January 24, 2019...Canadian Premier Soccer Combine of League 1 Ontario invitees (by Rocket Robin)

Today's combine at the Ontario Soccer Centre involved only League 1 Ontario players. 

I got there at 8:45am and the players were doing testing.  Pylon navigation with 
and without a ball.  Also sprinting with a bungee cord attached I'll assume increasing 
in resistance the further across the field you ran. 

There were 47 players listed for the morning games divided into four teams wearing 
pinnies I recognized from the CPL open tryouts last Fall.  Each team played two 30 minute 
half games against the same team ie.  Orange vs Green for 60 minutes then Yellow vs Blue.  
First game started at 10:14am and second at 11:43am and ended at 12:48pm. 

After lunch there was another game with 33 players split into two teams (leaving bench 
strength for substitutions).  This was also a two 30 minute halfs game. 

This was an 'invite only' day involving L1O players that had been prescouted by L1O 
and selected to show off for the CPL coaches and officials.  These players were not 
involved in the open trials that took place across Canada months ago (although some other 
L1O players were at trials not just here and Hamilton but the other venues and some 
passed for the promise of a tryout--which was later changed to a possibility of a tryout). 

Duncan Wilde of Oakville Blue Devils answered me that his team had none of his players 
at the Open Trials back in the Fall but some were here today.  There were some players 
that came from FC London and even one from Ottawa South United—Barou Junior Mbuyamba 
who made it to the afternoon session while their goalie Jared St Thomas and defender 
Turner Johnson had successfully tryed-out in Hamilton.   

Today's players looked better than the 200+ I saw over two days at this location.  
That was open to those who put up the $200 fee.    

Players may have played on the same club team but today's squads were scattered 
about.  There were a lot of offsides called in the three games today and the backheel 
passes didn't always work because players weren't used to each other.   

I've got all the goal scorers from the games.  The afternoon session had the 
survivors play in Yellow vs Blue pinnies but that meant the numbers worn were different 
as some of the Greens and Oranges passed and pinnies were given out at random.   

Officials from L10 and CPL seemed glad to see me but I had not been invited and found 
out about it from folks on the Voyageurs message board.   L1O provided me with a list 
of the morning rosters and after the afternoon game I was allowed to take a picture 
of that roster on the promise I wouldn't tweet it.  Good deal!   

Some pictures of the opening drills    (pictures of the opening drills by Rocket Robin) 

Group pictures of all the players in the morning games.  

Coaches of the four teams.

CPL coaching staffs watched from the opposite balcony. 

List of League 1 Ontario players at today's combine:   

Players name              position   L1O team in 2018  L1O 2018 All Star? Morning team  Afternoon team  

Milan Beader                FW       Alliance                               Yellow          Blue                     
Parmpreet Singh             DM       Aurora FC                              Orange     
Matthew Zaikos              GK       Darby FC                               Green              
Vince Sasso                 LB       Darby FC                               Green                             
Christian Moncrieffe        MF       Darby FC                               Yellow          Blue                      
Shaun Claud Lawson          MF       Darby FC                               Yellow          Yellow                
Aaron Schneebeli            CB       FC London           Third team         Orange          Yellow                                                    
Ethan Gopaul                MF       FC London                              Orange          Yellow                        
Marko Maletic               CB       FC London           First team         Yellow          Yellow       
Mohammed Nafar              MF       FC London           First team         Blue            Yellow      
Connor Wilson               FW       FC London           Second team        Blue            Yellow                      
Spiro Koskinas              GK       Masters Futbol                         Orange          Blue       
Maleik De Freitas           FW       Masters Futbol                         Orange       
Reshon Phillip              FW       Masters Futbol                         Blue             Blue               
Sundin Esperance            LB       North Mississauga                      Orange           Blue    
Anthony Wright              CB       North Mississauga                      Green    
Rahim Thorpe                MF       North Mississauga                      Yellow           Blue   
Tyriq Armstrong             FW       Oakville                               Orange           Blue    
Lukas Birnstingl            GK       Oakville*            Third team        Yellow           Yellow        
Rajvir Kahlon               MF       Oakville                               Yellow           Yellow          
Carlo Difeo                 RB       Oakville                               Blue             Blue    
Khody Ellis                 MF       Oakville                               Blue             Yellow                                
Barou Junior Mbuyamba       MF       Ottawa South United  Third team        Green            Blue                          
Michael Borowski            CB       Pro Stars                              Orange           Yellow     
Uday Arora                  MF       Pro Stars                              Blue                                     
Nathaniel Rodney-Scarlett   RB       Sanjaxx                                Orange   
Stefan Nikolic              MF       Sanjaxx              Second team       Green          
Dieu Merci Yuma             FW       Sanjaxx                                Yellow           Yellow                                     
Wadohi Fadul                MF       Toronto Skillz                         Orange           Blue     
Zamir Mohammad              CB       Toronto Skillz                         Green                    
Daniel Khalili              MF       Toronto Skillz                         Green   
Tim Mahabir                 CB       Toronto Skillz       Third team        Blue              Blue             
Bojan Zoranovic             FW       Unionville Milliken                    Green             Yellow       
Tre Crosby                  FW       Unionville Milliken  Third team        Yellow            Blue                                        
Eddie Lay                   MF       Vaughan                                Orange  
Riley Ferazzo               RB       Vaughan                                Green                           
Shiquan Lowe                CB       Vaughan                                Yellow            Blue              
Jared Phillips              RB       Vaughan              First team        Yellow            Yellow    
Matt George                 GK       Vaughan**                              Blue        
Daniel Cramarossa           LB       Vaughan                                Blue              Yellow       
Jarek Whiteman              FW       Vaughan                                Blue              Blue                
Noah Pio                    FW       Windsor                                Green             Yellow                  
Federico Leal               MF       Woodbridge                             Orange            Blue              
Isaiah Johnston             MF       Woodbridge                             Green             Yellow     
Bruce Cullen                LB       Woodbridge          Third team         Yellow     
Francio Henry               CB       Woodbridge                             Blue              Blue                  
Emmanuel Issac              MF       Woodbridge          Second team        Blue              Blue     

*  started season for Unionville Milliken      								
** started season for Oakville  								    
Wow!  both Oakville and FC London brought five players to this combine and all survived the 47 player
morning session and were able to play in the 33 player afternoon game.    
Interesting that Vaughan's Shiquan Lowe was a successful trialist in the Winnipeg CPL trials back 
in October!     

Only three 'First team All Stars' here today?  OK that does leave eight.  

Midfielder Dylan Sacramento from Vaughan was signed by Valour FC on December 14--his home town 
is Winnipeg and his grandmother's house was on Valour Road on which the team was named after.  

Forward Austin Ricci from Vaughan was signed by York 9 FC officially December 14 as well although 
he was introduced at a fan party the month before.   

Defender Afram Gorgees from TFC III I didn't expect as he'd be on the pathway to a career with 
Toronto FC or any other MLS team as a 'homegrown' player.  

That leaves three guys from Sigma FC--defender Dominic Samuel, midfielder Giuliano Frano, 
and forward Kadell Thomas.  It wouldn't surprise me if there's something going on with Forge FC
as the Sigma coach Bobby Smyrniotis has moved on to be the head coach of Forge FC.  There were
four successful candidates CPL trialists named from the tryouts in Hamilton on October 2 and
one more named from the Toronto tryouts conducted October 12.  It's easy to believe they were
tipped to not try out today.  

The two other First team all stars missing were Woodbridge goalie Robert Stillo and Oakville forward
Anthony Novak.  

Of course reasons could be "I won't give up my career in the GTA to play for $40K on the other side
of the country" or "I've secretly signed for xxxxxx and it hasn't been announced yet".    

Let me now review the games:  

Morning Session:

Orange Team    2   vs Green Team    2   (game report by Rocket Robin)    

Yellow Team    5   vs Blue Team     4   (game report by Rocket Robin)  

Afternoon Session:  

Yellow Team    2    vs Blue Team    1   game report by Rocket Robin        


Winners of today were individual players of course who may win a place on a CPL team. 
Players on the rise would have to be multi-goal scorers.  Oakville Blue Devils midfielder Rajvir
Kahlon scored three goals in the morning game.  Oakville teammate Khody Ellis scored two goals
in the morning game (ironically playing against Kahlon) and one game in the afternoon final.  
A third Oakville player, forward Tyriq Armstrong scored once in the morning and once in the 
afternoon.  North Mississauga's Sundin Esperance also scored once in the morning and once 
in the afternoon as well but more impressive is he's a defender.  

Although this event was in the GTA so only York 9 FC and Forge FC were 'must attendees', I was
told that were representatives from all seven CPL clubs.  I did recognize Steven Hart from HFX
Wanderers and Tommy Wheeldon Jr from Cavalry FC.  I didn't notice Bobby Smyrniotis until late
in the afternoon so he may have just arrived.  

Jim Brennan head coach of York 9 FC wasn't there but I asked his look-a-like brother Ryan, the
team manager, if he was still in Europe scouting players as I'd been following his tweets.  
Assistant coach Carmine Isacco was on the balcony on the other side of the field with the coaches
watching the games.  After the afternoon game he was on the field talking to Ilya Orlov, one of 
the four squad coaches of today's scrimmages.  Isacco is the long time head coach of York University
and Orlov was named head coach of University of Toronto. I'd confirmed earlier today that Isacco 
was still going to coach York U and now I first congratulated Orlov and confirmed that he is going
to contine to coach L1O Alliance United.  I pointed out the huge rivalry of U of T and York U and
he reminded me that I've seen Isacco coach him. (yeah true as his time as a student at York U and 
various teams in the CPSL).  I joked there's only 24 hours in a day and Orlov said he's already
overworked!  Back in the Fall Isacco did say he'd step back somewhat from his L1O Vaughan Azzurri 
coaching duties.  

I was able to speak to L1O Commissioner Dino Rossi Jr as he was rushing to a meeting.  He answered 
there would be 16 men's teams next season (we know that TFC III left the league for the American 
USSDA league). He said there'd be a minimum of the same number of women's teams as last year (13) 
plus maybe one or two more.  He couldn't/wouldn't name them until they were ratified.  After he 
left I realized on the men's side that Durham United had been announced as rejoining the men's 
league (their women's team never left and in fact won the championship) after sitting out last year 
so that would make 17.  Interesting I spoke to Shaun Claud Lawson on his way out as he was wearing 
a Durham United jacket about the return on the team.  A lot of Durham players and coaching staff 
moved over to new team Darby last season...(their first operating a men's L1O team).  He answered 
that a lot may stay at the new team.  As I watched him leave I noticed a Darby FC backpack strapped 
onto him! 

I spoke briefly with Tony Camacho of the Ontario Soccer Association about who would be officiating 
the new CPL league.  He answered that all nationally certified referees and assistants are 
automatically approved to officiate.  Ontario as instructed has put in a list of five more officials 
and are waiting for a decision.  It's pretty certain other provincial associations are as well.      
I will continue to add more details in the next few days.  Stay tuned.      

Rocket Robin
twitter @RocketRobin01

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