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Toronto Croatia is Celebrating 60 years of Anniversary
Nov02
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE CANADIAN SOCCER LEAGUE
Dec24
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How Eusebio and a group of Croatian Canadians took North American soccer by storm

A little more than a year ago, Toronto Croatia of the Canadian Soccer League created a documentary film – Toronto Croatia – Jedna Velika Hrvatska Priča – a Great Canadian Story, and the inaugural showing took place in Mississauga on January 17, 2014. An important part of the story was the winning by Toronto Metros-Croatia of Soccer Bowl 76, which was emblematic of the soccer championship of the United States and Canada. Toronto Metros-Croatia, a club formed by a merger of Toronto Metros of the North American Soccer League and a Croatian group representing Toronto Croatia of the National Soccer League (a forerunner league of today’s Canadian Soccer League), attracted a number of soccer stars leading to winning the North American title, including Portuguese superstar Eusébio. The Toronto Metros-Croatia victory for a Toronto team was the first since the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1967. Present at the showing in Mississauga, was Dick Bezic, who was a principal representative of the Croatian group that negotiated the purchase of shares for Toronto Croatia and Bruce Thomas, the major shareholder with the original Toronto Metros. The following article,written by Michael Lewis, ‘How Eusébio and a team of Canadian Croatians took North American soccer by storm’, which appeared in The Guardian on February 11, touches on the trials and tribulations of  the new Toronto Metros-Croatia during the few years the club existed. The team had salaries paid for by their own fans in the basement of a Toronto church, boasted one of the world’s greatest players and secured the first major championship by a Canadian football club. And the Toronto Metros-Croatia managed all this in one tumultuous season, despite being a giant thorn in the side of their own league. During their short four-year existence, the Metros-Croatia proved to be a colorful, intriguing and entertaining team, even if the North American Soccer League would have preferred the club to go away or least change their name. No North American pro football team had an ethnic name associated with it – before or since. “How we kept our sanity through the whole season, I really don’t know,” says Aldo Principe, the general manager of the club in their 1976 championship season. “Our season has been from one extreme to the other. We got lost somewhere in the middle, but we found ourselves in time. No one gave us much of a chance.” In 1975 the NASL was poised take a higher orbit in American professional sports. Pele signed with the New York Cosmos, an event that would open the door to some of the biggest football names on the planet –...

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IT’S MORE AND BETTER IN THE 2015 CSL LINE-UP

There will be more teams in the Canadian Soccer League’s First Division in 2015. The 2014 10-team First Division is expected to increase by at least two for the May kickoff and a six-month long campaign that will stretch to the end of October, possibly early November. The CSL has approved in principle the addition of expansion clubs Scarborough FC and Toronto Atomic. The return of Brantford Galaxy was confirmed earlier. Milton FC, a Second Division team in 2014, will also be in the First Division. “It’s going to be a strong line-up of teams when the final 2015 league formation is announced mid-February,” said Pino Jazbec, the CSL administrator, following an executive meeting recently. The CSL is third tier in Canada, below MLS – which has Canadian teams Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps – and the second tier North American Soccer League, with FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury. The US Pro league will increase its presence in Canada with the entry of reserve team Toronto FC II to join FC Montreal in the Eastern Conference. All three leagues are U.S. based. The CSL will continue to further develop its popular Second Division of reserve teams in 2015. The Second Division is considered an ideal entry for teams requiring a two-stage approach to professional soccer, an environment that has established the CSL over many years as the stepping stone to higher levels. More than 40 CSL players have been selected for various national teams in recent years, mostly at the youth level, and numerous players have moved to higher level professional clubs. And the trend continues today, with opportunities for players such as defender Winston Crozier of York Region Shooters. The Mississauga native has four years of CSL experience and has been invited to join English Premier League club Burnley for trial this coming July. Toronto FC coach Jason Bent commented recently on his experiences as coach of the TFC academy team in the CSL prior to being assigned to the MLS first squad. The highly regarded Bent, a Canadian international midfielder who played for Colorado Rapids in MLS, also in Germany and England before joining Toronto FC, has now been appointed head coach of Toronto FC II. “ I learned a lot in the CSL,” said Bent. York Region Shooters are the defending CSL champions in the upcoming 2015 season, having defeated Toronto Croatia in the final played at Toronto last October 26. The Shooters completed 21 regular season and playoff games undefeated.  ...

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GAMES WORTH MENTIONING IN 2014……and Why

Marin Vucemilovic Grgic scored his first goal of the season for London City on May 24 in a 4-1 loss to Niagara United. The goal kicked off a prolific season for the Croatian-born striker who went on to find the net 19 more times to lead the First Division in scoring and win the goalscoring title for the second time in three years. Sunday May 25 – Forward Leaford Allen marked the opening weekend of the season with a hat-trick when his Brampton City Utd defeated new CSL champions Waterloo on May 25. On the same day, York Region Shooters embarked upon a 21-game unbeaten streak with a 3-2 victory over Kingston FC. Saturday, June 14 – Serbian White Eagles’ striker Milos Scepanovic, a former Canada youth player, led his team with three goals to a 6-0 rout of Burlington SC in the only game played this day. Sunday, June 15 – A match ending in a 4-4 tie played this day between Kingston FC and SC Waterloo had everything, according to photographer Les Jones. A chippy affair, the game had many bookings, a goalkeeper – Imad Hakura of Waterloo – was taken off injured in the second half, there were eight goals including two in the last two minutes, and one player, Drazen Vukovic of Waterloo, scored a hat-trick. With the score at 2-2, Vukovic put Waterloo ahead 3-2 at 83 minutes, Surot of Kingston scored from the penalty spot to tie the game 3-3 at 85 minutes, Vukovic completed his hat-trick to make it 4-3 at 94 minutes and Ryan McCurdy saved the game for home side Kingston, scoring at 95 minutes just before the final whistle. Saturday, June 28 – It took a month for CSL current champions SC Waterloo to register their first victory of the new season this day, a 2-1 win over Serbian White Eagles at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Sunday, June 29 – A 5-0 triumph by North York Astros on this day in 2014 confirmed observations that this was a new Astros, the result topped previous notable away victories when the Astros defeated Portugal FC 4-0 at Brockton Stadium on August 2, 2009 and a 4-1 result over London City at Cove Road a month later. The North York team has experienced lean times of late and may now be on the upturn. Sunday, June 29 – This day was memorable in the Second Division when SC Waterloo reserves ran riot over Serbian White Eagles second squad at Eglinton Flats in Toronto, a 16-0 rout in which Nikola Miokovic led the way with six. On the same day, Kingston FC reserves blitzed Burlington...

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BRANTFORD GALAXY RETURNS TO CSL…..Won championship in first season

Brantford Galaxy, which launched a team in the Canadian Soccer League in 2010 to win the CSL championship in its first season, then took time off in 2012 “to re-group”, will return to professional soccer in 2015. It was an unexpected inaugural season championship victory in 2010, a 3-0 defeat of Hamilton Croatia following a regular season struggle to make the playoffs. Galaxy were crowned champions following a successful playoff run which came at the end of the team’s regular season nine wins in a 24-game schedule, finishing seventh in the 13-team First Division. But the southwestern Ontario side played attractive soccer and games were well-attended with strong community support, including from local government. There was a mission to have local soccer under one umbrella. Brantford Galaxy used three head coaches during the three-year stint – Lazo Dzepina, Ron Davidson and Tomo Dancetovic. The highly regarded Dzepina was head coach during the championship success, then moved to SC Waterloo and guided that team to a CSL Championship victory, also. “We are excited at the thought of returning to pro soccer and look forward to our kickoff in the CSL next May,” said Andrew Pilkington, a staunch supporter of the Brantford team and sports in the community. The CSL board also confirmed a full membership status for Milton SC following a successful 2014 as a playing member in the CSL Second Division. Two additional clubs have applied to join the CSL to kickoff in 2015 and their applications are still under consideration. The CSL is considering a structure of three divisions for its 2015 regular season and a cup competition is also under consideration in addition to the end-of-season playoffs leading to the CSL Championship. York Region Shooters are the current CSL champions following a penalty kick victory over Toronto Croatia at Esther Shiner Stadium last October...

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The CSL This Week – Show #21 (Season Review) – November 6, 2014
Dec10
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