With over 150 male and female players already moved on to professional environments around the world, League1 players are becoming a hot commodity in the Canadian landscape of prospects.
In the 2019 season there were some tremendous top young players coming through the league’s talent pipeline, with a couple in particular really catching the eye and garnering mass appeal in the year-end voting.
Congratulations to Ryan Raposo and Leah Pais – 2019 League1 Ontario Young Players of the Year!
Vaughan’s Ryan Raposo has been so regularly identified as a top prospect in the league over the past couple years, that one can quickly forget how young the player still is.
The rare skill, quick acceleration and creative ingenuity of the 22-year old have made him one of the most exciting attacking players to watch.
He has proven his ability against the top defenders in the league over and over, and as well against full professionals; Raposo had memorable performances in the 2019 Canadian Championship, and as well in a 2018 friendly that Vaughan SC played against Serie A side, Frosinone SC, in front of over 2,000 supporters at the Ontario Soccer Centre.
Primarily fielded as a left-sided forward or attacking midfielder by Vaughan in the 2019 season, Raposo played 686 minutes over ten appearances, scoring four goals.
By the conclusion of the 2019 campaign, Raposo was among the best in the league for Quality Shot, Key Passes, Penalty Box Touches and Dribbles categories. His top performance over the season was scoring a brace away to eventual regular season champions, and one of the league’s top two defensive sides, Oakville Blue Devils.
Raposo has continued to excel since the League1 season has finished, growing into an integral player in the NCAA with Syracuse Orangemen. You can read all about the impact he is making South of the border at Syracuse by CLICKING HERE.
Vaughan makes a clean sweep of the Young Player of the Year category in 2019, with the exciting young talent, Leah Pais, coming through as the top prospect in the women’s division.
Under the management of new head coach Jorden Feliciano, the 2001-born Pais put in 851 minutes over 10 appearances and smashed in 9 goals.
“Leah is a great kid,” said Feliciano. “She loves the game, loves being a part of it and around it.”
“To give an idea of her character, I used to offer extra training on night’s off and she would come all the time. She would train there with some of our players that are in the national team program, as well as boys and men that were in NCAA, League1 etc. All of the players had immense respect for Leah’s ability. She’s just a baller, a natural.”
“At youth levels, she scored goals for fun, ” he continued.
“But this year she was challenged to score and perform at a senior level, and it was just a matter of time before she did. Her goals against De Ro, Oakville Blue Devils were top moments, and she scored against all the teams around us in the table that she played against as well.”
“The things is, even if she does score goals, this is a player that is only thinking of what she could have done better after a game. She’s got the mentality of a true winner.”
Now a freshman at University of Albany, Pais is already off to a great start at the NCAA DI level; the freshman scored her first goal last week against Siena University.