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Justin Soscia is a taller than avarage16 year old centre back who feels very comfortable playing for York Region Shooters reserves in the CSL Second Division where the pace is a bit quick and things can get a little physical.


But the rigours of Second Division CSL soccer is precisely why he played there during the CSL season just ended, and why he is now in Italy in a high level academy environment connected to Empoli FC, a Serie B team formed in the Tuscany region of Italy more than 90 years ago. Justin Soscia one of eight CSL players invited from a larger group to stay on for further coaching and to train with coaches from the Empoli team.


York Region Shooters have a relationship with a company called Italian Soccer Management (ISM) which partners with Empoli FC for camps and scouting of players and Soscia was spotted by Luis Pomares of Empoli during a recent visit to Canada.


“I’ve always encouraged Justin to play at a level higher than his age and it’s paying off,” said Tony Soscia, Justin’s father. The elder Soscia was explaining his son’s successful past season in the CSL and the opportunity to continue with the ISM program in Italy.


Other CSL players now in Italy for an extended stay into December are Blerie Lame, Maurizio Ragone, Jesse Rogers, Michel Downey and Marcello Tantalo of York Region and O’Neil Spencer, Nathan Harlow and Nicholas Okot from SC Waterloo.


Anita Kovacevic of the Shooters organization and manager of the contingent of players that made the trip from southern Ontario, emphasizes that a feature of the ISM/Empoli program is the continuation of a young player’s education while he is in training and being scouted. “ Players from the ages 14 to 18 are able to complete their high school diploma and, most importantly, gain Italian status which allows them to sign professionally,” she explained.




The CSL congratulates referee  Silviu Petrescu for being named the MLS 2012 Referee of the Year. The Kitchener native has officiated regularly in the Canadian Soccer League for several years and in recent times has been considered one of Canada’s top match officials. Petrescu, 44, a FIFA referee since 2002, is the first Canadian match official to receive the award.


Montreal Impact Academy midfielder Zakaria Messoudi, who played in the CSL Championship Final on October 27, has been included in Canada’s U-20 roster for the 11-day camp in the USA and Costa Rica. The academy’s Maxime Crepeau, who did not play in the final, is also in the U-20 national team selection.


The Impact also have a number of academy players in national youth team projects including the selection of midfielders Yacine Ait Slimane, (he played in the CSL final), and Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare. Both are included in the Canadian youth camp now underway in California.



Author: CSL

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