York Region Shooters

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For the defunct club York Region Shooters, see York Region Shooters (1998).
YorkRegionShootersLogo.png
Full name York Region Shooters
Nickname(s) The Shooters
Founded 1982 (as Glen Shields S.C.)
Ground St. Joan of Arc Turf Field
Maple, Ontario, Canada
Ground Capacity 1,000
Chairman Tony De Thomasis
Manager Tony De Thomasis
League Canadian Soccer League
2016 Regular season: 1st
Playoffs: Semifinals
Website Club home page

York Region Shooters are a Canadian soccer team, original founded in 1982 and play in the Canadian Soccer League. The Shooters currently play their home games at the St. Joan of Arc Turf Field in the community of Maple, Ontario, around 12 miles north-west of downtown Toronto. The team's colours are blue and white, mirroring those of the Italian national football team and reflecting the cultural heritage of the club. The club has competed under various different names as Glen Shields Sun Devils, Vaughan Sun Devils, Vaughan Shooters, Italia Shooters, and presently under York Region Shooters.

Original formed in 1982 under the name of Glen Shields S.C., where they competed in various amateur leagues in the communities of York Region. In 1998, they turned professional and became a charter member in the Canadian Professional Soccer League. In 2003, the club merged with their rivals York Region Shooters and became the Vaughan Sun Devils. The merger produced a string of success as the club became a powerhouse within the league. Notable achievements were going undefeated in an entire season, establishing a CSL record for most regular season titles, and winning the CSL Championship twice in 2006, and 2014.

History[edit]

Early years (1982–02)[edit]

The club as Glen Shields S.C. was formed in 1982 and participated in amateur leagues throughout the communities of Thornhill, Ontario, and Concord, Ontario. Glen Shields saw the fruits of their labor come to fruition as they would claim 2 Ontario Cups, Ontario Indoor Cup, and 3 Robbie Championships.[1] In 1998, Glen Shields made the transition to the professional level by becoming a founding member in the newly formed Canadian Professional Soccer League.[2][3] The team received territorial rights to Thornhill, Vaughan and secured a home venue at Dufferin District Field.[4] The head coach responsibilities was granted to Ron Harrison, and signed several up and coming players like Phil Ionadi, Chris Williams, Irvin Studin, and Paul Moore.

Glen Shields made their professional debut in a Canada Cup match against Toronto Croatia, and recorded a 3–1 victory with goals coming from Bodo Lazetic, Danny Sankar, and Michele D'Angelo.[5] The club's debut season came with a degree of success as the team secured a postseason berth by finishing third in the standings, and posted the third best defensive record. In the preliminary round of the Canada cup tournament Glen Shields finished first in their group rankings, and advanced to the semifinals. Their opponents were the St. Catharines Wolves, and were eliminated 6–1 on goals on aggregate.[6] Their encounter with St. Catharines continued in the first round of the postseason. In the first match the Thornhill club managed a 2–1 victory with the Wolves providing the first goal from an own goal to Peter Firebrace scoring the second.[7] The second match proved futile for Glen Shields as they suffered a 4–0 loss to be eliminated from the competition by 5–2 on goals on aggregate.

The following season saw about a name change to the Glen Shields Sun Devils with Dave Benning as the new head coach.[8] The Sun Devils improved upon their debut season by once more finishing third in the standings, and recording the second best offensive and defensive league statistic.[9] Their playoff run was short lived as they were eliminated 5–2 in the first round by Toronto Croatia.[10] The next three seasons saw a decline in the club's performance as the Sun Devils finished fourth to secure the final playoff berth by two points. The opposite was true in the Canada Cup tournament where the Vaughan club reached the semifinals to repeat history as they faced St. Catharines to lose 3–1.[11] In the postseason Glen Shields faced London City in a wildcard match, and advanced to the next round by defeating London 4–3 in a penalty shootout.[12] The Sun Devils faced the regular season champions Toronto Olympians, but suffered a 1–0 defeat.[13]

Canadian international Chris Williams began his career with Glen Shields Sun Devils.

In preparations for the 2001 season the organization acquired former CPSL Golden Boot winner Gus Kouzmanis along with promising rookies Nikola Budalić, and Matthew O' Connor. The season marked the first time in the club's history to fail to secure a postseason berth by finishing seventh in the standings with 11 points shy of the final berth.[14] In 2002 the league decided to divide the teams into two Conferences with the Sun Devils being transferred to the Eastern Conference. The season also witnessed another name change, this time to the Vaughan Sun Devils.[15] New additions to the club were Canadian international Tom Kouzmanis, Bayete Smith, Damien Pottinger, Jonathan Westmaas, and Willy Giummarra.[16] Despite the increase in talent Vaughan struggled to achieve sufficient results in order to claim a playoff berth as a result for the second straight year failed to reach the postseason.[17]

Merger and emergence as a league powerhouse (2003–05)[edit]

In 2003, Glen Shields merged with their hometown rivals the York Region Shooters and united the York Region territory under principal owner Tony De Thomasis.[18] The new additions added to the roster were Canadian international Elvis Thomas, Matthew Palleschi, Cameron Medwin, and Jason De Thomasis.[19] The merger proved a success as Vaughan recorded an eight-game undefeated streak and clinched the final playoff in their conference. In the first round they faced Toronto Supra, where they defeated Supra with 4 goals to 3 with Wilson Hugo, Smith, Thomas, and Aundrea Rollins providing the goals.[20] In the next round the Sun Devils faced Western Conference champions the Hamilton Thunder, and beat the odds by recording a 2–0 victory to mark their first appearance in the CPSL Championship.[21] Their opponents in the finals were Brampton Hitmen during the match Vaughan's Chris Turner was ejected from the match which gave Brampton the advantage to win the championship by a score of 1–0.[22][23] Despite the defeat the merger ushered in a new era for the club in becoming a powerhouse within the CPSL.[24]

Several changes were made in 2004 as the club was renamed the Vaughan Shooters and transferred their home venue to the Ontario Soccer Centre.[25][26] Head coach Benning parted ways in order to accept a position with the CSA, and Sam Mederios was named his successor.[27][28] Vaughan also established an affiliation with two youth clubs Woodbridge Italia and Vaughan Soccer Club.[29] For the second straight year the Shooters clinched the final playoff berth in their conference with the third best offensive and defensive record. In the preliminary round of the playoffs they faced the Metro Lions and blitz them 5–3.[30] The second round was a similar outcome where Vaughan defeat the Eastern Conference champions Toronto Supra 4–1.[31] The championship finals featured Vaughan against Toronto Croatia, where the Shooters fell 4-0.[32][33]

In 2005, Carmine Isacco was given head coach responsibilities and brought in Saint Kitts and Nevis international Darryl Gomez, Stuart Black, and Brian Bowes. Throughout the season Vaughan consolidated their status as a powerhouse by claiming their first piece of silverware the Eastern Conference title.[34] Vaughan achieved a team best by posting the best offensive and defensive record. As division champions they received an automatic bye to the semifinals, where they thrashed Toronto Croatia by a score of 4–0.[35][36] In their third championship final appearance they faced the Oakville Blue Devils, but once again fell short 2–1 in extra time.[37] At the conclusion of the season the league honored Desmond Humphrey with the CPSL MVP award, and Tony De Thomasis with the CPSL President award.[38]

First championship and consistent playoff appearances (2006–13)[edit]

On September 15, 2005 the league announced the creation of the International Division for the 2006 season with Vaughan joining the division as Italia Shooters in order to represent and to celebrate the club's strong Italian heritage.[39][40] Further changes were made in the managerial office with team owner De Thomasis undertaking the coaching duties. Italia managed to acquire a postseason berth by finishing third in a highly competitive division. The club received some luck early on in the playoffs as they advanced to the next round by a forfeit from the Brampton Stallions.[41] Their opponents in the semifinals were Toronto Croatia, and with a goal from Jason De Thomasis they reached the championship final for the fourth consecutive year.[42] Their opposition were the International Division champions Serbian White Eagles FC a team where the majority of players had European experience.[43] During the match Italia performed the miracle needed at Esther Shiner Stadium from a lone goal from Anthony Adur to claim their first CSL Championship in a 1–0 victory.[44][45] De Thomasis was recognized with the CSL Coach of the Year award.[46]

For the 2007 season Italia finished third in their division with the third best offensive record, and maintained the best defensive record. Unfortunately Italia failed to defend their championship after losing 3–0 to Trois-Rivières Attak in the first round of the playoffs.[47][48] In preparations for the coming 2008 season the club hired Vito Colanglo as general manager and moved their home venue to Joan of Arc Turf Field.[49][50] The organization also reached an agreement with the Toronto Lynx of the Premier Development League in order to develop and break players into the professional ranks.[51] Isacco was brought back in to manage the squad and strengthened the roster with David Diplacido, Frank Jonke, Rick Titus, Marco Terminesi, Jamaal Smith, Murphy Wiredu, Jon Paul Piques, and Richard Asante.[52] The additions paid off as Italia secured their second division title and had the best offensive record. In the quarterfinals the Shooters defeated Brampton Lions FC 1–0.[53][54] Their playoff run came to a conclusion in the next round against Serbia, where the White Eagles defeated them 3–0.[55]

Italia Shooters celebrating CSL Championship in 2006.

In 2009, Woodbridge S.C., and Unionville S.C. became associated with Italia and operated as the club's reserve teams in the CSL Reserve Division.[56] In the regular season the Shooters had a mediocre season, but still managed to clinch a postseason berth by finishing third in their division. In the postseason Italia revived their team performance by defeating St. Catharines in a two-game series with 7–1 goals on aggregate.[57][58] In the next round they faced the National Division champions Trois-Rivieres where in both games they tied the series 4–4 on aggregate with the Attak scoring the winning goal in overtime.[59] The CSL administration restructured the league by combing both divisions to form the CSL First Division. As a result of the changes the club changed its name to York Region Shooters, reflecting the previous merger in 2003 and the larger area of York Region the club has played in and represents.[60] Filipe Bento took over the reign of head coach and clinched the club's third regular season championship by finishing first in the standings.[61] Their postseason journey came to an abrupt end after losing 3–1 on goals on aggregate to Toronto Croatia.[62] At the conclusion of the season De Thomasis received the Harry Paul Gauss award, while Titus was awarded the CSL Defender of the Year award.[63]

During the 2011 and 2012 seasons York Region went through the services of Brian Bowes, and John Pacione as head coaches.[64] Notable players around that period were Taylor Lord, Carlos Riva, Dino Gardner, Adrian Butters, Julian Uccello, and Taurean Manders. The Shooters qualified for the postseason for both seasons.[65][66] In 2011, York defeated regular season champions SC Toronto in the quarterfinals, but were defeated in the second round by Toronto Croatia.[67][68][69] While in 2012, York Region defeated Windsor Star in the first round only to be eliminated in the next round against Montreal Impact Academy.[70][71] York Region finished the 2013 season on a positive note by finishing second in the standings with Jamaican internationals Richard West, and Richard Edwards being added to the roster.[72][73] Their opposition in the playoffs were London City where York Region lost the match in a penalty shootout.[74][75]

Undefeated season and league dominance (2014–present)[edit]

he 2014 season was a historic season for the franchise as the club achieved an undefeated season.[76][77] Becoming the third club in the league's history to reach this milestone the others being Toronto Olympians, and the Ottawa Wizards. In the postseason York Region eliminated Brampton United by a score of 3–0 in the first round.[78] In the semifinal the Shooters defeated North York Astros from a single goal from Hector Mackie.[79] After a 5–4 victory in a penalty shootout York Region defeated Toronto Croatia to claim their second CSL Championship, and completed the entire season undefeated.[80][81] For their efforts the CSL awarded former York Region player Darryl Gomez with the CSL Coach of the Year award, and Adrian Ibanez with the CSL D2 Goalkeeper of the Year.[82] York Region also established a working relationship with Winstars Soccer Academy, which served as a reserve team in the CSL Second Division.[83] In November 2014, former Jong Ajax coach Bob de Klerk was appointed the Technical Director for the club.[84]

York Region had a solid 2015 season by securing a postseason berth by finishing third in the standings with the second best offensive record.[85] Notable imports brought in were Steven McDougall, Aleksandar Stojanovski, Ashton Bennett, Wilson Martinez, and Adrian Pena. The Shooters faced Burlington SC in the quarterfinals and advanced to the next round after a 4–2 victory.[86] Their playoff journey came to a conclusion after losing 3–2 to Toronto Croatia.[87] At the CSL awards banquet Richard West recevied the CSL Golden Boot, while Cyndy De Thomasis was honored with the Harry Paul Gauss award.[88]

The Shooter's roster was strengthened for the 2016 season with the additions of Hayden Fitzwilliams, Nicholas Lindsay, Halburto Harris, David Guzman, Shawn Brown, and the return of Anthony Adur.[89] The season marked another achievement for the York Region club as they captured their fifth regular season championship, thus establishing a CSL record for most regular season titles.[90] They also achieved a team milestone by recording their best defensive record allowing only 10 goals a record not matched since the Ottawa Wizards in the 2003 CPSL season. In their playoff run the Maple-based club defeated Milton SC 5–0.[91] In the semifinal the Shooters suffered a crushing 2–1 defeat in a penalty shootout to Hamilton City SC.[92] Meanwhile, in the Second Division their reserve team captured their first CSL D2 Championship after defeating Toronto Atomic B by a score of 2-1.[93]

Squad 2015[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Italy GK Emanuele Ameltonis
Uruguay GK Adrian Ibanez
Canada GK Adam Majer
Jamaica DF Ricky Herron
Italy DF Justin Soscia
Ivory Coast DF Gerard Ladyiou
Jamaica DF Ryan Dummett
Japan DF Kohei Matsumoto
United States DF Edwin Navarrete
Scotland MF Steven McDougall
Jamaica MF Richard Edwards
No. Position Player
Republic of Macedonia MF Aleksander Stojanovski
United States MF David Schipper
Canada MF Desi Humphrey
Canada MF Dino Roberto Gardner
Canada FW Adrian Pena
Jamaica FW Richard West
Jamaica FW Oswald Adu
Trinidad and Tobago FW Babajide Fatoba
Jamaica FW Odein Omaro Simpson
Italy FW Niko Di Sanza

[94]

Crest[edit]

Year-by-year[edit]

Year Team Name Division League Regular Season Playoffs
1998[95] Glen Shields 1 CPSL 3rd Semi-Finals
1999[96] Glen Shields Sun Devils 1 CPSL 3rd Semi-Finals
2000[97] Glen Shields Sun Devils 1 CPSL 4th Semi-Finals
2001[98] Glen Shields Sun Devils 1 CPSL 7th Did not qualify
2002[99] Glen Shields Sun Devils 1 - Eastern Conference CPSL 6th, Eastern Did not qualify
2003[100] Vaughan Sun Devils 1 - Eastern Conference CPSL 3rd, Eastern Final
2004[101] Vaughan Shooters 1 - Eastern Conference CPSL 3rd, Eastern Final
2005[102] Vaughan Shooters 1 - Eastern Conference CPSL 1st, Eastern Final
2006[103] Italia Shooters 1 - International Division CSL 3rd, International Champions
2007[104] Italia Shooters 1 - International Division CSL 2nd, International Quarter-Finals
2008[105] Italia Shooters 1 - International Division CSL 1st, International Semi-Finals
2009[106] Italia Shooters 1 - International Division CSL 3rd, International Semi-Finals
2010[107] York Region Shooters 1 CSL 1st Quarter-Finals
2011[108] York Region Shooters 1 CSL 8th Semi-Finals
2012[109] York Region Shooters 1 CSL 5th Semi-Finals
2013[110] York Region Shooters 1 CSL 2nd Quarter-Finals
2014[111] York Region Shooters 1 CSL 1st Champions
2015[112] York Region Shooters 1 CSL 3rd Semi-Finals
2016[113] York Region Shooters 1 CSL 1st Semi-Finals

Head coaches[edit]

Years Name Nation
1998–1999 Ron Harrison  Canada
1999–2004 Benning, DaveDave Benning  England
2004 Sam Mederios  Portugal
2005–2006 Isacco , CarmineCarmine Isacco  Canada
2006–2007 De Thomasis , TonyTony De Thomasis  Italy
2008 Isacco, CarmineCarmine Isacco  Canada
2009 Roberto Pugliese  Canada
2010–2011 Filipe Bento  Angola
2011 Brian Bowes  Canada
2012–2013 John Pacione  Canada
2014 Gomez , Darryl Darryl Gomez  Saint Kitts and Nevis
2015– De Thomasis, TonyTony De Thomasis  Italy

[114]

Stadiums\Venues[edit]

Year(s) Stadium\Venue Location
1998–04 Dufferin District Field Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
2004–2006 Ontario Soccer Centre Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
2007– St. Joan Of Arc Turf Field Maple, Ontario, Canada

Honours[edit]

Notable players[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]