale said.
"This league is designed to bridge a gap in Ontario's talented player pathway on the men's side," League1 Ontario Chairman Dino Rossi said. "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."
The 10 League1 Ontario teams are as follows:
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."
League1 will kick off during the last weekend of May 2014. The location for the inaugural match and the teams that will take part are to be announced.
Stephanie J. Geosits