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CPSL Oakville Blue Devils news release...

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Oakville Blue Devils Enter CPSL

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Oakville Soccer Club together with the Oakville based Premier Soccer Academy, has been instrumental in convincing the former Scarborough based Metro Lions franchise to relocate to the Oakville territory for the 2005 season. The use of the Oakville Blue Devils name, signifies the intent to provide top quality soccer on behalf of the Oakville community “The 1998 Blue Devils, coached by Phil Iafrati, became U19 National Champions, and the name seems a perfect fit for the first ever professional team to represent our town” commented Simon Pendlebury, the Club’s President, “this team builds on Oakville’s tradition and provides long awaited opportunities for the players that have proudly defended our colors over the years”.

In keeping with the Oakville tradition, Blue Devils head coach Duncan Wilde announced the signing of Igor Prostan, a fellow Oakville resident and a member of the original National Championship team of 1998, as the first Blue Devil of 2005. Following two years playing professionally in Europe, Igor returned to Canada and was a member of Wilde’s Toronto Lynx roster throughout the 2004 season. “Igor has great ability and creates goalscoring chances in every game he plays” said Wilde, “he was a little unfortunate with injuries last season, but appears to be back to full fitness. He will be a very positive role model for the kids to come and see play, right here in his own town”. Academy partners Billy Steele and Danny Stewart will be joining Duncan Wilde on the technical staff.

“This is great news and I can say that was a hope of mine that we bring this level of play here in Oakville”, outlined Phil Iafrati at the press conference. “In over 30 years of involvement with the Oakville Soccer Club, I can say that it has been a long time in the making but I am glad this will become reality in 2005. It will certainly inspire our players”.

The franchise owners intention is to form a working relationship and an affiliation with the Oakville Soccer Club in an effort to promote and showcase the game. With this in mind it was announced that all Oakville Soccer Club youth players are to be allowed free admission to all home games. There will also be opportunity for teams to participate as ball retrievers, which will include half time scrimmage games as part of the game day activities.

“This was a good opportunity for the Club to take an active role in facilitating the partnerships that move soccer forward in Oakville, in Ontario and in Canada” explained Jean Gandubert, the Club’s CAO, during the press conference, “We were able to find the proper role for everyone without having the Club, and our membership, being financially liable for the operations of the franchise. On the other hand this will help improve the overall soccer experience of our kids with these players being local role models and having them involved with our summer camps. A CPSL team in our community will also help us make our case for higher quality soccer facilities in Oakville.”

The complete 2005 schedule together with ticket information will be available shortly. Further information and player tryout details will also be available on the Oakville Soccer Club web site.

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Looks like a winning combination, tieing in with the Oakville Soccer Club. Their youth program for both the girls and boys are a model operation.

Robin, what is the size of the Oakville S C if you know?

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Is D. Wilde still involved with that Lynx academy, and running their programs. How is this going to work, they hope to generate the income from the parents, since kids don't pay. The Brampton Hitmen had similar ideas but did not get too far, maybe the Metro Lions might get lucky in Oakville.

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They've gotten coverage in the Hamilton Spectator the last 2 days. I'm impressed...or I guess that's what happens when there's no NHL.

And it's actual Spec writers who wrote the pieces, or at least put them together, as opposed to press releases.

* * * * * * *


Ex-Thunder bench boss Duncan Wilde, left, with CAO Jean Gandubert, will guide the fortunes of new pro soccer team.

Oakville joins professional soccer loop with ex-Thunder coach directing traffic

By Larry Moko

The Hamilton Spectator

March 31, 2005

Hamilton Thunder have a hot new rival in the Canadian Professional Soccer League.

They're the Oakville Blue Devils -- the relocated Metro Lions franchise that last year was based in Scarborough.

It's not just the proximity that makes the Hamilton-Oakville matchup intriguing. Blue Devils' coach and general manager is Duncan Wilde, an ex-head coach of the Thunder.

Wilde's assistant coach will be another former member of the Thunder coaching staff, Bill Steele.

And count on several former players from the Hamilton club to be in the lineup for Oakville's home opener June 2 at 7:30 p.m. against the Brampton Stallions.

Blue Devils will call Bronte Athletic Field home.

"Rivalry in soccer is great," said Wilde, an Oakville resident who coached Toronto Lynx of the North American A-League last season. He resigned from the Thunder in July 2003 because of philosophical differences with team management, after leading the club to a 4-0-3 start.

"I left Hamilton on pretty good terms," he said. "The supporters in Hamilton were always fantastic with me. It will be nice to go back and take my new team there to play. On the field, it will be a battle royal."

Blue Devils and Thunder will be part of the Western Conference with Windsor Border Stars, Brampton, London City and St. Catharines Wolves. The Eastern Conference is comprised of Durham Storm, Laval Dynamites -- returning after a year's absence -- North York Astros, Toronto Croatia, Toronto Supra and Vaughan Shooters.

Wilde said to put together a roster of players for the upcoming season, the Blue Devils have access to the Metro Lions' protected list. He's also looking at CPSL free agents and Oakville alumni.

The Oakville Soccer Club's Blue Devils won the Canadian Under-19 championship in 1998. And yesterday it was announced that the captain of that squad -- Burlington Central high school graduate Igor Prostran -- is the first player signed by Oakville's pro club.

Prostran, a midfielder who played in Serbia in 2002 and '03 and for the Lynx last season, was rookie of the year for the OUA McMaster Marauders in 1998.

"I think it will be fun and exciting for the fans," Thunder owner Italo Ferrari said of Oakville's arrival on the soccer scene.

"They (Wilde and Steele) are both fantastic gentlemen whom I always got along with. I'm looking forward to getting close to them again."

lmoko@thespec.com 905-526-2458

* * * * * * *

Community support key to relocation of franchise

By Larry Moko

The Hamilton Spectator

March 31, 2005

The "best soccer community in Canada" has landed its first men's professional sports franchise.

Bill Dixon, who retains his role as club president now that Metro Lions have relocated their Canadian Professional Soccer League club to Oakville, says he's thrilled about the move from Scarborough.

"We got first prize," Dixon said of the affiliation with the Oakville Soccer Club. "I'm very happy. This is the best soccer community in Canada (10,000 members in their youth organization)."

Jean Gandubert, chief administrative officer of the OSC, says the pro team at the top is a good fit for the amateur organization.

"It creates opportunities for our kids down the road," Gandubert said. "We want to make a difference. It makes sense for us in the long term. And it will benefit the sport."

In an effort to promote and showcase the game, all OSC youth players will be allowed free admission to the pro club's home starts.

The complete league schedule has yet to be finalized.

"They (Metro Lions) were looking to play in a better soccer region and environment," said Blue Devils' coach and GM Duncan Wilde, who orchestrated the transfer. "They had no partnership with a club when they were in Scarborough. They were out there on their own.

"I was able to persuade the Oakville Soccer Club to associate with us."

Dixon said owner Arnold Milan, who is on a working holiday in the Philippines, was unable to attend yesterday's media conference.

The Metro Lions will continue as a team, but outside of the CPSL.

"This community is very soccer oriented," Dixon pointed out. "They have a grassroots base for young players. We're the top of the pyramid. Now the kids can aspire to something bigger."

* * * * * *

Oakville Blue Devils join professional soccer league

March 30, 2005

Oakville has landed a team in the Canadian Professional Soccer League. The club, to be called the Blue Devils, is expected to unveil its plans for the upcoming season during a media conference at Oakville Soccer Club offices this morning.

Blue Devils are the relocated Metro Lions franchise. Coaching the Oakville squad will be former Hamilton Thunder coaches Duncan Wilde and Billy Steele.

Other entries in the 12-team league are the Thunder, Laval Dynamites, Windsor Border Stars, Brampton, Durham Storm, London City, North York Astros, St. Catharines Roma Wolves, Vaughan Shooters, Toronto Croatia and Toronto Supra.

League play starts in the third week of May. Toronto Croatia is defending champion.

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Former championship standout Igor Prostran first to sign.

Oakville, Ont.--Thursday, March 31--It seems fitting that the first player to be signed by Oakville Blue Devils, the first professional team to represent Oakville in the Canadian Professional Soccer League, is Igor Prostran, a 26 year old midfielder.

Prostran’s signing and the presence at a press conference on March 30 of popular veteran coach, Phil Iafrate, brought back to everyone those memorable days in 1998 when the under-19 Oakville Blue Devils won the Canadian Championship after capturing the Ontario Cup and the championship of the Ontario Youth Soccer League.

Prostran, who captained the Blue Devils and was top scorer and MVP at the national championships, showed a variety of skills that eventually took the Serbia-born midfielder back to Europe before he returned to Canada in 2004 as a member of the USL’s First Division team Toronto Lynx.

“Igor has great ability and creates goalscoring chances in every game he plays,” explained Duncan Wilde, himself a former pro in England and now president of Premier Soccer Academy, who, with partners Billy Steele and Danny Stewart aim to launch the pro Blue Devils as a title contender in the tough Western Conference of the 12-team CPSL.

Oakville Blue Devils is a franchise created out of the former Metro Lions, which for the past two years played out of Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough.

Blue Devils’ president Bill Dixon and Jean Gandubert, Oakville Soccer Club’s chief administrative officer, who with Wilde struck the deal to bring pro soccer to Oakville, were very much on the same wavelength at what Gandubert described as a “meet and greet occasion” rather than a press conference. Both said the presence of a professional team in the midst of Canada’s largest soccer club is a logical step at this juncture of the club’s growth and development. The Oakville club boasts 10,000 player registrations and Wilde announced that all youth players will be allowed free admission to home games at Bronte Stadium.

Exposure to this level of soccer is bound to help in the development of his club’s young players, reasoned Gandubert who, as one of Canada’s most respected soccer administrators is the former executive director of the Quebec Soccer Federation to work closely four years ago with the Hon. Denis Coderre, the then Secretary of State for Amateur Sport in the Liberal government, to further soccer in Canada.

Blue Devils will open their season at Bronte Stadium against nearby Brampton Stallions on June 2.

For more information, please contact Stan Adamson, Director of Media and Public Relations at

(905) 856-5439 or e-mail to stanadamson@cpsl.ca

The Canadian Professional Soccer League Inc., The Soccer Centre, 7601 Martin Grove Road, Vaughan, Ontario L4L 9E4

Tel: 905 856-5439 Fax: 905 856-9325 e-mail: cpsl@cpsl.ca www.cpsl.ca

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"Jean Gandubert, chief administrative officer of the OSC, says the pro team at the top is a good fit for the amateur organization.

"It creates opportunities for our kids down the road," Gandubert said. "We want to make a difference. It makes sense for us in the long term. And it will benefit the sport."

What kind of opportunities does he exactly refer to in relation to the kids?

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Well, that might be your definition of pro, but in reality if you get paid (any amount), you're a pro.

As leekoo likes to say, there is no such thing as semi-pregnant, and there is no such thing as semi-pro - you either are, or you aren't :)

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quote:Originally posted by L.T.

Well, that might be your definition of pro, but in reality if you get paid (any amount), you're a pro.

As leekoo likes to say, there is no such thing as semi-pregnant, and there is no such thing as semi-pro - you either are, or you aren't :)

forget that word semi-pro for canada (and USA)... the CPSL is a pro league but a division 3 pro league ... it falls under provincial jurisdiction (OSA) ... for canada, the USL (formerly a-league) is designated as a division 1 pro league under the jurisdiction of the CSA ...

this means at least four things:

1. pro players can get paid

2. amateur players can play on a pro team ...

3. pro players cannot play on an amateur team

4. amateur players cannot get paid

however, the NCAA may have a problem with that ... i'm not sure if the CPSL has resolved this problem ...

from my interview with vince ursini, CPSL chairman


"in regards to being professional, yes we are a professional league. We have players that are being paid. Unlike having an amateur league with no one being paid or with some being paid under the table. There are also players in the CPSL not receiving money. More importantly, the CPSL structure allows youth to play up in the league and to maintain their amateur status."

However, I believe we should all work towards a goal of, one day, players playing in this country professionally and being able to make a living at it. We are still far from it, but that's ideally where we want to go.

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quote:Originally posted by hamiltonfan

The CPSL is division 2 in Canada.




PDL-D3/4(i'm sure the Chill could play with all PCSL teams and some CPSL teams)

Nope. Just because it's the 2nd highest existing division, that doesn't mean it is division 2.

I believe that in the way our soccer organizations are structured, a pro league that is sanctioned by a provincial body (in this case the OSA) is considered Division 3. To be Division 2, you have to be national (i.e. sanctioned by the CSA)...

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quote:Originally posted by jaydog2006

Yes the cpsl is pro but the pay is very very little you could not live on playing in the cpsl.

we have no idea what the CPSL's player budgets are ...

we have no idea what the CPSL's average player salary is ...

we have no idea how many CPSL players sign pro contracts ...

we have no idea how many CPSL players sign amateur contracts ...

we have no CPSL attendance figures ...

the CPSL's first season was 1998 ...

From Canada Kicks

CPSL's Faltering First Steps

Year one was not a smooth sail by any stretch.

by David Bailey, Staff Writer

Thursday, October 22, 1998 03:28:33 PM

It was on August 20th, 1997 that the Ontario Soccer Association officially announced the formation of a long awaited new venture into premiere league soccer in the province of Ontario, the Canadian Professional Soccer League (Ontario Division). This new CPSL, the result of a merger between the established but struggling Canadian National Soccer League and the still-born Ontario Professional Soccer League, was designed to help solidify the overly shifting nature of semi- professional soccer in the province and further, to lead the way towards a new “national” soccer entity consisting of CPSL divisions across Canada.

The CPSL (Ontario Division) would consist of five clubs from the old CNSL - Toronto Croatia, Toronto Italia, London City, St. Catharines Roma Wolves and North York (formerly Scarborough) Astros plus four clubs that had planned to be part of the OPSL - York Region Shooters, Toronto Olympians, Glen Shields Sun Devils and Mississauga S.C.

However noble the OSA’s motives, the road to stability for this league has been rough, rocky and strewn with controversy. When it became known that the Canadian Soccer Association had not been consulted or even informed of the OSA’s plans for the CPSL, long suffering soccer fans were forced once again to shake their heads in dismay.

The head shaking continued when it came to light that Toronto Italia, formerly one of the strongest franchises in the old NSL but now only a pale shadow of its former self, was involved in a war of words with the OSA and CPSL regarding its territory and league policy. In the end, this once proud franchise would withdraw from the league and may have actually disappeared forever.

As spring fast approached and the Italia issue remained unsolved, the league was not even able to finalize its schedule for the 1998 season. Finally and with only two weeks notice, the league released their schedule and things started to look like they were falling into place.

The CPSL was embarrassed by their late start, League Chairman Bill Spiers stated “Ideally, we would have liked all those things settled before Christmas and spend January, February and March doing promotion. We just weren't able to do that and it turned out that we finalized the schedule and the number of teams then the season opens two weeks later. It was most disappointing.”

League Director of Operations Voja Jurisic concurred stating, “Every new league and every new business is going to have it successes and failures and we had our fair share of both.”

Sadly, although play on the field was able to maintain a high level of quality throughout the season, attendance figures dramatically reflected the league’s inability to publicize itself.

London City’s Harry Gauss left no room for doubt regarding the crowds at City’s “Cove Road” facility stating, “This has been the lowest attendance in our 25 year history. We can live with 600 but what we want is 1000. We were well below that. This was as bad a year as you would ever want to have.”

He continued “We do our job locally here but we've got to know what we're dealing with. How many teams there are and who they are and know that well in advance. You can't have a schedule released for your first game and we didn't even have that. We were supposed to kick off without schedules, without anything and it's pretty hard to market that.”

While attendance is the most visible area of weakness, there are other areas of concern. At matches this reporter has personally attended, problems included matches starting 30 to 45 minutes later than their publicized kick-off times, non-functioning scoreboard clocks, the non-availability of printed team line-ups to spectators and teams changing uniforms and colours at half time.

If the league wishes to be known as professional, these types of problems just cannot occur, ever. The increasingly sophisticated sports fans of this era will simply not accept it.

The use of the term “professional” in the league title has come with some controversy in itself. It is well known within circles that approaches have been made to the league regarding the changing of its name to the “Canadian Premiere Soccer League”. The clubs have not reacted well to this proposal with Gauss being the most outspoken, “We are not going to agree on a name change. I feel sorry for whoever wants us to change our name because it's not going to happen. I'm very adamant about it. We're tired of changing our name. You can't change it every two weeks. What's next? Enough is enough.”

While the clubs might balk at any name change, many observers feel that the very use of the term “professional” does more to illustrate the “wannabe” status of the league rather than the reality of the situation especially in light of the fact that the majority of players are either amateur or at the low end of the semi-professional scale.

With the 1998 season now having concluded with Toronto Olympians taking the League and Cup but with St. Catharines Roma Wolves upsetting them in the Play-off

Final, speculation has now begun in regards to the 1999 season and possible expansion.

“We've spoken to various new groups that have expressed an interest in getting into the league” said Spiers. “We have some difficulties in that we are trying to avoid becoming a Toronto based league but its very difficult when most of the interest is from the Toronto area.”

An outspoken Gauss is not in favour of expansion in the Toronto area , “I'm hoping that common sense is being used. (The league) is really Toronto based right now and

that makes it tough on a London and St. Catharines for travelling. If we get 12 more

applications and they're all from Toronto, I don't want to see (it).

On expansion, Jurisic stated, “The league position and my personal goal is to expand the league by four more clubs. We have eight so four (expansion) clubs would be perfect. We'll have a stronger league.”

One more area of controversy in the CPSL’s inaugural season was the touchy issue of the Ontario Soccer Associations status in regards to the running of the league.“They shouldn't be involved in running leagues. I was never comfortable with that, I'm still not comfortable with that and this year is living proof of that.” said Gauss. “What really has to happen is that the teams grab the bull by the horns and run their own show because the people that are involved now have no idea what this

actually takes.”

Not surprisingly, the view of Bill Spiers was a bit different. “I think that was perhaps blown out of proportion.” explained the League Chairman, “I certainly will admit that there was a split in the league between the former CNSL teams and the new teams. I think the CNSL clubs kept thinking back to the problems they had in the past and were projecting them into this year. The newer teams were a bit more realistic and said this is a joint effort and everybody's got to pull together here.”

Jurisic simply said with some bitterness and irony “There were no stormy relations with the OSA, there were no relations!”

So with the 1998 season virtually complete and with plenty of work needed to be done prior to the 1999 kick-off, the political world of soccer is as twisting and turning

as ever.

The jury is still out on the future of the CPSL but it's all we've got and so the soccer community must hope that the “powers that be” are able to put aside their differences or at least learn to live with them, in order that soccer doesn’t receive one more in a long line of black eyes.

Late breaking news:

The proposed CPSL Winter League has been cancelled. According to Jurisic, “(the clubs) can’t afford it - no other reasons”. The league was to have played out of the Ontario Soccer Centre with London and St. Catharines sitting out.

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quote:Originally posted by leekoo

where do those numbers come from ...

That does sound a bit high for an average. In my very brief time with the Lions, I seem to recall that many players were considered fortunate if they received more than $100 per game. The "stars" would have received a bit more but at best.

I remember that one of the strikers, a very fine player and at one time a league scoring leader, was having a tough season and when the coach talked to him about what was wrong, his reply was that his legs couldn't take installing carpets all day and then having to play a match. Laying carpets is tough. Playing a high level soccer match at the end of the day must have been very difficult.


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Well, Cambridge online dictionary has several definitions for the word "professional" but the most appropriate one for sports is, "a person who does as a job what people usually do as a hobby".

One normally is paid for doing one's job. I guess then by definition if it is one's fulltime job then one is a fulltime professional, and if only a parttime job then one is a parttime professional or semi-professional. There are very few soccer players in Canada that derive their income solely from playing soccer, even in the USL but least of all for the CPSL, they must thus by definition be semi-professional soccer players at best. Insisting that these players are professionals is really a stretch and rather undermines credibility. The majority of their income, meagre as it might be, must of necessity be derived from an occupation other than playing for a CPSL team.

I am not knocking the regional league aspect of the CPSL far from it, just expressing my skepticism at their insistence on holding themselves out as a "professional" soccer league. This may be a laudable objective but they are nowhere near there yet.

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quote:Originally posted by Richard

I am not knocking the regional league aspect of the CPSL far from it, just expressing my skepticism at their insistence on holding themselves out as a "professional" soccer league. This may be a laudable objective but they are nowhere near there yet.

Quite the contrary, you knock the CPSL as much as you can.

Vince Ursini fully admitted on the subject of wages that the players were at best semi-pro with the hope one day of the teams being able to pay their players on a full-time basis. You of course know all this.

On the matter of the name "profesional", the NCAA considers the league to be such, so lay off your BS on this stupid issue, Mr. PCSL.

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