League1 Ontario 2016 Awards Luncheon

Winners at the 2016 League1 Ontario Luncheon held at the Fontana Primavera Event Centre in Vaughan
on Sunday November 27, 2016.

I estimated there were about 120 people in attendance.

Most of the winners had been announced over the last two weeks.  That takes the surprise out of who won but it’s become popular in sports like MLB baseball where giving out one award a day can keep baseball in the headlines well after the season is over.

The All Star teams were presented first with players or their stand-ins receiving diplomas. It was smart with the Men’s Second team naming twenty players so all sixteen teams could have at least one all star.

Women’s First Team All Stars (11 players)

Stephanie Bukovec, Vaughan Azzurri

Tamara Brown, Durham United FA
Meghan Scott, FC London
Diamond Simpson, Woodbridge Strikers
Kira Bertrand, North Mississauga Panthers

Sarah Stratigakis, Aurora United FC
April Syme, Woodbridge Strikers
Alyscha Mottershead, Woodbridge Strikers
Cat Rogers, North Mississauga Panthers

Jade Kovacevic, FC London
Laura Gosse, Durham United FA

Women’s Second Team All Stars (11 players)

Hope Sabadash, Woodbridge Strikers

Malikae Dawes, Woodbridge Strikers
Shannon Wood, Vaughan Azzurri
Kayla De Souza, Durham United FA

Riley Filion, Kingston Clippers
Julia Benatic, FC London
Tori Chia, Darby FC

Sona Makulova, Sanjaxx Lions
Christabel Oduro, Woodbridge Strikers
Jackie GTessier, Kingston Clippers
Nour Ghoneim, Vaughan Azzurri

Men’s First Team All Stars (11 players)

Matt George, Woodbridge Strikers

Cameron Brooks, Woodbridge Strikers
Niba MacDonald, North Toronto Nitros
Bruce Cullen, Durham United FA

Randy Ribeiro, FC London
Kashiff De Jonge, Durham United FA
Joey Melo, North Mississaugha Panthers
Joseph Di Chiarra, Vaughan Azzurri

Leaford Allen, Sigma FC
Elvir Gigolaj, FC London
Jarek Whiteman, Vaughan Azzurri

Men’s Second Team All Stars (20 players)

Anthony Sokalaski, FC London
Matt Zaikos, Sanjaxx Lions

Tyrell Rayne, Masters FA Saints
Jerome Smith, Sigma FC
Jarred Phillips, Vaughan Azzurri
Rocco Romeo, TFC Academy
Thanujan Jeyathilaka, Toronto Skillz
Kevin Dhillon, North Mississauga Panthers

Stephen Almeida, Woodbridge Strikers
Justin Stoddard, Sigma FC
Brandon Mills, Vaughan Azzurri
Dylan Carreirro, Woodbridge Strikers
Khody Ellis, Oakville Blue Devils
Kota Sakurai, TFC Academy
Mackenzie Roach, Kingston Clippers
Celso Carapau, Windsor Stars

Simon Adjei, Aurora United FC
Manny Slewa, Pro Stars FC
Killian Elkinson, North Toronto Nitros
Mario Kovacevic, Vaughan Azzurri

First team players who were there stayed for a group picture.

Next award given was Coach of the Year presented by Ontario Soccer Association technical director Gary Miller.  Michael Marcocccia from FC London was named as the Women’s coach.  Carmine Isacco from Vaughan Azzurri won for the Men.

Golden Boot winners were Jade Kovacevic from FC London for the Women and Elvir Gigolaj from the Men’s FC London.

Goalkeeper of the Year was Stephanie Bukovec from Vaughan Azzurri and Matt George from Woodbridge Strikers who had to put down a pair of crutches to be presented with his trophy.

Referee of the Year was named as David Barrie but I didn’t see any trophy.

Defender of the Year was Tamara Brown of Durham United FA for the Women and Niba MacDonald of North Toronto Nitros for the Men

Young Player of the Year was categorized as being for players under 18 for women and under 20 for men.  Sarah Stratagakis of Aurora United FA (age 17 and returning from the U-20 Canadian National World Cup team that played in Papau New Guinea) won for the Women and Kota Sakurai (age 17) of TFC Academy for the Men.  This season he also played two games for the Toronto FC II USL team and 11 of the 14 games scheduled for their PDL team.

The League MVP awards were given to FC London players Jade Kovacevic and Elvir Gigolaj who had earlier won the Golden Boot awards.

Team awards for League Cup Champions for both Men and Women were Vaughan Azzurri.

Women’s League Champions were FC London and Men’s League Champions were Vaughan Azzurri.

One of the only glitches of the afternoon was the announcement of the Goal of the Year when the projector that had been cycling the videos through the finalists all through the meal stopped working.  Michaela Krampert from North Mississauga for her August 20th goal against Kingston Clippers won over other top three finalists Chelsea Zavitz from FC London for her June 11th goal and Vital Katz of Aurora for her August 13th goal.  Men’s winner was Hilliard Serrao of Sanjaxx Lions for his goal on May 14th against Sigma (actually a 3-1 loss) over Andrew Derayeh of Woodbridge on June 17th against FC London and Randy Ribeiro of FC London for his June 3rd goal against Windsor Stars.  About 80% of the goals on the videos (available on the league website) were long shots over the goalie to the top corner.

I was looking forward all afternoon to the speech by league chair Dino Rossi after he got through the customary “Thank you’s” to staff, players and team officials.  He mentioned he was looking to the next level ‘above’ their own league which I took to mean the new Canadian Premier League which will operate across Canada and is supposed to start in 2018.  He hoped for a women’s league too.  Rossi said L1O is going to be very supportive and that their players and game officials will be able to help their operations. Neither he nor Ron Smale President of the OSA who also went through the same thank-yous mentioned the new league by name.

I was expecting Rossi would announce any new L1O teams that would begin in 2017 and asked him after the event was over but he said that information will be announced at the League meeting in two weeks.  I can wait.

I’d say L1O could help the new league fill quite a few roster spots. Just like players a few years ago had nowhere to go after they were teenagers, now that some of these players in this league like Elvir Gigolaj, the leading scorer, has turned 24, does L1O really want them?  What does he do next year? Try for 30 goals? L1O is making its reputation as an Under 23 league with its rules about how many U-23s must be on game day rosters.  I don’t know enough about the new league’s budgets as to whether or not they can pay an L1O player a living wage if they draft him to play out of province.

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Robin Glover

Robin Glover

Robin has been writing about soccer in the Toronto area for message boards and his own website since the early 1990s in the days of 2400 baud modems to USENET sites. In the 2014 season he attended 76 games in various leagues that played in the GTA area.

Follow Robin on Twitter and on his website

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