It’s times like this that we remember once again a comment by Gerry Gentile, an award-winning businessman and soccer coach in York Region just north of Toronto attempting to launch a coast to coast Canadian United Soccer League (CUSL) more than 20 years ago. “There’s nothing in the DNA of a Canadian that says he cannot be a great soccer player,” said Gentile to a packed audience in the downtown Toronto hotel.

Soccer talent has for many years considered to be a rich resource in Canada, both with the arrival of many young players with families from countries steeped in the beautiful game and with Canadian-born players in families with soccer as their main sport of interest. There are more registered soccer players in Canada than any other team sport.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that an additional dimension has now been added in Canada to identify special players who may have enough talent and skills to play at a high professional level, but don’t have the benefit of being seen at a showcase event.

Continental Sports & Entertainment Inc., Law Office of Igor Demitchev and Football Club Continentals, have been conducting screening sessions to assemble a strong team of young Canadian players for several weeks now for tryouts and a final selection to go before coaches and other representatives from top European clubs gathering at Antalya, Turkey during February.

 Demitchev entered the formal soccer community in Ontario with FC Vorkuta (now FC Continentals ) 14 years ago with emphasis on player development and has arranged assistance from technical specialists in Canadian youth soccer, including Ilya Orlov, the head coach of the University of Toronto and Alliance United League. Denys Yanchuk, a former player in Ukraine, a GM and coach in Canada who is now an official agent for UEFA, is also one of the principals in establishing Continental Sports & Entertainment Inc.

“We believe that a ‘Wow’ Canadian youth talent team is at the final stages of selection,” said Demitchev. The final decision on the selected roster will take place following an upcoming friendly match between the assembled team and a League One team.

 Players requiring a first step assessment in Toronto should email the request to Application and screening trial fee is $10.

Stan Adamson

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FINAL GAME STANDS OUT – CSL year end retrospective

The Canadian Soccer League continued its confident march into the future on Sunday, May 29, 2022, the opening day of a new season, as the oldest  professional soccer league in the Canadian soccer community.  Six teams played a schedule from May 29 to the end of August, led on opening game day by 2021 champions Scarborough SC, a game against expansion team York Region Shooters at Centennial Stadium in Toronto.

The Shooters, known for its development of young local players were back in the league following a successful 14 years which ended in 2017. They were expected to struggle in the opener against Scarborough, a team undefeated in league play the previous championship-winning season and fortified by several seasoned players from Europe and elsewhere and a top coach in Mirko Medic with a reputation as an outstanding defender in Europe and in Canada with Serbian White Eagles.

But a new York Region team was being coached by Sam Madeiros, considered one of the top technical members specializing in soccer skills development in Canada and known for his ability to lift young players mentally as well as physically to give that extra confidence needed for higher level performance. The Shooters surprised the current champions with a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, Jacob Vankey scoring the first goal of a new CSL season after just eight minutes of play.

The match ended in a 3-3 draw and the two additional games in a three-game opening day also ended even with BGHC 1 and Toronto Falcons playing to a 1-1 tie and Continentals FC and Serbian White Eagles deadlocked at 2-2 at the final whistle.

BGHC is a team formed at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic by both Brantford Galaxy and Hamilton City, while Toronto Falcons is an expansion team entered in the CSL by former FC Vorkuta coach/GM Samad Kadirov.  Continentals FC, is the former FC Vorkuta.

Continentals FC defender Mykyta Trachev picked up the first red card of the new season near the end of the game with Serbian White Eagles.

It was the opening day for all teams, but no team won (or lost).


There were plenty of goals scored the following week when on June 5 Scarborough demolished Toronto Falcons 7-0 and Continentals FC thumped BGHC 5-0 and the day when York Region Shooters  stunned Serbian White Eagles with a  1-0 victory. The White Eagles fielded several new signings including Canadian international Adrian Cann who in earlier times played for York Region Shooters, followed by Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps and briefly with Esbjerg of Denmark.


The following week on June 12 expansion teams fared well when York Regions Shooters   defeated BGHC 2-0 to go on top of the table, unbeaten following three games against established CSL teams. The Shooters also conceded the lowest number of goals. Toronto Falcons gained its first victory with a 3-2 win over Continentals FC and in the third game, Serbian White Eagles overcame a 2-0 second half deficit to strike twice in the late minutes to even the score, a 2-2 tie with Scarborough.


On week four, York Region Shooters won yet again, a 1-0 victory over Toronto Falcons to increase the lead at the top of the standings, while Continentals FC and Scarborough played to a scoreless tie.

Serbian White Eagles turned its poor goalscoring record upside down with a 7-3 defeat of BGHC . The White Eagles had struggled to find the net during an abbreviated 2021 season and scored just four goals during a winless start in the first three games of this 2022 campaign.


The Shooters faltered during the next three games with two defeats and a draw, ending the regular season with two victories and a tie in the last three games to take the runner-up position in the final standings. That was enough  to earn a bye to the semi-final playoffs for the CSL Championship. York Region’s season ended with a 3-1 semi-final defeat by Scarborough, but the side from north of Toronto was admired by many for its determination time and again while succeeding against teams strengthened by experienced players from Europe.

But the two titles went to the two teams that finished strongly in the late stages following early disappointments. Serbian White Eagles’ 10-1 victory on July 30 was a sign of things to come during the last month, a campaign which ended with a league title for the west Toronto organization.


While Continentals did have a 5-0 victory on June 5, the team’s fourth place of six in the regular season standings was not convincing championship form. The 2-0 semi-final victory over league title-winning Serbian White Eagles gave a glimmer of hope for the rebranded FC Vorkuta, however, and the organization that was so outstanding time and again in the Canadian Soccer League ended the 2022 campaign with a 2-1 cliff hanger victory over Scarborough.

The final match of the 2022 season was also the most exciting to watch while the never-say-die attitude of the east Toronto side was a feature of the second half right up to the final whistle.

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The Canadian Soccer League sends its appreciation to its fans, sponsors and media for their support in 2022 and to the match officials, game officials and volunteers for their contribution and support during a highly successful playing season. A Merry Christmas and and Happy Holidays to all, with best wishes for 2023 as we look forward to a new season.

The post MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR appeared first on Canadian Soccer League.


Canada’s attempts to strengthen its professional soccer structure suffered a set- back during November with the termination of membership of FC Edmonton in the Canadian Premier League. The club has been a high profile member of the CPL after competing in the North American Soccer League until 2017 and has been a CPL member since the league’s inaugural season in 2019. The Alberta club will no longer be in a position to play in the CPL in 2023 following a unanimous decision by the CPL board of governors to end the franchise.

Low attendances and low revenues were two of the of the reasons given for the surprise decision, which raises questions about the league’s overall attendances in an environment where a satisfactory fan presence at the games is necessary to develop media attention.  It is also one of the financial income generating components to maintain a viable business that includes considerable long distance travel for the teams, often a deterrent to coast to coast expansion in Canadian soccer.

FC Edmonton is owned by Tom and Dave Fath and was coached by Alan Koch, a former South African player including the South Africa U-23 youth national team  and who was head coach of FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer before moving to FC Edmonton. Koch was disappointed by the league’s decision, expressing to the CBC that terminating Edmonton as “one of the few historic professional clubs in the country and with the club folding, that’s not a good day for Canadian soccer.”

The CPL’s average per match attendance during the 2022 season was just over 3,000 from each of the eight teams in membership. As a comparison, the National Soccer League, which played as a regional league in Ontario and Quebec during the period 1926 to 1998 reached a similar average attendance during its later years when all matches were played at Stanley Park in Toronto. In 1998 the NSL merged with the Canadian Professional Soccer League and the CPSL was rebranded in 2006 to be known as today’s Canadian Soccer League (CSL).  The Canadian Soccer League hit that attendance number on occasion, but only following the addition of Serbian White Eagles in 2006, a team with a reputation for success after reaching the final of the North American Championship in 1975.

The termination of  FC Edmonton and the attendance level of Canada’s coast to coast professional league following its fourth year of operation has again raised the question of what defines an ideal professional soccer structure to accommodate elite players in Canada and position Canada as a serious contender on the world stage.

It’s been a decade since the Rethink Management Group, based in the United States, was commissioned by the Canadian Soccer Association (now Canada Soccer) to study level 2 soccer in Canada. The study included recommendations for a restructuring with emphasis on player development in a pro league environment, which triggered a CSA decision that the Canadian Soccer League would cease to be sanctioned.  (The CSL first received the news from a media person following a CSA office leak and was then advised by the Canadian Soccer Association with a formal notice on February 13, 2013.)

The CSL was Canada’s top soccer league at the time with a history going back to 1925, was in good standing and had a clean sheet without any guilty discipline issues off the field of play. It was a direct member of the Canadian Soccer Association following an arrangement to separate from its previous direct governing body Ontario Soccer Association. The league, which also had aspirations to expand on a regional basis across Canada, was rocked by the decision.

The CSL sought the advice of a constitutional specialist who advised that in the decision to de-sanction there were numerous contradictions to the CSA Constitution and Bye-laws, including that it is the CSA’s duty to act fairly with the right to a fair hearing. There are specific rights afforded CSA members when their membership is in jeopardy, all of which were ignored. With just weeks away from exhibition games and  a new season close to kickoff, there  was no consideration given the league’s member clubs, their financial investments, their sponsorships, hundreds of player contracts and agreements, their livelihood.

The league appealed the decision to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC), a branch of the federal government which released its findings on April 23, 2013. Justice Hugh L. Fraser considered the  decision to de-sanction the Canadian Soccer League heavy handed, that the Canadian Soccer League was denied fairness and natural justice. Justice Fraser ruled that the CSL be reinstated  immediately and that the league be given 12 months to February 13, 2014 to  minimize disruption to its operations, and to seek and be given the opportunity to be  accepted into membership with an alternative governing body.

The Canadian Soccer League did not accept new governance and has soldiered on to play attractive soccer as a private league in the Canadian soccer community with a large number of seasoned professionals with international experience, as well as local players who benefit in a player development environment.

The Canadian Soccer League was never consulted when the Rethink Management Group filed its recommendations for a future professional soccer structure in Canada late 2012. The recommendations were similar to the CSL’s beliefs that given Canada’s vast geography professional soccer be played  on a regional basis to avoid the high cost of travel. The CSL also favoured a player development environment and in the three years leading up to the Rethink Management Group study more than 40 CSL players were selected for various national teams – mostly youth teams. Bermuda-born Andre Manders, a 26 year old full back  with the CSL’s York Region Shooters commented at the time: “Playing for the Shooters definitely helped me get into the national team of Bermuda and probably helped me get into the starting 11”. Mississauga Eagles FC, the professional team with the Erin Mills Soccer Club, head coach Josef Komlodi had several players on trial in Europe and commented at the time: “Playing in the CSL has helped these players polish their skills to now play at international levels,” while Thomas Rongen, academy director for Toronto FC and former U.S. U-20 men’s national team head coach said he prefers the CSL to the highly touted United States  Soccer Development Academy where the competition is considered to be the top tier of youth soccer in the United States. Paul Beirne, Director of Business Operations for Toronto FC also said “When we needed to find a league that would test the mettle of the best players we wanted someone that would test then technically, physically and tactically.

While the CSL gained much sympathy, the match fixing scandal that plagued the league from 2009 to 2016 was certainly on the minds of the Canadian Soccer Association, but the CSA has been steadfast when questioned many times, explaining that the decision to de-sanction had nothing at all to do with manipulation of games. That being the case, however, does not mean the CSA believes the CSL is lilly white innocent.

The match fixing allegations all began when an accused in a German court commented that match fixing was everywhere, even in Canada. A Canadian Soccer League match at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec was fixed, it was said under oath. The match details and result – a win for the home team- were considered to be a reasonable reflection of where the two teams stood in the league standings. It was considered that the accused was attempting to give a perspective by playing down his small match fixing activity against what is  common practice world-wide.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper in England also reported that suspicious betting activity was evident in the CSL following a report by the International Centre for Sport Security. There were rumours abound.

The CSL management considered the allegations becoming unmanageable and sought help from the Canadian Soccer Association, but was turned down. Both CONCACAF and FIFA also refused to assist, with explanations that it was a local problem that needed help from within Canada. The Ontario Provincial Police carried out a brief investigation but handed the case over to the RCMP due to any fraud that may have developed is considered international activity. Bets were being placed overseas on the Canadian matches. The RCMP ceased its investigation with a conclusion that the manipulation of certain games by a small minority group may be taking place, but considered the league needed support to work through its difficult time to a satisfactory conclusion.

The Canadian Soccer Association had experienced match fixing after all when the men’s national team, eliminated from the 1986 World Cup in Mexico then played in the Merlion Cup competition in Singapore. Several players accepted a bribe to fix a match and  funds were distributed to certain players. The fix was confirmed and charges were laid but the Canadian court ruled that prosecution could not take place in its jurisdiction and should be dealt with in Singapore where the criminal offence took place.

The Canadian Soccer League sought help and ended up with a decade of privacy. It concluded that all members of the soccer community, including soccer governance, must do their part to believe in the beautiful game, that in doing so will make sure it stays beautiful.

UPCOMING –  Looking back, a CSL retrospective of highlights from 2022

Stan Adamson


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Goalkeeper Anatoly (The Wall) Starushchenko is well named and for those fortunate enough to see the cliff hanger championship final won 2-1 by Continentals FC  at Lamport Stadium in downtown Toronto on August 27, it became obvious as the match progressed that opposition Scarborough were facing a special challenge with its numerous second half rallies on the Continentals’ net.

Continentals took an early second half 2-1 lead in the final match of the 2022 season and as the 40 minutes remaining in regular time went by, Scarborough became relentless and desperate to score an equalizer, fighting for a chance at extra time and eventual victory in the fast-paced increasingly physical encounter. The two sides were the most successful during the past five years in the Canadian Soccer League and the match was one of the most attractive during the current season.

Starushchenko, 34,  would be a standout with any team is the impression from a stadium seat. The Ukrainian-born ‘keeper appears always to get in the way of a ball that might reach the net. Yet his journey in soccer while impressive, fails to reveal the rewards expected for an obvious special player during the 15 years he has toiled in the higher levels of the game on both sides of the Atlantic.

Starushchenko played most of his soccer in Ukraine and Tajikistan in Central Asia before signing for FC Vorkuta in 2019 where he featured prominently in first division league titles, championships and the ProSound Cup victory .

Continentals FC look for more of Anatoly Starushchenko in 2023.


With a November 20 Sunday morning kickoff of host Qatar against Ecuador, the World Cup gets underway and it’s always of special interest to CSL members — players, club officials and volunteers – many with their homeland teams taking part. We all have at least one team to cheer for in Canada, while some members have two with Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, England coming to mind.

A special thought for our Brantford Galaxy’s Bosko Borjan with son Milan Borjan in goal for Canada and let’s not forget that two players in this World Cup for Canada– Jonathan Osorio and Atiba Hutchinson = were players in the CSL.

The group matches are daily with Canada’s first game against Belgium (2nd in the FIFA rankings) this coming Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 2 pm. Quarterfinals start December 9 and 10, Semifinals December 13 and 14, the third place will be played on December 17. The World Cup Final is December 18.

Stan Adamson

The post ANATOLY (The Wall) STARUSHCHENKO APTLY NAMED appeared first on Canadian Soccer League.


It doesn’t take a crystal ball to suggest that midfielder Stefan Mitrovic is well on his way to a strong future on both sides of the Atlantic.  Mitrovic played his way through youth soccer in Hamilton followed by a brief period with Toronto FC academy before entering the professional game with the CSL’s Hamilton City during April 2018 and through the 2019 season.

The Serbia-born Mitrovic – his family moved from Krusevac, Serbia to Hamilton, Ontario early 2003 when Mitrovic was a few months old – is now of interest to both Canadian and Serbian national teams. He qualifies for both and has so far made appearances for the Serbia U-20, Serbia U-21 and gained a full cap with a 4-1 winning debut against Sweden on September 24, 2022

Mitrovic played 12 matches for Hamilton City during 2018 and the 2019 season and was then signed by Radnicki Nis of the Serbian SuperLiga, making 57 appearances before being transferred to Red Star Belgrade in 2022. As an aggressive attacking midfielder with the now strong European experience Mitrovic, 20, would be an asset with the Canadian national team despite his leanings so far with Serbia.  Mitrovic was invited to the Canadian national team camp early 2022, but the call-up was cancelled when there was a COVID 19 threat.

Whatever the outcome during the upcoming World Cup games with both Canada and Serbia taking part, it looks as though Canadian coach John Herdman will be using some persuasion to bring Mitrovic on board, while the Serbian-born player will make the final decision.


Stan Adamson

The post HAMILTON CITY’S STEFAN MITROVIC IN DEMAND appeared first on Canadian Soccer League.


Sasa Vukovic is making an early start to his club’s preparations for the 2023 season. The owner and general manager of Hamilton City is concentrating on his coaching in an effort to move the combined BGHC 1 team more competitive.

File Magdenovski is under a new 2-year contract as an assistant coach following the one year agreement when signed on arrival from his native Macedonia in 2021.

“File has a strong technical background in Europe and we again look forward to his coaching and fitness skills as we step into a new season,” said Vukovic.

Hamilton City and Brantford Galaxy merged during the restrictions of the Covid 19 pandemic to be represented as BGHC 1 and this arrangement between the two close neighboring communities just west of Toronto is expected to continue into 2023.

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There was plenty of excitement but no surprises from the bench when Mykola Temniuk struck that winning goal for Continentals FC early in the second half of the 2021 CSL championship final against Scarborough SC at Lamport Stadium in downtown Toronto that Saturday night last August 27. There was no surprise when the talented Ukrainian striker tied the game 1-1 just before half time after opponents Scarborough took a 1-0 lead shortly after kickoff.

Temniuk is a prolific goalscorer with a history of similar match-winning efforts in Europe and in Canada. After establishing himself as a standout in the amateur leagues in Ukraine, followed by a season in Poland, Temniuk returned to Ukraine where his goalscoring assisted FC Ahrobiznes Volochysk in its promotion to the Ukrainian Second Division. Temniuk was also the league’s leading goalscorer with 18 goals in 18 games.

Temniuk signed for FC Vorkuta in 2019 to be the CSL’s leading goalscorer that season, helped by a hat-trick on June 15 and ending the season with 18 goals to top the first division scorers. That was the year FC Vorkuta’s led the first division with a goals tally of 66 while winning the first division title.

The long-time adage ‘it’s goals that count’ is given emphasis by the FC Vorkuta/Continentals goal scoring record while winning 11 titles in the six seasons since entering the Canadian Soccer League in 2017.

That’s surprising. And outstanding.

The post IT’S GOALS THAT COUNT appeared first on Canadian Soccer League.


It sometimes takes a decade, but a promising striker from earlier days in the Canadian Soccer League has finally hit the $1 million a year mark.

Jonathan Osorio, who started playing soccer in Brampton and Mississauga on the fringes of Toronto and was signed on a professional contract with the CSL’s  SC Toronto in 2012 to be  awarded the semi-pro league’s Rookie of the Year award while one of the league’s top scorers, has reached a milestone with an annual salary of $1,026,250 with his present club Toronto FC.

Osorio played 17 times for SC Toronto in 2012, helping his side finish third in the CSL first division to make the championship playoffs before being eliminated by Serbian White Eagles.

Doneil Henry, a talented centre-back with Toronto FC, who in 2009 and 2010 also took his first step into professional soccer in the CSL, is presently earning an annual salary with the Toronto MLS team of $403,000. 

Seven Toronto FC players earn more than $1 million, including recent signing Lorenzo Insigne being the highest paid with an annual salary of close to $15 million. Insigne, who was signed from Napoli of the Italian Serie A, has a four-year contract to mid-2026. Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley is paid $1.5 million.

 There are 11 players with Toronto FC in the information released by the MLS Players Association that were earning during the past season less than $100,000 annually.

Osorio is one of a procession of CSL players  to reach a high level in Canada or other parts of the world, including midfielder Atiba Hutchinson who made a brief appearance for York Region Shooters of the CSL before being transferred to the Toronto Lynx of the U.S.-based A-League. Hutchinson was then signed by Oster of Sweden, is now captain of Besiktas of Turkey and captain of the Canadian World Cup team on its way to Qatar. He has made 97 national team appearances.

The list of CSL players having reached top flight soccer has grown since Hutchinson stepped on a ground in Scarborough for the York Region-based Shooters in 2002, and the list continues with one of the most recent been Israeli-born striker Fadi Salback who was  transferred by FC Vorkuta (now Continentals FC) to FC Podiliava Khmelnytskyi of the Ukrainian Second Division.

 Stan Adamson

The post CSL STRIKER HITS $1 MILLION MARK appeared first on Canadian Soccer League.


The Enio Perruzza Memorial Trophy competition, originally scheduled to be played at the end of the 2022 season, has been postponed to early season 2023.

The right stadium availability late in the season and other difficulties led to a recent Canadian Soccer League decision to move the competition into next year.

 Enio Perruzza, who died unexpectedly on January 15, 2021 at the age of 54, announced over 3,000 mostly Canadian Soccer League and Ontario Cup matches over two decades. Known in the soccer community in southern Ontario as the voice of the CSL, Perruzza’s booming voice also raised the volume at international matches involving high level teams from overseas, including Benfica, Red Star Belgrade, the Mexican under 20 side and the Italian military team. Perruzza  held a pride also in being invited to announce 18 Ontario Cup finals and the occasional appointment to provide colour commentary on television.

“Enio was an important member and colleague in the CSL for many years while serving the soccer community and a delay enables us to pay tribute adequately,” said Dragan Bakoc, president of the CSL.


Canadian Soccer League  2022 – SUMMARY

 CSL LEAGUE TITLE: Serbian White Eagles   RUNNER-UP: York Region Shooters



Serbian White Eagles and York Region Shooters gained a bye to the semi-finals.

Continentals FC 2, Toronto Falcons 0

Scarborough SC 3, BGHC 2


Serbian White Eagles 0,  Continentals FC 2

Scarborough SC 3,  York Region Shooters 1 (after extra time)


Scarborough 1 Continentals FC 2


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