October 22, 2006 CSL Award Winners (from CSL press release)

For Immediate Release
European pro wins MVP

TORONTO - Monday, October 23 -Two players with Serbian White Eagles were devastating to most opposition in the Canadian Soccer League in 2006 and the first half of the potent duo was Sasa Viciknez, a 32-year old veteran professional from Serbia and Montenegro who played with First Division side, Obilic. Viciknez used his European-acquired skills to cut through the opposition time and again, setting up attacks while managing to strike a personal 23 goals in the process of the Serbian team winning the International Conference.

The other half of the attacking force that destroyed defences game in and game out was striker Gabriel Pop from the Romanian First Division. He played for the Eagles this season via Metro Lions and Oakville Blue Devils.

Viciknez has been voted the Most Valuable Player in Canada's 12-team CSL and Pop, who popped in 27 goals, took the top goalscorer award.

George Azcurra of Toronto Croatia was voted the league's top goalkeeper, the fifth time he has won such an award since 1998. The CSL clubs decided the Canadian-born Azcurra of Argentine parents, who learned his soccer in Brampton East and who played locally also with Woodbridge Sora, was the best.

Windsor-born Filip Rocca, 31, of Windsor Border Stars, was voted the league's best defender, and first-year Uarlem Castro, who learned his skills in Brazil and who scored five of his 20 league and cup goals for Toronto Supra Portuguese in a 9-0 memorable victory at Centennial Stadium on September 24, was chosen Rookie of the Year.

The league's Coach of the Year award has gone to Tony De Thomasis of CSL champions Italia Shooters, a team that struggled early in the season but persevered under De Thomasis to play attractive, fast-paced attacking soccer to move into playoff contention, going on to win its way to the championship final to eventually defeat the high-flying Serbian White Eagles, 1-0, in a thriller at Esther Shiner Stadium on October 15. The game, played before a full house, has been described by some as one of the most exciting games seen in Toronto in recent years.

The team with the best discipline record to win the league's Fair Play Award was Caribbean Selects, while the Commissioner's Award went to Toronto Supra Portuguese owner, Isac Cambas. Mercey Watfa, who officiated the championship final, was voted the referee of the year.

"Isac has demonstrated enormous dedication to the CSL and his contribution to professional soccer is long-standing, yet he has also kept up an organization that includes two under-21 sides, a House League system and an academy to teach soccer skills to the younger set," said league commissioner Cary Kaplan.

"His strong leadership has been great for our league and for soccer in Canada."

Kaplan has revealed his intention to grow and strengthen the CSL program for international teams, emphasizing there is a place in Canadian soccer for such a concept which exceeded all expectations in its inaugural 2006. "And with our community teams, the Canadian Soccer League has a great future and we are committed to moving east and west with controlled expansion with time," he said.

Attendances were up by 50 per cent in 2006, there has been a dramatic increase in the list of sponsors supporting the CSL and the media coverage showed a marked increase in the season just ended.

Italia Shooters won the CSL championship and Serbian White Eagles were the runners-up. Eagles also won the new International Conference, while Toronto Croatia, celebrating 50 years in Canadian soccer, were runners-up. Oakville Blue Devils won the National Conference and Brampton Stallions finished second.

Ottawa St. Anthony Italia, an amateur team from the Ottawa Carleton Soccer League, won the CSL-sponsored Open Canada Cup and the Toronto Lynx of the USL First Division, were runners-up. The Open Canada Cup is open to all senior professional and amateur teams in Canada and Ottawa St. Anthony Italia went on to capture the 2006 Canadian amateur championship. Please refer: Stan Adamson 416 580-5439

The Canadian Soccer League Inc., Cary Kaplan, Commissioner
The Soccer Centre, 7601 Martin Grove Road, Vaughan, Ontario L4L 9E4
Tel: 905 856-5439 Fax: 905 856-9325
e-mail: csl@canadiansoccerleague.ca

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