March 28, 2011 CSL--Niagara Falls In CSL Second Division (from CSL news release)

NIAGARA FALLS IN CSL SECOND DIVISION - CSL players, coaches in the news
Monday, March 28, 2011

Niagara Falls is in the Canadian Soccer League.

Niagara United SC from the border community of Niagara Falls, Ontario will play its inaugural year in the CSL Second Division. Owned by The Niagara Soccer Group, a number of prominent businessmen with ties to the local soccer community for more than two decades, the team will play its home games at Kalar Road Sports Park and has made application for Saturday evenings.

“We will have a fully functional CSL Youth Development program connected to the CSL team and will build an organization that will give all players an opportunity to play at a high level if they have the skills and the desire,” said coach James McGillivray, the former head coach of the CSL’s St. Catharines Wolves who has been instrumental in gaining CSL membership for the team located in Canada’s premier vacation destination.

Niagara United, together with KW United FC from Kitchener approved for membership mid-March, will play on the west side of a CSL Reserve Division of mostly reserve teams split geographically into east and west. This division is expected to be renamed the CSL Second Division. McGillivray invites players to tryouts now underway and applications should go by email to

CSL players continue to be in the news with the signing of York Region Shooters’ midfielder Joseph Di Chiara by FC Krylia Sovetov of Russia, while defender Patrick Nyema Gerhardt, who played an important role for Brantford Galaxy in capturing the 2010 CSL championship, is being listed by the Liberia FA for a place in their national team – nicknamed Lone Stars.

Patrick Gerhardt is listed in the Liberian squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers being played this year, leading to the finals in 2012. Gerhardt, 25, has Swiss-Liberia dual citizenship. The Liberian national team became best known in 1995 when player George Weah became the only African ever to be elected world ‘Player of the Year’.

North York Astros forward and Canadian U-20 national team player Erik Grigore is one of the players Astros’ general manager Bruno Ierullo has taken to Argentina to be seen by some of the top teams there and he gained some attention when scoring a goal in a 2-1 loss to Barcelona Juniors – they play out of the famous ex-Boca Juniors Sports Centre known as La Candela.

The Astros are holding tryouts in Toronto beginning Sunday, April 3 and players should email their interest to

CSL players continue to be selected for the Canadian national teams, including the squad for the CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 championship being played at Guatemala, a competition that leads to this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia. Striker Massimo Mirabelli of Portugal FC (now SC Toronto), Montreal Impact Academy defender Francesco Augustin and two of the most outstanding from the TFC Academy team, midfielder Matt Stinson and defender Donell Henry, are selected.

New coaches are being announced in the CSL, with TFC Academy appointing popular former players Danny Dichio and Jim Brennan to coach their teams in the CSL. Dichio takes over from Canadian international and former Plymouth Argyle player Jason Bent, while Brennan, also a Canadian international and assistant general manager with Toronto FC following his retirement as a player in 2010, will coach the team in the CSL Second Division.

Dichio, who became a fan favourite on scoring Toronto FC’s first goal four years ago, has good inspirational qualities as well as being a highly rated player, an excellent combination for coaching academy players with promise. Brennan has been similarly impressive since joining Toronto FC at the outset. Stuart Neely has been named Academy Director.

CSL expansion team Capital City FC has announced the appointment of Shaun Harris as technical director and head coach. Harris brings impressive coaching and skills training credentials including with Los Angeles Galaxy when they won the 2005 MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in the same season. Harris has been with Everton of the English Premier League in a technical role since 2009.

New team Windsor Stars has listed two coaches for their step into the CSL First Division. Steve Vagnini and Jeff Hodgson will share the head coaching duties to, according to club president Filip Rocca, “ensure a strong coaching presence at all games and practices”. Vagnini, a former goalkeeper, is also coach of Windsor Lancers. Hodgson was a part owner and player with Windsor Border Stars in the CSL from 2004 to 2008 after playing with various teams in Canada and the United States, including Detroit Rockers and Arizona Landsharks.

The CSL season will kickoff the first in May and will play through to the championship game at the end of October.

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