Brampton Guardian: Hitmen Ready for Action
April 30th, 2002

Ready for action!

Brampton Hitmen owner Steve Nijjar, left, welcomes the Canadian Professional Soccer League's newest recruit, and local product, Marcin Wysocki and head coach Ed McLaughlin to the fold. The team kicks off its second CPSL season on May 24.

Photo by Bryon Johnson

Brampton Hitmen are gearing for their second season in the Canadian Professional Soccer League with some changes they hope will attract even more fans.

They have hired a new head coach and are affiliating with a local youth soccer club when they begin their 21-game schedule May 24.

Ed McLaughlin, known to local soccer fans as a former player and coach with Bramalea Thistle and Bramalea Celtic of the Ontario Soccer League is the team's third head coach. Jose DaSilva who came on part-way through last season is in Portugal coaching a third division team.

McLaughlin said the team has won its two exhibition games and is hopeful the team will improve its standing from last year when it finished eighth in a 12-team league.

"I'm excited,'' said McLaughlin. "I feel we can be in the top three.''

"Last season the Hitmen didn't win a game in the first 10 games but then won seven of the last 10.''

He has scouted the league and feels if the Hitmen can play as well as it did over the second half of the schedule it will be in the thick of things. McLaughlin has added Brampton resident Pat Brodie to the Hitmen staff as an assistant coach. Brodie was for several years one of the top players in the OSL. He joins returning assistant Pernell Mason.

Hitmen officially signed an affiliation agreement Thursday with the Brampton East Soccer Club which will allow players from the youth organization to move up and play for the Hitmen.

The first player to benefit from the deal is 18-year old midfielder/defender Marcin Wysocki who has signed with the Hitmen for the upcoming season.

Dave Rupoli, president of the Brampton East Soccer Club said the affiliation agreement has two main benefits for his organization.

"It gives our under-18 and under-19 players a chance to play at a higher level,'' he said. "Second our players and coaches have a chance to watch a level of soccer that they only see on television.''

Rupoli is encouraging members from the Brampton East club to come out to Hitmen games and learn from them.

He is hopeful that the affiliation can be expanded in future years to allow every member of the organization to have a season's pass to Hitmen games for a nominal cost.

Wysocki is the first of what Rupoli hopes will be a line of players from Brampton East to play for the Hitmen.

He has played the two exhibition games and said he has learned what it takes to succeed in the CPSL.

"I'll have to pick up the pace, there is more running,'' he said but he is confident he will be able to adjust.

Other local players on the Hitmen are forward Jeff Sousa, who was with the team last season and goalie Paolo Ciccorelli who is currently in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

Steve Nijjar team co-owner said Hitmen players will be ever more involved in the community and he is hopeful to get attendance to between 1,500 to 2,000 per game. The team has added a new partner in Joe Fuliere, who will be assisting in marketing.

The CPSL has expanded by two teams this year with the addition of the Mississauga Olympians and the Hamilton Thunder.

The Hitmen's first game is May 24 against Toronto Croatia. Nine of 11 home games are scheduled for Sundays beginning June 2 hosting Vaughan Sun Devils, formerly Glen Shields.

Others in the league are Durham Flames, London City, Metro Lions, Montreal Dynamites, North York Astros, Ottawa Wizards, St. Catharines Roma Wolves, Toronto Supra and York Region Shooters.

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