April 3, 2010 CSL Milltown FC press conference and other CSL news (by Rocket Robin)

Hilites of the press conference of Milltown Football Club held on Saturday April 3, 2010 at the Milton Sports Centre in Milton Ontario at 2:00pm.

The large head table was made up of CSL (Canadian Soccer League) executive members Stan Adamson (executive director), Pino Jazbec, and Domenic Di Gironimo (chairman), Milton Youth Soccer Club executives Justin Vassallo, Mandy Warner, Martin Warner and Gary Collins (president of Milton Youth Soccer Club), Milltown FC executives Dino Rossi Jr (director), Rafael Carbajal (head coach), and Lino Terra (director of operations), Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame member Bob Iarusci, and Kristian Jack from The Score (The Footy Show, Score Media Inc). Kristian Jack acted as the MC for the meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 2:20pm. Attendance was about 225 with most people being the parents and players of the Milton Youth Soccer Club.

The host Kristian Jack started by introducing the head table plus called up Milton mayor Gordon Kranz from the front row. Mayor Kranz joked about giving a long speech because there was a microphone at the podium but was brief talking about the growth of the game in the last 25 years. He promoted the town that everyone knows where Milton is with a joke about his business cards having a map with the cities of New York, Montreal, and Milton as the few points actually listed.

Dino Rossi Jr thanked the crowd for coming out. He said it took a full year of planning that started on-line on soccer discussion boards then moved off-line to meetings and a dedicated team came together to form Milltown FC. The team will represent this town and provide pathways for the young players to move up. Their goal is to develop players to their full potential all the way to the Canadian National team. The club will provide a professional environment with top organization and coaching. He gave a description of the CSL league (as many in the crowd might not know much about it). He reminded them that there is a season's ticket table in the back. He finished by thanking his colleagues for sticking with him as others dropped out.

Next up was Milltown FC head coach Rafael Carbajal who said he was proud and honoured to be in this position. He has seen the Milton minor organization as passionate. He knows he's in the right partnership of passion and hard work. This will be the franchise to follow and asks for our support. The kids in Milton will get priority. The first tryouts involved 32 players in camp and half were from this area.

Gary Collins, the president of the Milton Youth Soccer Club (teams are known as the Milton Magic) said he got involved because of the youth in this town and is glad that now they will be able to play pro soccer in their own town. Their youth programs and Milltown FC will provide joint development and a long relationship and coaching opportunities between the clubs.

The teams then provided a photo-op with Dino Rossi Jr and Gary Collins each signing an affiliation agreement between the two clubs.

CSL chairman Domenic Di Gironimo said today was a momentous occasion for the CSL too. It starts a new phase in for the league. He thanked the OSA (Ontario Soccer Association) or the CSL wouldn't be her today. The league is now sanctioned by the CSA (Canadian Soccer Association) but it won't forget its OSA links. This team involves opportunities for Milton. The team meets the objectives of the league in that our clubs need to be leaders of elite soccer development in a vibrant community. (He then noticed the "Vibrant Performance" was a team sponsor!). It will allow youth to excel and stay in their own community for as long as possible. The CSL wants more of these kind of partnerships. He wished the club a great season.

Canadian Hall of Famer Bob Iarusci said he was overwhelmed by today and was lost for words which he joked was a rarity for him. Today is exactly the way that's needed to develop soccer in this country. The formula is to work to your strength which will be to harness the kids in the clubs in their vibrant community. He said it took Dino Jr to get him back to soccer. He will watch these kids join the CSL and beat Toronto FC for a place in the Concacaf championships! He then whipped out a wad of bills and said he will be buying season tickets. He finished by saying this a great day and not to forget April 3rd, 2010 as the day it got started.

The meeting ended at 2:55pm.

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There was no question period from the crowd but I mingled to ask some questions.

Dino Jr answered me that most Milltown FC home game will be on Friday evenings at 8:00pm. He said it will let the players have the rest of their weekend free. The league schedule is not out yet except for the first home and away games. Milltown opens up with tough games against Montreal Impact Academy and Serbian White Eagles.

Stan Adamson filled in some details of the CSL this year. There will be 13 teams (up from 10 last year) and ONE table only. Eight teams will make the playoffs. He stopped to confirm the situation but added there will be two game quarterfinals (each playoff team will get at least one home gate), one game semi-finals, and a one game championship. The schedule will be out later this week and will start earlier this year as each team will play the others home and away in a 24 game schedule. The season will run from Saturday May 8th to October with playoffs running until the end of October. There will be a short exhibition season from April 24th until the first week of May. There will be more teams (then last year) in a reserve division which will have an east and west division. Most games will be played on Friday nights and Sundays. St Catharines will still play on Wednesdays.

With full membership with the CSA, 90% of the standards are still being adopted from the UK rules and the standards must be achievable. They must elevate the standards to a Canadian environment. (huh?)

There will be a CSL All Star team reformed with either a two or three game schedule against overseas teams.

Pino Jazbec said the TFC Academy will play seven game at BMO Field after the Toronto FC pro team plays a home game. First game for that will be May 8th after Toronto FC plays Chicago Fire. The one scarf wearing Red Patch Boy (Toronto FC supporter) I saw had not heard about this.

Domenic Di Gironimo said the league is renewing the Rogers TV deal it had last year with even more expanded coverage and will now show a team's "away" games in its home region as well as the home games. There will also be a weekly hilites show.

London City are still in the league and I'm advised they will be more competitive as they have some trialists from Mexico this year.

Milltown FC will play their home games at Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School in Milton. The team has not signed any players yet said Dino Jr. and the teenagers I saw milling around after the meeting were trialists. Various season ticket packages exist, the most expensive being a Premium package for $225 which would let a family as large as the Brady Bunch into the 12 home games. $69 will let one adult into a season's worth of games.

It took me about 90 minutes to get here on an almost traffic-free Saturday afternoon so I don't expect to drive through rush hour traffic to catch their Friday night home games but their trips closer to Toronto will give me plenty of chances during the season to see them.

I remember the Milltown group starting out on a soccer message board complaining about the CSA for among other things keeping national men's coach Dale Mitchell beyond his best-before date after failing to qualify for even the hexagonal Concacaf group. That group evolved into putting some of their energy into starting their own semi-pro club and that's all evolved from what I can recall of just under two years.

Rocket Robin

head table panelists (from left) the CSL's Stan Adamson, Pino Jazbec, and Domenic Di Gironimo, Milton Youth Soccer club directors
Justin Vassallo, Mandy Warner, Martin Warner, and Gary Collins, and Milltown FC's Dino Rossi Jr.

the rest of head table (from the standing Dino Rossi Jr), Milltown FCs Rafael Carbajal, Lino Terra, Hall of Famer Bob Iarusci, and The Score's Kristian Jack.

Milton Youth Soccer president Gary Collins and Milltown FC director Dino Rossi Jr sign the affiliation agreement.

Milton mayor Gordon Kranz with Dino Rossi Jr and his parents.

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