Kingston FC were quick off the mark to jump into a lead last season and judging by the early press conference on January 28 while surrounded by the worst winter weather seen in the region for many years, the First Division title winner looks well positioned again to bid for even more honours in the Canadian Soccer League.
Kingston attracted plenty of attention in 2013 with a well-earned large fan support and the team responded again to be the finalist in the CSL Championship, losing 3-1 to SC Waterloo, another recent team in Canada’s top professional league.
“This time around, we’d like to repeat the top division win and add the championship trophy as well,” said Lorne Abugov, the club chairman, at the gathering at Queen’s University, the world-renowned teaching institution which has reinforced a successful partnership struck with their local pro soccer club in 2013. Abugov does not rule out the possibility of a strengthened reserve team winning the CSL Second Division.
On January 24 Kingston FC coaches and management took a close look at 30 players invited to bid for place on one of the teams and the club expects to sign six or seven during February. Kingston aims to retain the core of last year’s player pool for the coming season, including French striker Guillaume Surot, the CSL top scorer. While the roster is expected to be finalized by mid-March, there will be one more opportunity for some local players to tryout for any spots still available, and this will lead to the club’s training camp opening on April 24.
The club sports a new-look logo and new minority shareholders were announced as Shawn Geary (McCoy Bus Service & Tours), Catherine MacLeod (Physiotherapy Kingston), and Belleville businessman Jim Allore.
Abugov explained the present position of the CSL which is operating as a private league similar to MLB, the NBA and the NHL while in membership with the new Soccer Federation of Canada.
But what struck a chord most with the media was an announcement that Queen’s Varsity Men’s captain Joe Zupo will be on trial with Exeter City FC in England’s League Two and that Mike Smith and Hugo Delmaire were attending the USL Pro Combine in Florida in January, and that Edgar Soglo, Guillaume Surot, and Jason Massie trialed with Ottawa Fury FC, the newest Canadian member in the U.S.-based North American Soccer League with 11 teams, two of which, Ottawa and Edmonton are Canadian.
The Kingston FC season opener will be during the May 24 weekend and the home opener May 31.