CSL Championship Final Sunday

TORONTO – Tuesday, October 29 – Drazen Vukovic was one of several players to venture here from Europe early 2010 for the express purpose of playing in the Canadian Soccer League. He, and they, played professional soccer at various levels the other side of the Atlantic, mostly in Eastern Europe.
Vukovic, 32, a striker, was accompanied by Ranko Golijanin, also a forward but with an even stronger background which included a stint in Spain. A former under-21 international, now 38, Golijanin first came to North America to play for the Milwaukee Rampage USL A-League championship side in 2002.

There is more to SC Waterloo, of course, but there’s little doubt that this considerable experience in the player and technical ranks of the southwestern Ontario side which represents Waterloo region in the CSL, has played a big part in the club’s success and the fledgling club of just three years now has an opportunity to win the league championship and the Second Division title, a double not previously achieved since the league launched its Second Division back in 2007. Both games, the CSL Championship Final (Kingston FC vs SC Waterloo), preceded by the CSL Second Division Championship Final (Toronto Croatia B vs SC Waterloo B), are being played at Niagara Falls this coming Sunday.

Waterloo head coach Lazo Dzepina has a pro UEFA coaching licence, necessary if you are hired to coach teams like NK Dinara in Croatia. But Dzepina is not new to North America either, having played for Hamilton Thunder, a team in the CSL’s forerunner league CPSL.  The club’s strong managerial side, which includes GM Vojislav Brisevac and Tony Kocis, are yet more reason for the team from Waterloo to be strong contenders to capture both major honours on November 3.

The Second Division string Waterloo ‘B’, the club’s reserve team which serves as a developmental unit, is up against the Toronto Croatia reserve team which won the CSL Second Division standings in the regular season just ended. The Toronto team’s head coach, George Jenkins – who holds a FIFA  ‘A’  license – and GM Igor Beram, are attempting to add a Second Division championship triumph to the long list of domestic and overseas achievements going back to Toronto Croatia’s formation in 1956.

Kingston FC has good reason to be optimistic with three of its players up front having amassed a total 47 goals during regular season.  Guillaume Surot, a French-born striker, headed the list with 28, while Catalin Lichioiu, who came to North America from Romania, struck 10.  Jason Massie, with soccer skills that originate in Liverpool, England, found the net nine times.

But head coach Colm Muldoon from Ireland, also believes soccer is a two-way game and has emphasized the need while his team was scoring to keep the goals against column down. Czech Republic native Jaroslav Tesar is given most credit for that, earning 16 wins, the most of any goalkeeper in the CSL, and the team’s 30 goals conceded was third best in the league.

The eastern Ontario team’s remarkable performance to win the CSL’s First Division in just its second year in professional soccer was in part due to the rapid construction from the ground floor of a club determined to add pride to the Kingston community, a city which has embraced higher level soccer from first acquaintance in 2012.  Lorne Abugov, one of Canada’s prominent lawyers in the communications sector, the club chairman, and Joe Scanlon, a journalist and Professor Emeritus at Carlton University in Ottawa who is president of Kingston FC, are responsible for the bright image being enjoyed by the club today.

But the soccer community recalls the unpretentious Lazo Dzepina appearing on the scene in 2010 when, like magic, he won the CSL Championship with expansion Brantford Galaxy and in the region to the north of Brantford, the fans are hoping Dzepina can provide an encore and do the same for Waterloo.

The CSL Championship Final between Kingston FC and SC Waterloo is played at Kalar Sports Park, Niagara Falls, Ontario this coming Sunday, November 3 at 2.30 pm and is preceded by the CSL Second Division Final between Toronto Croatia B and SC Waterloo B at 12 noon.

Canadian Soccer League
5160 Explorer Drive, Unit 1, Mississauga, Ontario

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