Serbian White Eagles FC
|Full name||Serbian White Eagles Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Sons of Serbia,
|Founded||1968, as Hamilton Serbia|
|Ground||Centennial Park Stadium|
|Head coach||Uroš Stamatović|
|League||Canadian Soccer League|
|2014||Regular season: 6th
|Website||Club home page|
The team's home kit is all white commemorating the white double-headed eagle which appears on the Serbian flag while the away colours are red-blue-white commemorating the tricolour of the Serbian flag. The colour white also symbolizes purity and innocence. The club also has teams in the Canadian Soccer League Reserve Division and the Ontario Soccer League.
- 1 History
- 2 Honours
- 3 Retired numbers
- 4 Club management and technical staff
- 5 Managerial history
- 6 Notable players
- 7 Captains
- 8 Year-by-Year in Professional Competition
- 9 International friendlies
- 10 Shirt sponsors and manufacturers
- 11 Gallery
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The Serbian White Eagles were established in 1968 (although earlier believed to be in 1970) under the name of Serbia and the club was based in Hamilton, Ontario for some time. In these beginnings, the club was a semi-professional club in the National Soccer League, until 1980. The team qualified for the 1975 CONCACAF Champions' Cup where they lost to Mexican team CF Monterrey in the first round after a brawl on the pitch for which the team received a suspension. In 1980, the Serbian White Eagles withdrew from the league, becoming an amateur club in the process.
From 2006 to 2013, the Serbian White Eagles played their home games at Centennial Park Stadium in Etobicoke, the western portion of the city of Toronto. In 2014, they played their home games at Lamport Stadium. In 2015, they returned to Centennial Park.
They remained an amateur club until February 2006, when they joined the CSL, becoming the most successful expansion club in the league's history. Prior to the start of the 2006 Canadian Soccer League season, it was announced that the legendary Dragoslav Šekularac would become head coach of the expansion side with first assistant being Stevan Mojsilović. Other big names were brought in as well to help re-build the team. These included (among others): club legend Mike Bakic as president of the club, the director of player personnel was another club legend Mike Stojanovic, the general manager was Ken Stanojević who (along with Gojko Paić) was GM during the club's heyday in the 1970s while the director of football was Nenad Stojkov. This was Šekularac’s second stint with the White Eagles having already played for and coached them in the past. With seasoned internationals being brought over from Serbia and the rest of Europe, the team was set.
Šekularac's stint, though short-lived, was not without success. The club was a hit in its first season, finishing first in the International Conference with 55 points and first overall (tallying both conferences). In the regular season, Šeki guided the club to 17 wins, 1 loss and 4 ties with a whopping goal differential of 66:13.
The Eagles advanced to the knockout-stage, easily beating Toronto Supra Portuguese in the quarterfinals with a score of 3-0 and also easily beating the Windsor Border Stars in the semifinal 6-1. The fairy-tale season was almost brought to a Cinderella end but the Serbian White Eagles lost to the Italia Shooters in the final by a score of 1-0. The Serbian White Eagles were embraced by the Serbian Canadian community and averaged the highest attendance of any team in the CSL.
Some changes were made prior to the 2007 season. 2006 starting goalkeeper Dušan Belić was promoted to player-coach while Dragan Bakoč (vice-president of the club in 2006) was made president. Serbian writer Prvoslav Vujčić wrote for the club's website (in 2007). Belić was player-coach for a few months until he took up a scouting position in Slovenia. Belić was replaced in net by Belarusian Arthur Zaslavski (who had already played in the CSL) and by former Canadian under-17 international George Radan. Radan came out of an 11-year-long retirement to help the Eagles with their keeper problems. Zaslavski and Radan rotated minutes but Radan got the notch when the playoffs started nearing. Then-assistant coach Siniša Ninković (another 2006 alumnus) took up the head-coaching position but was replaced prior to the playoffs by Toronto Falcons coach Branko Pavlović. Mid-season acquisition Uroš Stamatović proved to be a key addition. The Eagles managed to reach the final once again but were defeated in a two-leg match-up against Toronto Croatia (4-1 in the first and 0-0 in the second leg).
Prior to the 2008 season, the club continued its tradition of bringing over experienced coaches from Serbia as this time Milan Čančarević was made head coach. The Serbian White Eagles qualified for the play-offs portion of the season where, after extra-time, they defeated the North York Astros by a score of 2-1. The Eagles then proceeded to beat the Italia Shooters in the semi-final by a relatively hefty score of 3-0. In the final, the Serbian White Eagles finally reached championship glory as they outlasted Trois-Rivières Attak over a rain-drenched 120 minutes and penalty kicks to win the Canadian Soccer League championship.
In 2009, the club introduced a red jersey (blue was the secondary jersey in years previous). At the 2009 final game, playing a man short for most of the second half, Trois-Rivieres Attak took the game into overtime, then penalty kicks to win the CSL Championship at the BMO Field in Toronto on October 10, 2009. The game was scoreless through 90 minutes, then 30 minutes of overtime before Trois-Rivieres outscored the Serbian White Eagles 3-2 in the penalty kick decider. The game was a repeat of the 2008 final when these two teams met in a thriller won by Serbian White Eagles, also with penalty kicks. Serbian White Eagles won the International Division under coach Rafael Carbajal, changing to coach Dušan Prijić for the play-offs part of the season. One of the highlights of the season was tying Toronto FC (the reserve side with numerous first-team players) 1-1 in a closed-doors friendly at BMO Field.
They reached the semifinal in 2011 but disappointed. Serbian defender Boris Miličić was brought in.
In 2012, the club once again began bringing in seasoned internationals in Zoran Rajović (who scored on his debut), Vitomir Jelić, Nikola Miodrag and Ivan Stanković. The older players mixed well, slowly but surely, with the young squad. The Eagles made a good push beating a solid SC Toronto squad 1-0 in the quarterfinals only to implode 4-0 against Toronto Croatia in the next round, making this the second year in a row they bowed out in the semis.
- CSL International Division Champion: 3
- NSL: 1