North Toronto Nitros U21/College Prep 2002 players Bizzoni, Richards and Marcelli sign with NCAA colleges
Congratulations to three 2002 players in the Nitros U21/College Prep program who have signed with NCAA colleges on the official signing day, November 13.
Olivia Bizzoni, University of Buffalo
Aleysha Richards, St. Leo University
Dominique Marcelli, University of South Florida
Albert Malaj to TFC Academy
SAYING GOODBYE....coach Ian Skitch breaks the news of TFC move to Albert's 06 Boys team-mates
NORTH TORONTO NITROS SOCCER 06 Boys prospect Albert Malaj has landed a slot in the prestigious Toronto FC Major League Soccer Academy set-up. He becomes the fourth Nitros player in the recent past to join TFC. To read the full story on the latest success for our boys programs Click here
Morgan Leon to Dalhousie Tigers
NORTH TORONTO NITROS SOCCER midfielder Morgan Leon has won a slot on the roster of the Dalhousie Tigers at the prestigious University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It's another success story for the Nitros' female program and before she begins her big adventure out East Morgan spoke to ntsoccer.com about her journey at the club. To read her Nitros' story Click here
DEBUT JUST THE START FOR HISTORY MAKER LIV
TD Billy hails dedication of Canada's youngest ever player and pride of Nitros
IN THE RECORD BOOKS...Liv was just 15 years and 94 days old when she faced the mighty Brazil
OLIVIA SMITH is in the history books now as Canada’s youngest ever international soccer player.
Earlier this month the North Toronto Nitros Soccer alumni - aged just 15 years and 94 days - made her debut in the famous red shirt against the might of Brazil in the China Four Nations Tournament in Yongchuan.
The disappointment of the 4-0 defeat for Kenneth Heiner-Moller’s side within the OPDL franchises of Whitby and NT was tempered by the sense of pride both clubs felt.
Liv first grew up as a player at Whitby before making the move to North Toronto to work with coach Marko Milanovic who would become a mentor in a vital stage of her development.
Now the first steps in what promises to be a headline-hitting career have been made after Liv came on as an 86th minute substitute for Jordyn Huitema against the Brazilians.
Nitros Technical Director Billy Wilson believes this is just the start for a precocious talent and he told ntsoccer.com: “Liv has all the tools to kick on and become a fantastic player for Canada for years to come.
“Many young players who are thrust into the spotlight at such a young age struggle to deal with the level of expectation or forget the hard graft that got them there.
“But I have no concerns Liv will harness this experience and use this opportunity to take her game to the next level.
“She will continue to have the great support network around her in her family, Brandon Frith at Ontario REX, and the other staff at Canada Soccer.”
The youngest ever player record was previously held by Kara Lang, who was 15 and 130 days when she made her CWNT debut on March 1, 2002.
Jessie Fleming and Huitema were also 15 when they played their first games with the national side.
Now a player who became such a popular figure within Nitros with her infectious smile and sense of fun married to a burning desire to improve has set a new mark.
Smith following up her debut with another appearance off the bench in the 3-0 win over New Zealand in Game Two in China, almost grabbing her first Canada goal with a shot that whistled just past the post.
Billy believes the accolades coming Olivia’s way now have been hard-earned on the training field.
He reasoned: “To represent your country at such a young age is a tremendous achievement for any player.
“It is a testament to Olivia's talent and dedication to her development.”
Smith’s next target will be to stay in Heiner-Moller’s thoughts as the team build up their bid to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games through a five-match schedule at the eight-nation 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Canada will face Mexico, Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis in Group B after which the top two nations in the group will cross over to alternate Concacaf Semi-Finals against the top-two nations in Group A.
The two winners of those Concacaf Semi-finals on February 7 next year will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as well as advance to the Sunday February 9 Concacaf Final in Carson, Los Angeles.
For now, though, as Nitros’ OPDL players prepare to head into their winter break Olivia is there as a symbol of what can be achieved if your hunger to better yourself as a player never fades.
NT Technical Director Billy reflected: “I know that Olivia has a special relationship with Marko and she thoroughly enjoyed her time at North Toronto Soccer.
“I firmly believe that with the coaches we have at the club and the program that the guys have developed, this really is a great place for any young and dedicated player to develop.
“That being said, Olivia's success is down to Olivia and her burning desire to improve.
“North Toronto has been fortunate to be part of her journey to date and we are delighted that she looks back on her time with us with a fond smile.”
Kembo Kibato to Danish club FC Helsingor
Congratulations to former North Toronto Nitro Kembo Kibato who has signed a professional contract with Danish club FC Helsingor. Kembo was a League 1 Ontario all-star with the Nitros, was later at TFC Academy, and is the son of Nitros coach (and proud father) Martinho Kibato.
NITRO OLIVIA STANDS ON THE BRINK OF HISTORY
GRADUATION DAY...Olivia Smith's invite to the REX Program alongside Jasmine Vilgrain and Sonia Walk
NITROS graduate Olivia Smith is this week poised to become Canada’s youngest EVER international soccer player - at the age of just 15.
Dynamic midfielder Olivia, who moved from Nitros to the Ontario Regional Excellence (REX) Program to continue her development, has been called up by women’s national team coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller for an invitational tournament this week in Yongchuan, China.
It’s a staggering rise for a phenomenal talent who was first reared through the ranks at Whitby before she made the move to NT.
At Nitros coach Marko Milanovic knew he was working with a special player from the first time Olivia stepped on the training field.
He recalled:“Olivia is a player who stands out from the group within five seconds of her gaining possession.
“Her ability to create and finish in the final third is something that I've never seen before from a youth female player.
“All of that becomes even more impressive with the fact that she is still just 15 years old.
“Personally, I love how much she loves the game and competition. It's infectious and it gets everyone excited and pumped.
“It was a privilege to work with Olivia and be a small part of he soccer life.”
Community soccer clubs like North Toronto need inspirational examples such as Olivia and her former clubmate Sonia Walk who is also making big strides towards the CWNT set-up.
Liv and Sonia are North Toronto Nitros Soccer role models, they are figures to encourage female players throughout every NT program.
And Marko insisted: “Their success should have a major impact on aspiring female players at our club.
“It’s so important for our younger players to see that it's possible to reach that level playing at our club, playing for NT.
“More importantly, they should be able to realise that the passion, hard work, desire and dedication that Olivia and Sonia have shown are a MUST to have a chance to reach that level.
“I would highlight passion as the key ingredient here because, often, I feel that youth players are not desperate and hungry enough to be successful.”
WALK OF LIFE...Nitros alumni Sonia Walk with coach Marko Milanovic on a visit to our summer Academy
Olivia was born on August 5, 2004, and if she plays in China she will edge out the current youngest players the now-retired Kara Lang, who is followed by Jessie Fleming and Jordyn Huitema, who were also 15 when they made their senior debuts
One astonishing stat is that Canadian captain Christine Sinclair, who is now 36, had played in 66 internationals - and scored 49 goals for her country - before Smith was even BORN!
Throughout two key years of soccer growth at Nitros Olivia was a hugely popular figure within the club.
It became commonplace for coach Marko to throw her into sessions with his all-conquering 03 Boys side to hone her technique and keep challenging her.
Marko was thrilled to see Smith make the next big step into Rex and now as the rise continues Olivia’s dad Sean has paid tribute to the role played by her Nitros mentor.
Sean said: “I thank Coach Marko for all he did in Olivia’s development. He was a game-changer, he has an absolutely brilliant soccer mind.”
Canada - now ranked no.7 in the world - face no.11 side Brazil on Thursday with China tackling New Zealand in the other clash.
The winners will then face off in a Final on Sunday while the other two teams play off for third place.
Heiner-Moller is using the China tournament to prepare for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in January and February of next year.
The Dane first spotted Olivia when he travelled with the youth teams to assess our up and coming talents.
And he said: "She caught my eye, I guess she's been catching a lot of eyes from coaches throughout her career.”
Olivia made made another big impression in May when she was one of several local players summoned to fill out the numbers at a camp in Toronto before a pre-World Cup friendly with Mexico.
Heinier-Moller insisted: "If she comes in and she looks as good as I hope she will then she could definitely see some game action in China.
“This tournament features semi-finals and a final, so we will really get that tournament feeling.
“It is the second time this Fall we will travel to the region where the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will be held, and despite the long travel and limited sessions in advance of tournament play, the benefits of playing two matches in a tournament setting against top international opponents in Asia outweighs the challenges.”
Congratulations Jill Sutherland!
Congratulations to our 2001 former OPDL Nitros player and current OWSL Nitros U21 player!
Jill Sutherland headed to Central Michigan University in Fall 2019.