Two expansion teams, FC Vorkuta and Royal Toronto FC, will give a new-look to the Canadian Soccer League 2017 kickoff set for the weekend May 26 -28.
Eight teams will form a strong CSL First Division for a five-month long regular season campaign, to be followed by playoffs leading to the Givova Championship Cup Final early October.
Vorkuta FC, formed in Toronto in 2008, derives its name from a Russian town situated just north of the Arctic Circle. The local group adopted the name as a dedication to that Russian community and its troubled past, and to represent the Russian speaking community in Canada.
Vorkuta FC played in the early days in a downtown Toronto senior amateur league before moving to the northern outskirts of Thornhill and Richmond Hill, winning league title wins along the way. Players being signed for the CSL team are from the broader Eastern Europe and Canada.
Samad Kadirov has been an ever present force in the development of the Vorkuta team both on and off the field, while lawyer Igor Demitchev has been a leading sponsor to help move the club into the CSL, Canada’s only professional soccer league.
Royal Toronto FC has a strong academy background with a reputation for skills training and emphasizing a lifestyle for young players aiming to make an impression at higher levels. It’s a ‘total preparation’ attitude at Royal Toronto – being ready when the opportunity comes along at the professional level in Canada and elsewhere.
Dario Brezak and Luka Majstorovic are the principals in a club that’s now reached a stage of adding a professional dimension to the organization, ready to step into the tough Canadian Soccer League. Each has experience with several CSL clubs, including Toronto Croatia, Milton and Toronto Atomic
“We want our young academy players to be in a position of taking advantage of an opportunity that may come their way from Europe and other parts of the world and playing in the CSL is going to provide that necessary experience as they interface and eventually play with our professionals,” explained Brezak.
Returning teams in the CSL First Division from last season are Brantford Galaxy, Milton SC, Scarborough SC, Serbian White Eagles, York Region Shooters, while SC Waterloo is back after using 2016 to reorganize, and new teams FC Vorkuta and Royal Toronto FC rounding out the eight.
The CSL Second Division, considered a developmental loop for players moving into professional ranks, has in its 2017 league formation Brantford Galaxy B, Burlington SC, London City, Royal Toronto FC B, Serbian White Eagles B, Ukraine United, FC Vorkuta B and SC Waterloo B.
Serbian White Eagles are the current CSL title holders following their championship victory over Hamilton City at Birchmount Stadium last October, while the York Region Shooters reserve squad defeated Toronto Atomic reserves to capture the Second Division championship.