League1 Ontario

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League1 Ontario
Men's Division
League1 Ontario 2021 logo.png
Organising bodyOntario Soccer Association
Canadian Soccer Association
FoundedNovember 15, 2013
First season2014
CountryCanada
ConfederationCONCACAF
Number of teams21
Level on pyramid3
Domestic cup(s)Canadian Championship
League cup(s)L1 Cup (former)
Current championsMaster's Futbol
(2019)
Most championshipsOakville Blue Devils
Vaughan Azzurri
(2 titles each)
Most L1 CupsVaughan Azzurri (3)
TV partnersOneSoccer (from 2020)
Websiteleague1ontario.com
Current: 2021 League1 Ontario season
Women's Division
FoundedJanuary 2015
First season2015
Number of teams15
League cup(s)L1 Cup (former)
Current championsFC London
(2019)
Most championshipsFC London (3 titles)
Most L1 Cups4 teams (1 title each)
Current: 2021 Women's League1 Ontario season

League1 Ontario (L1O) is a semi-professional men's and women's soccer league in Ontario, Canada, and is sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association and the Ontario Soccer Association as a Division III league in the Canadian soccer league system.[1] The 2021 season will include 20 teams in the men's division and 15 teams in the women's division.

In the Canadian soccer league system, its men's division is behind the Canadian Premier League (CPL) and equal to the Première Ligue de soccer du Québec (PLSQ). The L1O women's division is behind the U.S.-based National Women's Soccer League, which has no Canadian teams but is partially backed by the CSA, with many Canada national team members assigned to NWSL teams. As such, it is roughly equivalent to the Women's Premier Soccer League and United Women's Soccer, which form the unofficial second level of the U.S. women's game; each of those leagues also has one Canadian team. Dino Rossi serves as the commissioner of the league.[2][3] Carmelina Moscato previously served as the commissioner for the women's division from 2019 until the end of 2020.[4]

History[edit]

League1 Ontario was founded on November 15, 2013, in an announcement by the Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) that it would pilot the semi-professional league in 2014 and 2015 as a key pillar of long-term player development in Canada. The league would be administered by DG Sports, who also operate the province's amateur Ontario Soccer League, with Dino Rossi serving as commissioner. OSA President Ron Smale stated that the league's core group of players are to consist of U-23s, with League1 complementing the newly formed Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) elite youth league as a pathway for professional player development.[5]

On April 8, 2014, the OSA revealed its plans for the inaugural season of League1 to feature 10 teams, chosen through a standards-based application process, with the first games to take place during the final weekend in May 2014. The founding 10 clubs would be: ANB Futbol, Durham Power FC, Internacional de Toronto, Kingston Cataraqui Clippers, Master's FA, Sigma FC, Toronto FC Academy, Vaughan Azzurri, Windsor Stars and Woodbridge Strikers.[6]

Dylan Sacramento of Toronto FC Academy scored the first ever goal in the league with a 10th-minute strike against Vaughan Azzurri.[7] In the same game, Mateo Restrepo received the league's first red card.[7]

On July 22, 2014, the league and the Ontario Soccer Association announced the termination of Internacional de Toronto's license agreement due to "failure to comply with agreed-upon league standards,"[8][9] with league matches rescheduled for the season to accommodate the change.

Toronto FC Academy were crowned the inaugural league champions on October 4, 2014 after defeating the Cataraqui Clippers 3–1 to secure the top place in the regular season standings.[10][11] Vaughan Azzurri and Sigma FC contested the inaugural League1 Ontario Cup on October 19, 2014 at BMO Field, with the Azzurri winning the single-game cup final 2–1 to be crowned champions.[12][13]

In January 2015, L1O announced the launch of a women's division that would include seven teams. In the same release the number of men's teams would go up to 12 for the new season.[14] Expansion continued for the 2016 season by adding four teams to each division[15] and the introduction of a conference format in the men's division.[16]

On November 14, 2018, the Canadian Premier League announced its purchase of League1 Ontario. According to L1O commissioner Dino Rossi, L1O would serve as "CPL's official development league."[17]

The league was forced to cancel the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[18][19]

Men's division[edit]

L1O Men's trophy winners
Season Teams Regular season Play-offs L1 Cup
2014 9 Toronto FC Academy Vaughan Azzurri
2015 12 Oakville Blue Devils Woodbridge Strikers
2016 16 Vaughan Azzurri (East)
FC London (West)
Vaughan Azzurri Vaughan Azzurri
2017 16 Oakville Blue Devils (W)
Woodbridge Strikers (E)
Oakville Blue Devils Woodbridge Strikers
2018 17 FC London Vaughan Azzurri Vaughan Azzurri
2019 16 Oakville Blue Devils Master's Futbol
2020 17 Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Competition format[edit]

The League1 Ontario regular season runs from May through October using a single table format, with each team playing one match against all other teams. The top eight teams compete in the league playoffs at the end of the season.[20] Since 2017, the league champion has qualified for the Canadian Championship.

A league cup tournament known as the L1 Cup was played from 2014 until 2018. The knockout tournament ran concurrently with the regular season, with cup games usually taking place during mid-week.

Beginning in 2019, the Supporters Trophy was created by the Rogue Street Elite supporter group of North Mississauga SC to be given to the regular season champions.[21]

Clubs[edit]

Current clubs[edit]

Of the 21 current clubs, 4 are based in Toronto, 10 are based elsewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, and the rest are based in other cities in Southern Ontario. There are no clubs based in Northern Ontario.[note 1]

Men's division
Team City Principal stadium First season Head coach[note 2]
1812 FC Barrie Barrie 2021
Alliance United FC Markham / Scarborough Centennial College 2018 Canada Ilya Orlov
Blue Devils FC[note 3] Oakville Sheridan Trafalgar Stadium 2015 England Duncan Wilde
Darby FC Whitby Whitby Soccer Centre 2018 Scotland David Thorburn
Guelph United F.C. Guelph Alumni Stadium 2021
Hamilton United Hamilton Ron Joyce Stadium 2020[note 4]
FC London London German Canadian FC Stadium 2016 Canada Michael Marcoccia[22]
Master's Futbol Scarborough (Toronto) L'Amoreaux Park 2014 Trinidad and Tobago Rick Titus
North Mississauga SC Mississauga Paramount Fine Foods Centre 2016 Canada Sam Medeiros[23]
North Toronto Nitros Toronto Downsview Turf 1 2016 [note 5] Serbia Marko Milanovic
Pickering FC[note 6] Pickering Kinsmen Park 2014 [note 7] Trinidad and Tobago Paul Martin
ProStars FC Brampton Victoria Park Stadium 2015 Hungary Josef Komlodi
Scrosoppi FC Milton Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School 2021
Sigma FC Mississauga Paramount Fine Foods Centre 2014
St. Catharines Roma Wolves St. Catharines Roma Park – Under Armour Field 2021 Italy Federico Turriziani
Toronto Skillz FC Toronto Birchmount Stadium 2016 Canada Guillermo Prieto
Unionville Milliken SC Unionville (Markham) Azzurri Village 2018 Italy Emanuele Ameltonis
Vaughan Azzurri Vaughan North Maple Regional Park 2014 Canada Patrice Gheisar
Waterloo United Waterloo 2021
Windsor TFC[note 8] Windsor University of Windsor Stadium 2014 Canada Zibby Piatkiewicz[26]
Woodbridge Strikers Woodbridge (Vaughan) Vaughan Grove 2014 Canada Peter Pinizzotto
  1. ^ Thunder Bay Chill, Northern Ontario's only club at a comparable level to L1O, plays in USL League Two.
  2. ^ Unless otherwise noted, this information was obtained from team directories on the league website
  3. ^ Blue Devils FC was known as Oakville Blue Devils FC until the 2021 season
  4. ^ The 2020 season was cancelled delaying their debut to the following year
  5. ^ North Toronto Nitros was on hiatus in 2018 & 2019, and returned in 2020[24]
  6. ^ Pickering FC was known as Durham United FC/FA until the end of 2019
  7. ^ Durham United was on hiatus in 2018 & returned in 2019[25]
  8. ^ Windsor TFC was known as Windsor Stars until the end of 2016


Former clubs[edit]

Former teams
Team City Stadium First season Final season
ANB Futbol King The Country Day School 2014 2015
Aurora FC[note 1] Aurora Stewart Burnett Park 2016 2020
Internacional de Toronto Toronto Lamport Stadium 2014
Kingston Clippers[note 2] Kingston Tindall Field, Queen's University 2014 2016
Ottawa South United[note 3] Manotick (Ottawa) Quinn's Pointe 2017 2019
Sanjaxx Lions Toronto Monarch Park Stadium 2015 2018
Toronto FC III[note 4] Toronto BMO Training Ground 2014 2018
  1. ^ Aurora FC was known as Aurora United during the 2016 season
  2. ^ Kingston Clippers was known as Cataraqui Clippers during 2014 season
  3. ^ Moved to PLSQ from the 2020 season
  4. ^ Toronto FC III was known as Toronto FC Academy from 2014 until 2016

Timeline[edit]

Organization[edit]

Regulations[edit]

League1 Ontario was founded with a series of values, objectives and standards all aimed at furthering the league's stated objective of improving player development in Ontario and Canada. Some of these regulations include:[27]

  • Standards-based club licensing, renewed annually (not a franchise/ownership model). Standards include technical, organizational, facility and financial criteria.
  • Maximum of 3 non-Canadian players per club.
  • 18-man game day rosters must include a minimum of 8 U-23 players.
  • Starting 11 must include a minimum of 4 U-23 players.
  • Maximum of 5 substitutions per match.

Reserve division[edit]

In 2019, L1O launched a men's U21 Reserve Division open to existing League1 Ontario or Ontario Player Development League license holders. The inaugural year will consist of a 12-game summer season and a separate 10-game fall season. Nine teams will participate in the 2019 summer season with a possibility of more teams joining for the fall.[28]

Women's division[edit]

L1O Women's Trophy Winners
Season Teams Regular season Play-offs L1 Cup
2015 7 Durham United FC North Mississauga SC
2016 9 FC London Vaughan Azzurri
2017 11 FC London FC London
2018 13 FC London Durham United FA Woodbridge Strikers
2019 14 Oakville Blue Devils FC FC London
2020 13 Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Competition format[edit]

The League1 Ontario regular season runs from May through September using a single table format, with each team playing one match against all other teams. The top four teams compete in the league playoffs at the end of the season.[29]

A single-elimination cup tournament runs concurrently with the regular season, with cup games taking place during mid-week.


Beginning in 2019, the Ron Smale Cup was created by the supporters group of North Mississauga SC to be given to the regular season champions.[21]

Clubs[edit]

Current clubs[edit]

Currently there are 15 clubs, of which two are based in Toronto, nine are based elsewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, and five are based in other cities in Southern Ontario. There are no clubs based in Northern Ontario.

Women's division
Team City Principal stadium First season Head coach
Alliance United FC Markham / Scarborough Mount Joy & Centennial College 2019 Laura Gosse
Blue Devils FC[note 1] Oakville Sheridan Trafalgar Stadium 2018
Darby FC Whitby Whitby Soccer Centre & Darlington Field 2016 Mirco Schroff
Guelph Union Guelph 2021
Hamilton United Hamilton Ron Joyce Stadium & Tim Hortons Field 2018 Francisco Font
FC London London German Canadian Club 2016 Mike Marcoccia
North Mississauga SC Mississauga Paramount Fine Foods Centre 2015 Jhon Ardila
North Toronto Nitros Toronto Downsview Turf 2020[note 2] Chris Vickers
FC Oshawa Oshawa Civic Stadium 2019 Ron Clarke
Pickering FC[note 3] Pickering Kinsmen Park 2015 Ramin Muhammadi
Tecumseh SC Tecumseh (Windsor) 2021
Unionville Milliken SC Unionville (Markham) Azzurri Village & Mount Joy 2017 Paul Omoghan
Vaughan Azzurri Vaughan North Maple Regional Park 2015 Carmine Isacco
Waterloo United Waterloo 2021
Woodbridge Strikers Woodbridge (Vaughan) Vaughan Grove 2015 David Porco
  1. ^ Blue Devils FC was known as Oakville Blue Devils FC until the end of 2020
  2. ^ The 2020 season was cancelled delaying their debut to the following year
  3. ^ Pickering FC was known as Durham United FA until the end of 2019

Former clubs[edit]

Former teams
Team City Stadium First season Final season
ANB Futbol King The Country Day School 2015
Aurora FC Aurora Stewart Burnett Park 2016 2020
DeRo United Futbol Academy Scarborough (Toronto) L'Amoreaux Park 2018 2019
Kingston Clippers Kingston Tindall Field, Queen's University 2016
Ottawa South United Manotick (Ottawa) Quinn's Pointe 2019
ProStars FC Brampton Victoria Park 2015
Sanjaxx Lions Toronto Monarch Park Stadium 2015 2017
Toronto Azzurri Blizzard Toronto Azzurri Village 2017 2018
West Ottawa SC Kanata (Ottawa) Wesley Clover Park 2017 2018

Timeline[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "League 1 kicks off Ontario soccer season, offering a chance to rise up the ranks". Chat News Today. Canadian Press. April 28, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2019. League 1 Ontario and the PLSQ league in Quebec are sanctioned by the Canadian Soccer Association as Division 3 leagues.
  2. ^ "L1O Commissioners address 2020 cancellation, potential Fall return". League1 Ontario. June 6, 2020.
  3. ^ Thompson, Marty (March 5, 2020). "L1O tweaks make for 'more impactful' 2020 season: commissioners". League1 Ontario.
  4. ^ Jacques, John (December 17, 2020). "Carmelina Moscato Steps Down As League1 Ontario Women's Commissioner". Northern Tribune.
  5. ^ "OSA to pilot semi-pro League1 Ontario in 2014–2015". Ontario Soccer Association. November 15, 2013. Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "OSA announces League1 Ontario teams". Ontario Soccer Association. April 8, 2014. Archived from the original on May 18, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Toronto FC Academy 1 – Vaughan Azzurri 1". League1 Ontario.
  8. ^ "Notification". League1 Ontario. July 22, 2014. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  9. ^ "OSA statement on Internacional de Toronto". Ontario Soccer Association. July 22, 2014. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  10. ^ Tim Kelly (October 6, 2014). "Toronto FC Academy 3 – Kingston Cataraqui Clippers 1". League1 Ontario. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  11. ^ "TFC Academy Triumphs". Toronto FC. October 4, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  12. ^ Hylton, Kamal (October 20, 2014). "L1 Cup Final: Vaughan Azzurri 2 – Sigma F.C. 1". League1 Ontario. Archived from the original on November 4, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  13. ^ Kamal Hylton (October 19, 2014). "Vaughan Azzurri crowned 2014 League1 Cup champions". Red Nation Online. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  14. ^ "League1 Ontario Announces 12-Team 2015 Men's Division". League1 Ontario. Archived from the original on April 17, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  15. ^ "League1 Ontario Announces Eight New Teams For Upcoming Season". League1 Ontario. Archived from the original on December 21, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  16. ^ "League1 Ontario growing again in 2016". League1 Ontario. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  17. ^ "Canadian Premier League acquires League1 Ontario". Sportsnet. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  18. ^ Thompson, Marty (June 6, 2020). "League1 Ontario's 2020 'Summer season' cancelled, officials target Fall start". League1 Ontario.
  19. ^ Thompson, Marty (September 4, 2020). "League1 Ontario cancels 'Fall season' plans for 2020". League1 Ontario.
  20. ^ "2018 League1 Ontario Season To Feature New Format, Divisional Configuration And Several Exciting New Additions". League1 Ontario. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Supporters Like No Others". League1 Ontario. September 13, 2019.
  22. ^ "Marcoccia announced as 2018 League1 Head Coach". FC London. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  23. ^ "May 5, 2018 League 1 Ontario—North Mississauga Panthers vs Pro Stars FC game report (by Rocket Robin)". Rocket Robbin Soccer in Toronto. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  24. ^ "Three New Teams Join 2020 League1 Ontario Men's And Women's Divisions". League1 Ontario. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  25. ^ "Durham United FA Return to League1 Ontario Men's Division for 2019". League1 Ontario. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  26. ^ "Windsor TFC finds new head coach". iHeartRadio. CKLW. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  27. ^ "League1 Ontario Presentation, April 9, 2014" (PDF). Vaughan Azzurri. April 9, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 17, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  28. ^ "League1 Ontario Announces Men's U21 Reserve Division". League1 Ontario. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "2018 League1 Ontario Season To Feature New Format, Divisional Configuration And Several Exciting New Additions". League1 Ontario. Retrieved March 14, 2018.

External links[edit]