Jump to content

CSL press conference in Toronto...

Recommended Posts

Details of the CPSL (nope CSL) press conference held at Toronto City Hall members lounge Wednesday May 17th, 2006 at 12:30pm.

League Executive Director Stan Adamson called the meeting to order and acted as the MC. He thanked the media and league executives for attending knowing today was the European final between Barcelona and Arsenal. He said soccer is in the headlines in our city today with a national stadium being built in Toronto, the unveiling of the MLS Toronto FC franchise logo and the University of Toronto building a 5000 seat stadium in the footprint of the old Varsity Stadium.

He introduced league commissioner Cary Kaplan who promised to bring the league “above the radar” in the last nine months and he thinks it will work. The first is the league has been rebranded the Canadian Soccer League (CSL). The CSL office has expanded to employ five persons. The league has been redrafted with new rules and regulations of 100 pages. (The point wasn’t expanded upon but with all the changes later announced, I could see how this would happen). For special effects two models unveil the new CSL logo and some players bring in a long banner with the name spelled out. He said there is lots of interest by groups wanting to join the league.

This year they have twelve teams including a five team international division. They plan to have a division next year in the Quebec and Ottawa area and eventually go national because of interest from BC, Alberta and Nova Scotia BUT the expansion will be by whole divisions at a time to keep travel expenses in check. He pointed out the failure of previous leagues of just expanding one team isolated area at a time. They expect to have twenty teams around the Southern Ontario area. He outlined the new playoff schedule (I asked later and he gave me a more detailed breakdown) but this year eight teams will make the playoffs and the final will be at Esther Shiner Stadium in North York.

He outlined the Open Canada Cup with the bombshell that the USL Toronto Lynx has joined the fray this year (more further down the page) and the USL Montreal and Vancouver franchises have shown some interest for future participation. The amateur teams are kicking off this weekend in the first round. This year almost all the games will be held on the weekends i.e. Friday night or Saturday and Sunday. He thinks the MLS is great for Toronto but says that 100,000 people were at all CPSL games last year. He said there are improvements being made to Birchmount Stadium this year.

He said the CPSL All Stars team will stay together and their goal will be to be available and play international teams as they’ve recently done against Clyde from Scotland. They’ve built in to the league with the owner’s cooperation the flexibility to play the best teams in the world. He wants the CPSL All Stars to be the best team in the country. The league will increase their fan and entertainment focus.

Stan Adamson came back to the podium and thanked the Toronto City Hall which has been a great supporter of soccer over the years because it knows of its entertainment value and improvements to fitness. He introduced Councillor Peter LoPreti.

LoPreti remembers the days of soccer in Toronto and likes today’s new change of name for the league. He likes the improvements they’ve announced and appreciates the dedication of the owners for their support of the league year after year. He said there’s no reason why this country can’t be successful in soccer and mentions Canada is 85th ranked in the world and the US is 4th (hey this guy knows his soccer) and outlined how the US improved over Canada from a similar ranking over the last fifteen years.

Adamson introduces John Knox who has just been appointed president of the 500,000 member Ontario Soccer Association and this is his first appearance anywhere with that title. Knox talked about the old days of soccer in Toronto and when he dropped names of some of the great teams then I realized that these are the names of about five of the current teams (although some new) in the CSL now. He said great days are coming with the new stadium and the Under 20 World Cup and congratulates the league for moving ahead.

Adamson introduced Jimmy Ellis in the audience (no speech from him) who over the years ran Toronto Emerald and was involved in the OSA and CSA and is still recovering from a stroke.

Adamson introduced Dick Howard with a long line of accomplishments including currently a technical director of FIFA and a TV analyst covering all 64 games on television and how lucky Canadian viewers are to be able to see all these games. [That’s true, many countries that’s not possible].

Dick Howard said the head coach of the Serbia-Montenegro World Cup team took time from his busy schedule and flew over to Toronto to wish the new Toronto Serbian White Eagles team good luck in their season. Howard said what the league needs is STABILITY and said soccer around this area has gone through ten leagues and twenty teams but suggests the USL, MLS (now celebrating 11 years), and the CSL (this league) will help with that goal. He also said the “live” experience of soccer is important (not just watching it on television) and the new stadium can be put to good use with the national teams, MLS, and this CSL All Star team playing international teams. The soccer groups must work together and said the team that wins the World Cup won’t be the one with the best player but the one that works best together as a team.

Stan Adamson breaks up the meeting without a chance for group questions although he says execs will be available for one on ones. He reminds us all to start using the new league name CSL immediately and the first game is this Friday at Centennial Stadium with Toronto Serbian White Eagles hosting Italia Shooters at 7:30pm.

Now let’s mingle with an eye on the buffet table. I’ll get my chance but let the bigger (in readership) media guys have first chance at the interviews. The Toronto Sun reporter was all over the Serbia-Montenegro coach coming over to Toronto story with an exec from the White Eagles. Yes the coach flew all the way to Toronto and back to Serbia within 24 hours to wish the team well and the next day announced his World Cup squad. This is big news in Serbia. There are nine guys (not Nat team players) this year on the White Eagles team.

Before the meeting had been called to order I was sitting beside Neil Palmer of Caribbean Stars and said I’d noticed that they started their first ‘home’ games at Lamport and Centennial Stadiums and not Birchmount Stadium until August. That’s because the stadium is having its running track dug up and a new one installed. While they were at it, the city also decided to redo the playing surface. He welcomes the different homes for the first half of the season to build up their widespread fan base. I cautioned him that Birchmount has been a graveyard for attendance reminding him of the great team/poorly attended Toronto Olympians of the past. He didn’t seem worried.

Cary Kaplan outlined the playoff structure to me like this: eight teams make the playoffs, the best three teams from each division and then the next two from whoever has the most points. The first weekend will have the quarter finals and pare them down to four. The second weekend will have semi-finals and a final played. No wild card game! No mid-week games! [This was me remembering the nightmare of having Laval make a midweek flight to Toronto in two separate planes and half the team being delayed and then the lights going off in the stadium because of a preset timer]. I asked Bruno Ierullo (general manager of North York Astros and host of the league finals) but he was OK with this new structure. He said he always got complaints about these hosts as wildcards anyway.

Bruno Hartrell (co-owner of the USL Toronto Lynx) arrived later. He wasn’t at the meeting at the time they announced the Lynx participation in the Open Cup. The weekend they have planned, they’ll have to get around playing Virginia Beach Mariners on the Saturday with possibly them playing Friday and Sunday. Kaplan said they will only give the Lynx a bye until the second round of the CPSL teams. (This weekend is the first round of amateur teams, so I suspect that means they will be in the actual third round). The Lynx have already signed their USL superstar striker but are still waiting for international clearance so I’ll hold back again on saying who he is.

Stan Adamson says the league has no television deal for a magazine show. Individual teams are making their own deals with local cable companies for any coverage of game broadcasts.

A joke about the models and Women’s soccer got me asking around about the Women’s CPSL which wasn’t mentioned at all at this year’s meeting. I asked Harry Gauss (owner of London City) who had the best women’s team in the six team league last year. Yep it’s still operating this year. He didn’t offer an excuse for his team’s undefeated run during the regular season but their playoff loss when most of the team had to return to their college/university teams. He said their second team wasn’t strong enough to win it. I noted that the W-League shrank their 14 games per team regular season down to 12 games so they can move up their playoffs earlier. Yeah that would be good!

A city hall receptionist (hello Andrea!) who I talked to after the meeting said the members lounge can be rented out for free if the meeting is sponsored by a city councillor. Hey thanks Peter LoPreti.

Rocket Robin


Sorry I can't find that old thread at the moment where somebody asked me but: Writing this kind of stuff is now why I get invitations to press conferences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re. Birchmount Stadum, I'd heard that the east stand was going to be torn down and it is in fact is totally gone. Unfortunate I think as it was the better stand but it's gone now. Now they have the three stands on the west side with only the centre example being concrete, the other two being aluminum bleachers.

Yes, the track was nothing but earth (having been closed to use last year due to its dangerous surface) and much to my surprise, the field was also nothing but piles of earth.

Not sure what they're going to do about dressing rooms. Perhaps they'll use the hockey arena.

It's good to see some effort being made at the stadium but it is a shame to lose a two-sided venue.

No more visits from the likes of Maradonna at Birchmount (ya, like something like that was ever going to happen again!).


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Wednesday - May 17, 2006

TORONTO – Wednesday, May 17 - The CPSL is no more. It’s gone. It exists in the record books only, having been launched in 1997 with the first playing season the following year.

Its place has been taken by the CSL – the Canadian Soccer League - announced at a press conference in Toronto City Hall early this afternoon.

“It’s a new league,” explained Cary Kaplan, commissioner of old CPSL and now commissioner of the Canadian Soccer League in announcing the many changes that have taken place to give the league a new-look logo, a new culture, new rules, even a new relationship with the governing soccer bodies Ontario Soccer Association and the CSA.

“The CSL has greater autonomy following many discussions with the OSA and CSA during the past six months and that means the new league will have more room and able to develop stronger and be a force in Canadian soccer.

Kaplan told the gathering that most CSL games will be on weekends and games will be scheduled to be more satisfactory in North America and will not follow a schedule similar to those prepared for Europe.

“We think MLS coming to Toronto is great. So is the USL and we have no illusions about our place, our level of soccer. The important thing is we can all do things together as professional soccer in Canada and that leads to greater things for the game,” he said.

The Canadian Soccer League intends to develop further its Open Canada Cup and has included the USL’s Toronto Lynx this year. Eventually, the competition will result in a Canadian club champion to step into the world arena.

Kaplan expressed a cautious approach to expansion. “I believe we have learned a lot from the past,” he said, referring to leagues that have come and gone due mostly to the high cost of quick expansion in large geographic areas. “We will be moving along, but at a pace that makes sense for the league” he said

The CSL begins its five-month schedule of league, cup and playoff games this Friday at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke when Serbian White Eagles and Italia Shooters kick of an International Division at 7.30 p.m. There will be one game from the league’s National Division on Saturday when London City travels to Windsor Stadium for a game with the Border Stars, an 8 p.m. kickoff.

The Open Canada Cup gets underway with two Preliminary Round games involving amateur teams this weekend. Ottawa St. Anthony Italia is at home to Montreal Panellinios at the University of Ottawa on Saturday and there is one other game to be played at Brian Timmis Stadium in Hamilton, it’s Hamilton Serbs vs. GS United of Toronto, a 5 p.m. kickoff.


i like the sounds of kappy...im giving the CSL a clean slate...we should all...see how it goes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:Originally posted by Rocket Robin

The Lynx have already signed their USL superstar striker but are still waiting for international clearance so I’ll hold back again on saying who he is.

Anyone have any ideas as who this would be??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes the Lynx have announced it's Kevin Jeffrey who was last seen playing for Richmond Kickers of the USL.

For years you folks wanted the 'p' taken out of the CPSL so now that's been done. Now you want the 'c' out. So Southern Ontario is good, then next year when they add Ottawa and more teams from Montreal, they can change it again? Then when/if the AMSL adds itself on at least for Open Cup competition they can change it again.

Those 4000 crowds are a real whopper and The Star just buys it because they never cover the league anyway. If there really were 4000, they might have to follow the league. They blindly buy Lynx attendance figures even the twice a year they send a guy out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...