Now that the 2019 League1 Ontario men’s and women’s champions are carved in stone – congrats once again to Masters FA Saints’ men and FC London women! – it’s time to turn our attention to the year-end silverware!
League1 All-Star and year-end player awards are voted on by an even spread of representatives from all organizations in the league, as well as League1 staff, to provide clear consensus on the top individual performances over the regular season and playoff periods.
This year, five clubs took centre-stage on the All-Star lists, with the leader emerging as the Oakville Blue Devils after they claimed both men’s and women’s regular season titles.
Their first team nominations on the men’s side reference the safe hands of keeper Lukas Birstingl and the attacking dynamism of Brandon Duarte; on the women’s side, two former internationals – Egyptian Mahira Ali and Canada’s Rachel Melhado – join attacking talent Laura Twidle at the top of the charts.
With seven All-Star nods each, three organizations came in second on the overall 2019 All-Star count: FC London, Vaughan SC and Woodbridge SC.
FC London had a banner year for their organization, with head coach Mike Marcoccia guiding both men’s and women’s teams to the Finals in both divisions.
Women’s Golden Boot winner, Jade Kovacevic, joined up with a midfield maestro, Julia Benati, on the women’s side of the awards; attacking players Mohammed Reza Nafar and Ethan GoPaul made it an even four First XI All-Stars for the Londoners.
Vaughan SC registered second place finishes in both men’s and women’s divisions in 2019, and their seven All-Stars demonstrated class in depth.
First on show is Men’s Golden Boot winner, Maksym Kowal, who was the sole representative in the men’s first XI; on the women’s side, three players – attackers Leah Pais and Jessie Faber, as well as defender Teni Odetoyinbo – took spots in the First Team All-Stars.
Woodbridge SC women were fourth in the regular season, while the men’s side just scraped into the playoffs with the eighth and final seed during a rebuilding year, but some of the outstanding individuals in their ranks still rose to the top of the league pack.
Five women’s All-Stars made the cut for the three year-end teams, with two Strikers’ players in particular standing out for first team distinction: midfield dynamo, April Syme, and former CWNT player Diamond Simpson.
Finally, Alliance United took home six All-Star awards between their men’s and women’s programs, which finished in third and sixth positions, respectively, during the regular season. Club standouts were on the men’s side, with the performances of midfielder Nikola Stakic and centre-back Kenny Lioutas gathering attention from all corners of the league.
But that’s not it!
Check out the full three teams of All-Stars, featuring players from all 30 teams in the league, and 33 players decorated for their outstanding individual quality and class.
Congratulations to all 2019 League1 Ontario All-Stars and their respective clubs and organizations!