WEEK SIX

FREE-SCORING 03s HIT DOUBLE FIGURES

NET GAINS...for Maddy Penman-Derstine (2) and team-mate Montana Wilcox

UNDER-17 GIRLS

BURLINGTON...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...10

A one-sided romp at City View Park showed Nitros what half of the table they MUST finish in this season to develop the team further.

Devon Eisen scored FOUR, there were doubles from Jillian Therrien and Maddy Penman-Derstine with Chiara English and Montana Wilcox also on target.

Coach Marc Maunder chose to see the bigger picture after the match and reflected: "This game proved that we do not want to be in the bottom half of the table come the midway break,  The girls have now scored 17 goals in their last two games and that is not what this team needs at this stage of their development.

"We were 4-0 up at half-time and it could have been much more, we did not capitalise on their high line with far too many offsides because we were over-eager.

"We challenged the girls at half-time to score the first goal after half because the week before we were 5-0 up at the break at Richmond Hill  and we only woke up after we let the opponent score.

"This time, though, the girls responded and scored three more in an eight minute burst before wrapping it up with three more."

DEFEAT BUT NITROS BRIGHTEN

BETTER SHOWING...from the likes of Amelia Salewicz and Hanna Miller

UNDER-15 GIRLS

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NITROS showed signs of improvement and growth despite a defeat on the road in a tough test at Hamilton.

After a disappointing second-half slump against Markham the week before scratch the surface and this was a far better performance.

Head Coach Ian Skitch reflected: "The girls competed well early against a robust and direct opponent showing some team spirit and playing some good football which produced some quality looks at goal for Amelia Salewicz and Rufina Abdurusul.

"Hamilton used their physical and aerial advantage to attack the flanks where we failed to deal with high balls and crosses effectively. These types of balls continue to vex the girls so we must go back at it and improve this part of our game.

"Otherwise, there were good signs of growth in this game and we have a good opportunity to build upon it and close the gap for the home leg against this opponent."

DIEGO SUCKER-PUNCHES DOMINANT NITROS

INFLUENTIAL...Justin Santos scored and Juan Pablo Delgadillo shone in midfield

UNDER-17 BOYS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 MARKHAM...2 

NITROS missed a string of chances to put this game away after a brilliant strike on his weaker right foot from injury comeback midfielder Justin Santos.

And Marko Milanovic's boys were left to rue their wastefulness as a stunning free-kick double from the outstanding Diego Accardo late on sucker-punched them for all three points.

Coach Mark sighed afterwards: "The performance that the boys put in definitely did not deserve a losing result. 

"The fact is that lack of quality and concentration in the final third did not allow us to separate ourselves from Markham. Two setpiece goals near the end cost us the game and make our upcoming Kingston weekend extremely important."

04s SINK UNDER THE BRIDGE

SICKENER...Justin Jamal (left) broke his wrist with Nic Caramico already banned

UNDER-15 BOYS

WOODBRIDGE...6 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NITROS meekly surrendered all three points in an abject display that was worsened by the news that skipper Justin Jamal faces two months out after breaking his wrist in an awkward fall at Vaughan Grove.

Head Coach Iain King's team, who already had Jamal's defensive partner Nic Caramico suspended, had their worst day of what has been a promising season to date and he sighed: “Sure, JJ broke his wrist and his two months out is a big blow for him and us as a whole but we were second best all over the field even before the injury.

“We shaped up as we had in the Cup win over Woodbridge but could not match anywhere near the level of intensity or organisation we found that night.

“As a group it was our toughest game yet against an opponent who killed us on transition because our quality of passing and desire to repress the ball when we lost it was simply not good enough.

“It’s a backward step in what has been a very positive season on the whole so it’s all about how we react to that now.”

05s BOYS MAKE IT SIX IN A ROWE

FLYING START...Liam Rowe (2) and Abdullah Noor kept the 05s ball rolling

UNDER-14 BOYS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 TECUMSEH...1

LIAM ROWE grabbed a double and Abdullah Noor was also on target as the 05s boys made it six wins on the spin in an impressive start to the season.

It was a sticky start to the match from the Central Division League leaders who toiled a little until a superb run and cross from Ben Dunn set up Rowe for a killer header to put them in front.

Tecumseh were still stubborn and competitive in the match and levelled it up before good work from Andrew Araujo helped set up Abdullah Noor to drill home from the edge of the box.

Rowe then completed the win with his fifth goal of the season and Head Coach Marko Milanovic confessed:  "The boys found a way to get the three points after an inefficient first-half.  A lot of chances were wasted before Liam opened up the scoring with a nice goal from a neat build-up play. The team will look to continue a great start to the season against their local rivals SC Toronto on Sunday."

WEEK FIVE 

THE GATES OF SEVEN! 

RICHMOND THRILL...Devon Eisen (left) scored twice and Alya Ruken notched

UNDER-17 GIRLS

RICHMOND HILL...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...7

THREE goals in an electric opening 11 minutes gave the 03s Girls the platform for a commanding win in the Richmond Hill sunshine on Saturday morning.

Devon Eisen nabbed two and Jillian Therrien, Chiara English, Ella Baldwin, Alya Ruken and Montana Wilson were also on target.

The result leaves the U17s tucked in handily in third a point off the top of the table with their only defeat so far this season coming to a very strong Ottawa South United side.

Head Coach Marc Maunder reflected "The way we started the match meant we could go on to really enjoy ourselves and move the ball so nicely.

"When we did that we found our wing-backs Nia Wilson and Maddy Penman-Derstine who had lots of success 1 v 1 against their full-backs which was really pleasing.

"Quintin Tostevin was a standout in possession and fired some great diagonal passes out to the wide players. Both wing-backs were a constant threat on the day and were very unlucky not to get on the scoresheet."

CEINWYN SHINES BUT 04s OFF MARK

TOUGH TO TAKE...for Ceinwyn Beattie and Rufina Abdurusul on Sunday

UNDER-15 GIRLS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 MARKHAM...4

CEINWYN BEATTIE shone in defence for Nitros but a second-half slump from the team saw them frozen out at Iceland.

For the second time this season Markham striker Emma Kos haunted the 04 Girls with as she bagged her second hat-trick against them, also grabbing three in a 4-3 win for the yellow and black at the start of the campaign.

Head Coach Ian Skitch was happy enough with the team's first-half display but called for more resilience when the girls face setbacks.

He reasoned: "It was a competitive first-half with Ceinwyn Beattie showing some leadership at the back and also displaying some really good distribution for us.

"I felt we were a bit unlucky to go into the break one behind with Markham scoring on the last kick of the period. We'd had some good looks at goal with Rufina Abdurusul combining with Amelia Salewicz for some clever touches but we could not find the target.

"Despite lots of changes to freshen the side up, the second-half was surprisingly flat. An early goal brought our heads down. We must find our way to consistency and find our fighting spirit when behind. Communication is key for us."

KAYLA STRIKES, NITROS GO TOP

 

KEYS TO VICTORY...keeper Brooke Thompson and scorer Kayla Briggs

UNDER-14 GIRLS

BRAMPTON...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

KAYLA BRIGGS' instinctive finish off a keeper's dropped ball was the slimmest of margins as Nitros marched to the top of their division with a tight win against an extremely athletic and gifted Brampton side.

There was a host of talent on show for watching scouts at the central venue of Ontario Soccer Centre indoor and this was a stern test for Head Coach Marc Maunder's side.

He reflected afterwards: "The game could have been a 5-4 win for either team, yet somehow it ended 1-0! These Brampton girls were fast and worked so hard to continually put the NT girls under pressure, they had two very talented players in midfield who caused us problems all day so to come away with a clean sheet and three points is very pleasing.

"Juliana Otano also hit the post and Sofia Adams and Lauren Root also had chances as did Charlotte Gray but against that our keeper Brooke Thompson pulled off two top saves down to her right and they hit the crossbar from a free- kick for the ball hitting the roof when it should have been a drop ball.

"It was not until the latter stages of the game that we took more control and started to move Brampton around a little more and this is when we created more of our better chances."

LOWELL HAS WRIGHT STUFF TO EDGE NITROS

ON TARGET...Anthony Aromatario and Pablo Hempelmann notched this week

 UNDER-17 BOYS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS..2 WOODBRIDGE...3

DEADLY Woodbridge striker Lowell Wright grabbed a stunning hat-trick as Ntros were edged out in a five-goal thriller at Downsvoew.

Anthony Aromatario and Pablo Hempelmann countered for our reigning champs but it was not enough as Head Coach Marko Milanovic challenged his defenders to react better to the threat Wright poses next time around.

Marko said: "It was a tough match against a good Woodbridge team.  Lowell Wright was the difference as he scored a hat trick and created a lot of issues for our back line.

"We will see Woodbridge in the OPDL Cup and probably again during the season. Our defensive organisation will have to be better to contain one of the best strikers in the league.  We look forward to the challenge."

BILAL CAN'T MISS AGAINST NORTH MISS

QUALITY GOALS...from Bilal Abou-Reslan (2) and the tireless Ryan Campbell

UNDER-15 BOYS

NORTH MISSISSAUGA...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

BILAL ABOU-RESLAN struck twice and Ryan Campbell sealed it as the 04s Boys plucked three goals from the top drawer indoor at Ontario Soccer Centre.

A 3-2 loss to the same rivals earlier this season was tough to swallow for Head Coach Iain King's side as they only had themselves to blame for getting drawn into an ugly squabble of a match that saw defender Nic Caramico sent off and cost him a two-game suspension.

With that in mind the players were warned that anyone not concentrating on playing the game would be subbed off immediately and that worked well as Nitros instead focused on playing their passing brand of football.

Abou-Reslan blazed a scorcher into the top corner to give them the lead before Campbell matched that with a stunning second-half finish and Bilal wrapped it up with another laser shot from distance.

Coach Iain pointed out: “This was a return of the game where we lost our discipline and the match through getting involved in petty feuds on the field.

“The players were warned that if I saw one sign of a repeat they would be subbed off immediately, no matter who it was and that worked.

“We scored three top quality goals and have now had four clean sheets out of five games in OPDL competitions which is satisfying and testimony to the defence.

"It was particularly pleasing to see the form of Jayden Mendoza at centre-half after an ankle injury and Andres Barrios also deserves special mention as he adapted superbly in midfield to some new tactical demands we placed on him.”

FIVE ALIVE FOR TABLE TOPPERS

KEY MEN...Tommie MacLeod and Isaac Rubinstein on form in Guelph

UNDER-14 BOYS

TECUMSEH...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...5

NITROS continue to impress on their debut in the competitive standings of OPDL and stayed top of the Central Division with their fifth win on the spin in Guelph.

New signing Adam Kaminsky struck twice with Josh Annibale's fourth of the sesson and goals from Tommie MacLeod and Liam Rowe sealing a comfortable three points.

Head Coach Marko Milanovic was delighted with a successful road trip and he stressed: "This was another good performance to continue an impressive start to the season.  We got the first goal early in the game which is always important for us. 

"The boys could then relax a bit more and settle into our possession based style. Tommie, Jovan Nairne and Isaac Rubinstein had solid games at the back as they have a Provincial player in their strikeforce and we reacted well to that."

WEEK FOUR

DONDON A FOUR-CE TO RECKON WITH

FIVE ALIVE...De'kwon Barrow notched four and Pablo Hempelmann pitched in

UNDER-17 BOYS

UNIONVILLE...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...5

DEADLY De'kwon Barrow rattled in FOUR goals in 25 thrilling first-half minutes to put his side in total command of a repeat of last season's Charity Shield Final.

The big striker was in superb form and put the game to bed early with Pablo Hempelmann also on target in a terrific performance from the reigning champions.

Head Coach Marko Milanovic said: "It was a great team win with exceptional finishing from De'kwon Barrow, it was one of the best finishing performances I’ve ever seen at the youth level. 

"Dondon scored those four quick goals and the game was decided. Unionville are a quality side who always play the right way and that’s what makes the score even more pleasing."

EVAN AT THE DOUBLE AS 04 BOYS SHINE

SUCCESS ON THE ROAD...for Evan Jardim and keeper Ronan Woodroffe

UNDER-15 BOYS

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

ON-FORM Nitros built on their Umbro Super Cup top bracket win with a commanding display to take all three points at Heritage Green.

An Evan Jardim double and Aidan Hugo's thrilling 25-yard free-kick clincher - his third goal in three games since his move from Toronto FC - clinched an important success after the OPDL setback of a poor display against North Mississauga earlier in the month.

Keeper Ronan Woodroffe racked up another clean sheet as his defence performed solidly against a quality home attack and Head Coach Iain King said: “This was a well-coached rival with a big threat up top and Provincial quality players so it was an excellent performance.

“The signing of Aidan Hugo from Toronto FC has added undoubted class to us and his clincher from a 25-yard free-kick was brilliantly executed.

“It was really pleasing to score the first from a rapid defensive transition to attack as that is what we worked on in practice all week. We hunted the turnover, Aidan swept a superb crossfield ball to the opposite wide player Ryan Campbell who had burst a gut to get there and when his shot was parried Evan followed up to score. That was very rewarding to see as a coach.

“Evan is a natural finisher and has to be happy with a goal a game in OPDL matches so far. We passed it well but still need to work on our building from the back with more precision and better positioning if we are skipping the lines.”

THAT ONE WAS FOR YOU JAMIE

DRIVING FORCES...goalscorer Josh Annibale (left) and Tommie MacLeod

UNDER-14 BOYS

UNIONVILLE...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

HEAD COACH Marko Milanovic praised the heart and desire of his OPDL competitive standings rookies as they racked up their third win on the spin to stay in contention at the top of the table.

This Nitros squad is still coming to terms with the loss of influential midfielder Jamie Benayon-Abraham to a leg break suffered against Richmond Hill in the Umbor Super Cup but they dug deep again on the road and remain unbeaten this season.

One down after the first-half they bravely battled back, driven on by the inspirational Tommie MacLeod, and won it with goals from Josh Annibale and Adam Kaminsky.

Coach Marko said: "The boys showed character coming back from 0-1 down in the first half. The intensity and energy was at a great level. 

"A lot of work needs to be done in zones 3 and 4 of the field when it comes to the final pass and converting opportunities.but we are looking forward toward to our next challenge."

05 GIRLS RALLY TO CLIMB THE HILL

STRUCK IT RICH...Mis Mangalji (left) and Charlotte Gray were on target

UNDER-14 GIRLS

RICHMOND HILL...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

NITROS steadied themselves after a flat start to rack up another win on the road with goals from the free-scoring Lauren Root, defender Mia Mangalji and striker Charlotte Gray.

Head Coach Marc Maunder wasn't happy with the lack of snap to his side's first-half play and he confessed afterwards: "It was a poor first 20 minutes with us giving the ball away under no pressure and we also let Richmond Hill come out far too easily.

"In the second period we improved a little by changing to a 1-4-2-3-1 formation and we started to secure possession as well as intercepting a lot more forward passes centrally.

"Lauren's striking instincts  got us the first on a 1 v1 and then it was great to see a pre-worked corner routine pay-off with Mia getting in on a headed rebound after our skipper Sophia Cockett had a shot blocked.

"In the second-half we controlled the play in our build-up through work on the training field which was really pleasing. The icing on the cake was the third goal with Charlotte finishing brilliantly into the roof of the net from a cutback."

GODINHO COMEBACK A BIG BOOST FOR 05s

STANDING OUT...that's Hannah Minsky (left) and 05s skipper Sophia Cockett

UNDER-14 GIRLS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...5 BURLINGTON...0

NITROS' battle back from an opening day defeat at Tecumseh continued in style with a five-goal Thursday night stroll against Burlington at Downsview Park.

And it was a welcome return after six months out for Victoria Godinho who scored twice as did the predatory Lauren Root with Tejia Murray-Powell completing an enjoyable evening for Head Coach Marc Maunder's side.

Root's goals have now taken her into the Top 10 in the race to be top scorer in this division and Nitros are back in contention for top spot in their title shootout.

And coach Marc reflected: "It was a very pleasing night's work as we were without a number of players. We moved the ball well, switched the play then found players in good positions and attacked with speed.

"We created lots of chances and scored two goals from cutbacks which was hugely pleasing and it was terrific to see Victoria score twice as she has not played since November last year after injury.

"We had a number of stand-out players in this one. Hannah Minsky gave constant support from left back, Courtney Poon secured possession for us over and over again and started so many attacks from midfield. Our captain Sophia Cockett was also once again so good in possession, assisting TJ's goal with a left foot reverse and looking so comfortable to step into midfield from centre-back to build attacks."

04 GIRLS GET OFF THE MARK

MORALE BOOSTERS...Amelia Salewicz (2) and Maddie Wong netted goals

UNDER-15 GIRLS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...5 NORTH MISSISSAUGA...2

AMELIA SALEWICZ and Kayla Briggs both grabbed doubles and Maddie Wong hit the scoresheet as the 04s Girls picked up their first OPDL win of the new season at Downsview.

After a tough start to the campaign this was an excellent performance from Head Coach Ian Skitch's side and a game that showed the potential Kayla, playing up from our 05s Girls squad, possesses moving forward.

Coach Ian said: "We moved Amelia into a striking role and she responded very well to the challenge, we still lost goals that I felt were preventable but to get five on the board was very satisfying.

"Now the girls must build on this performance in their next outing."

STRONG OSU EDGE 03 GIRLS

SCORING AND SPARKLING...that's Montana Wilcox (left) and Jess Collantes

UNDER-17 GIRLS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...2

OUR 03 Girls recovered from a horror start against OSU at Ontario Soccer Centre but leaked a late goal to fall to a narrow defeat.

Nitros slid behind within three minutes of the first whistle when a high mishit cross looped over keeper Sierra Cote-Yarde and fell in at the back post.

Marc Maunder's side were rocked by that unexpected opener and he confessed: "OSU controlled the game for the next 20 minutes, we were really poor with second pass completion in transition with the midfield not playing quickly enough.

"Yet we ended the second-half the stronger with Jess Collantes starting to take over in midfield and we pushed OSU back and could have equalised.

"In the second-half we did pull level with a goal from Montana Wilcox off a corner and it was an even game. Then out of nowhere we lost possession in the corner, they played forward with the striker nipping in front of Qunitin Tostevin to run through 1 v 1 and score.

"After that, in all honesty, we looked physically done and Sierra pulled off two great saves to keep the score at 2-1."


WEEK THREE

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE UMBRO SUPER CUP

TOP OF THE TABLE...the 04s boys squad were undefeated in three games over the weekend and are now in Canada's top 10 

WHEN the dust settled on a hectic weekend in the Umbro Showcase and Super Cup eight Nitros teams from our 06s Girls and boys rookies to our experienced 03s male and female players had come through a terrific tournament with some great soccer experiences.

In the Super Cup the top performance came from Marc Maunder's 05s Girls who made it to the final of the U14 Girls Super Pro bracket but were edged out 2-1 by Markham. The consolation for the girls, though, is that their sustained high level performances in these sort of competitions now sees them ranked no1 in Canada by GotSoccer.

Coach Marc said: "We knew before the weekend that we would face tough teams like Caledon in our bracket so we were delighted to emerge from that to contest the Final. Losing was sore for the girls but they have proven now time and again that they are amongst the best in the province and the no1 ranking is a nice reward."

The 03s boys dominance in their age group continued with three wins on the spin over the weekend which pleased coach Marko Milanovic as they bounced back from dropping two points in the OPDL in a 1-1 tie at Ottawa South United. 

For the 04s boys, who have six new signings this season, the goals are to unlock their undoubted potential and tight wins over OPDL rivals Richmond Hill and Vaughan secured a bracket triumph that pushes them into the Top 10 in Canada.

Head Coach Iain King said: "We are still very much a work in progress so rewards like this early in the season are great for the boys. With each positive performance - and there have been a lot of those in the early weeks - there comes learning games like our 2-2 closing match against Kitchener when we squandered so many chance to put the game away and lost a late equaliser.

"We need to learn to be more clinical in front of goal and to work harder off the ball still but it feels like the boys are buying in to how we can improve together which is really positive for the group."

* LOOK out for a detailed breakdown on how our eight sides fared in the Umbro later this week with a team by team report and the coaches' verdicts on their side's displays.

WEEK TWO

AN OFF DAY IN OTTAWA

MAKING A POINT...scorer Noah Pereira

UNDER-17 BOYS

OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

CHAMPIONS Nitros returned from the nation's capital with a feeling of frustration after taking just a point from a tough encounter with OSU that saw eight players booked.

Noah Pereira's strike was cancelled out by Mathom Quapp as Nitros lost some early ground on leaders Oakville and United FA.

And coach Marko Milanovic admitted: "This was a frustrating game against a hard-working, organised and very defensive-minded opponent. We just didn’t make the right choices offensively and frankly did not deserve a better outcome. We have lots of things to work on and the Umbro Showcase will be a good opportunity to try out a few new things."

04s BRIDGE GAP AFTER PRE-SEASON PAIN

UP FOR THE CUP...two-goal Evan Jardim (left) and the tireless Liam Batista-Funk

UNDER-15 BOYS

OPDL CUP

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 WOODBRIDGE...0

PRE-SEASON embarrassment turned into OPDL Cup joy for the Nitros as they deservedly marched into the next round with a superbly disciplined performance against highly-rated Woodbridge at Downsview Park on Thursday night.

A focused week of work on the training field ahead of the match paid off as two goals from outstanding striker Evan Jardim paved the route through for head coach Iain King's side.

Nitros' organised pressing - led by the likes of tireless midfielder Liam Batista-Funk - forced key errors from the Woodbridge goalkeeper that the predatory Jardim pounced on to build a first-half lead they never looked like relinquishing.

And coach Iain said: “We lost 6-2 at Woodbridge at pre-season and although we were missing some key players the boys were bitterly disappointed by their performance that day.

“The challenge then was to show they could match - and overcome - the no3 ranked team in Canada and I was proud of how the team accomplished that.

“We owe a debt of thanks to the other OPDL Hub coaches who tailored their training plans to allow us the field space we needed to prepare on the two nights before the game.

“The boys executed the plan extremely well in and out of possession and now they have to use those levels of intensity and discipline as their benchmark for the season.”

10-MAN NITROS NEED TO LEARN THEIR LESSONS

BRIGHT SPOTS...Noah Durao and Dino Custovic grabbed the goals

UNDER-15 BOYS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 NORTH MISSISSAUGA...3

TEN-MAN Nitros missed the chance to crown a perfect start to the season as they fell to defeat after central defender Nic Caramico's red card early in the second-half.

In the wake of an excellent display knocking Woodbridge out of the OPDL Cup the 04s boys squandered the chance to make it three wins on the spin by getting sucked into an ugly squabble of a match at Downsview on Sunday morning.

Twice behind, Nitros had fought back with goals from Noah Durao - his first for the club since moving from Toronto FC Academy - and then Dino Custovic who tied up the game with a penalty on the stroke of the interval.

At the break the team were warned to stay out of brewing off the ball confrontations that were going unchecked and concentrate on their brand of passing soccer but instead they bit on almost every one in a fractious second period that began with defender Nic rightly red-carded for a badly misjudged tackle in a wide area when there was no direct threat.

Head coach Iain King sighed: “This was three points thrown away through our own indiscipline after we went down to 10 men when Nic - who has had a terrific start to the season - was rightly sent off for an ill-advised tackle in the first minute of the second-half.

“We forgot what we are good at after coming out of a rocky first-half tied at 2-2 and still in good shape.

“The boys need to learn to concentrate on playing our brand of passing soccer and forget about getting drawn into petty feuds with opponents.

“They were warned at half-time by both myself and our goalkeeping coach Shawn Sawyer, a former international no1, not to get involved in situations that were developing with their players but they ignored that advice and paid the price. I hope they learn a lesson from this.”

TWO IN A ROWE FOR 05s BOYS

MATCH-WINNER...that's Liam Rowe

UNDER-14 BOYS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 VAUGHAN...0

LIAM ROWE struck again for the hard-working 05s Boys as coach Marko Milanovic's side made it two OPDL wins on the spin at Downsview.

Coach Marko's side marched to the top of the table ahead of Week Three in the Umbro Super Cup and he was full of praise for the boys afterwards telling ntsoccer.com: "This was a very good performance against one of the better teams in the age group.

"The boys’ intensity and fight made the difference. I am very satisfied with the way we were able to dominate possession. The key moving forward will be to have these types of performances on a more consistent level. "

QUICKFIRE 03s MARCH THROUGH IN OPDL CUP

TREBLE SHOOTERS...Jillian Therrien, Nia Wilson and Madeleine Penman-Derstine were all on target in the Cup

UNDER-17 GIRLS

OPDL CUP

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 WOODBRIDGE...1

THE 03 Girls exploded out of the blocks to comfortably secure a passage into the next round with first-half goals from Jillian Therrien, Madeleine Penman-Derstine and Nia Wilson.

Coach Marc Maunder was satisfied with that terrific first period but set his side other targets after the match as the season begins to kick into top gear.

He said: "We were very strong in the first-half scoring three goals, hitting the crossbar and missing three or four other really good chances as well as not attacking some great crosses aggressively enough.

"The down side was Woodbridge scoring from a transition which was really disappointing given that our Tuesday game prep was all about defensive organisation especially when we lose the ball.

"Yet there was a lot to be happy about in the first-half as the front three all scored and the full-backs got forward so well to support

"It was an uneventful second-half apart from Woodbridge hitting the bar and having one cleared off the line by Quintin Tostevin, we had the majority of possession and should have seen the game out better than we did."

MAKING IT COUNT ON THE COUNTER

GOALMAKER AND GOALTAKER...Chiara English and Devon Eisen

UNDER-17 GIRLS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 WOODBRIDGE...0

NITROS tackled Woodbridge for the second time in a week after knocking one of their big rivals out of the OPDL Cup and repeated the trick with a League victory.

Coach Marc Maunder looked to throw a different formation and pose new tactical problems for his opponents from the start of this one but he confessed: "It was a poor first 35 mins and I take full responsibility for that, we had played the same team two days before in the Cup so I tried to show Woodbridge something different.

"We went back to our normal shape and finished the first-half stronger with Nia Wilson finding Montana Wilcox with a cutback but the effort went wide.

"In the second-half we got stronger and stronger and we scored a very good goal off a counter from a Woodbridge corner, Chiara English picked up the ball off an Alya Ruken headed clearance and ran 50 yards before finding Jillian Therrien who cut back inside the full-back onto her left foot and bent the ball into the far corner. It was a terrific finish.

"After missing big chances and seeing another Alya header come back off the crossbar we found a second through Devon Eisen who picked up the pieces after Madeleine Penman-Derstine was taken down by the goalkeeper on a 1 v 1.

"Overall, this was another pleasing win."

LATE SICKENER MEANS CUP EXIT

SPOT ON...top scorer Rufina Abdurusul

UNDER-15 GIRLS

OPDL CUP

UNIONVILLE...2  NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

BRAVE Nitros were edged out of the Cup away at Unionville despite an encouraging display against a strong home side who had troubled them last season.

Provincial player Rufina Abdurusul scored her fourth of the season already from the spot to tie the game up but Nitros lost a heartbreaking late goal to head for the exit door in this tournament.

Head Coach Ian Skitch reflected: "This was a solid team performance with some fight and bottle in it. We came back from a goal down to go level deservedly midway through the second-half on a Rufina penalty.

"Sadly, though, we lost our concentration at a late corner failing to track runners to concede the winner. We continued to press for an equaliser but it wasn't to be. The girls showed real progress since last meeting this opponent but cannot rest on this performance."

04 GIRLS MUST BATTLE BACK FROM DAY OF HURT

BATTLER...Hana Miller stuck with it

UNDER-15 GIRLS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 WOODBRIDGE...9

NITROS' 04 Girls suffered through an afternoon of pain against Canada's top 04 side that left Head Coach Ian Skitch asking his team to use this as a hurtful but helpful learning experience in the game.

The girls toiled from the outset and were left to reflect on a scoreline that they must look to battle back from.

Coach Ian said: "We spent the entire match on the back foot and trying to compete against an exceptional opponent - credit to Woodbridge as they have set the bar high. Nothing worked.

"We played a high block and press in the first-half, then dropped to defend deeper and contain in the second. We just never came into the game and it was a painful experience for all.

"There were many learnings, though. We must and can be more proactive defensively and improve our ability to deal with the long high ball. We must and can improve possession mentality and technical speed when under pressure.

"We must and can run more in transition. We can and must develop resilience. I have to make an honourable mention to Hana Miller who played well despite the outcome and tried to play throughout the entirety of the game no matter the outcome."

05s GIRLS BACK TO WINNING WAYS

BOUNCING BACK...that's Tejia Murray-Powell and influential Sarah Flood

UNDER-15 GIRLS 

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 SC TORONTO...0

NITROS bounced back from an opening day defeat to Tecumseh to clinch their first league win of the season with goals from Lauren Root and Tejia Murray-Powell making the difference at Downsview.

In howling wind and driving rain at times this was a very testing day and in the end Head Coach Marc Maunder was just delighted to come out of the game with all three points.

He said:  "The terrible conditions made this game so difficult, Lauren scored within two minutes which made it very difficult for SC to come back even though they gave us a scare with an exciting goalmouth scramble in the opening quarter.

"TJ then scored a free-kick in the second period and that was the end of the scoring although Sarah Flood missed a great chance for us in the third period, SC were better in this 20 than us as we let them switch the ball on us too

easily but they did not really create a good goalscoring chance.

"I was really pleased to come out of the game with three points and a clean sheet, the girls were excellent."


WEEK ONE 

05s GET THEIR FIRST W AT WATERLOO

ON TARGET...Danny Iwamoto (left) and Liam Rowe sealed the points

UNDER-14 BOYS

WATERLOO...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

DANNY IWAMOTO and Liam Rowe got the 05 Boys off to a flyer in their first ever scores and standings Ontario Player Development League match at Western University.

After adjusting to the challenges of soccer at this level in their inaugural campaign when no points are awarded this one counted for Marko Milanovic's side and the boys responded well with an opening day victory.

Coach Marko has worked hard with this squad at our winter training base at Toronto Soccerplex and week by week they have gelled together and they earned a big reward in Week One.

The victory left Marko pleased although he knows there are tougher games on the horizon now and he said: "It was a good defensive effort from us and also positionally in attack we looked good.

"I felt at the sharp end we had problems with some relatively routine situations in front of the opposing net. The team will look to get better on a weekly basis and we have a tough match coming up against Vaughan."

BILAL'S BLAST SEALS OPENING DAY VICTORY

OFF AND RUNNING...Abou-Reslan (left) grabbed the winner as his

team-mate Justin Jamal hit the comeback trail after injury pre-season

UNDER-15 BOYS

UNIONVILLE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NITROS dominated this opening day encounter and the fact they left Ontario Soccer Centre a little frustrated at the margin of victory should not overshadow what was overall an encouraging performance.

On-form midfielder Bilal Abou-Reslan grabbed the all-important winner in the 36th minute when a driving run at the heart of the Unionville defence saw him escape two challenges before he smacked a shot low past the keeper from 18 yards.

For new head coach Iain King it was a relief to see the boys get the reward they deserved on Day One and he stressed: "It was a good, solid and dominant opening display, the shot count was 23-8 in our favour and it was our finishing that let us down.

"Bilal, though, deserved his goal for a driving display in midfield. We were all a little frustrated not to add to that opener but on reflection our pass completion was 80% and the team moved the ball well. It was great to see our central defender Justin Jamal get a full hour under his belt as we have had an injury-troubled pre-season in that area of the team."

PABLO'S TWO GOOD FOR 03s CHAMPS

DOUBLE TROUBLE...Pablo Hampelmann (left) grabs two, Tadija Vukas sparkles

UNDER-17 BOYS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4 WHITBY...1

PABLO HEMPELMANN'S double helped sparked a comfortable opening day success for the OPDL champions but coach Marko Milanovic believes his team need to be much sharper next time out.

De'kwon Barrow and Dennis Escobar notched the others as this trophy-gathering squad took the first steps into a new campaign.

The demands put upon them will be as high as ever and coach Marko said: "I felt it was an average performance to start the season.  Pablo took the goals well and we had strong displays in the midfield from Tadija Vukas and Juan Pablo Delgadillo, especially defensively.  I feel, though, that we need to get much sharper before the next game in Ottawa against Ottawa South United."

DEFEAT RUF ON THREE-GOAL RUFINA

ON THE MARK...Rufina Abdurusul (left) grabbed a hat-trick and team-mate

Nathalie  Finley-Horne shone in a dramatic opener for the 04s Girls on Sunday

GIRLS U-15

MARKHAM...4 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

PROVINCIAL prospect Rufina Abdurusul crashed home an opening day hat-trick but the 04s Girls still suffered a gut-wrenching last-gasp defeat in a seven-goal thriller at Whitby Soccer Centre on Sunday.

Team Ontario player Rufina looked to have put her side in a commanding 3-1 lead as Head Coach Ian Skitch's side stormed back from the loss of an early goal to be two in front early in the second period.

Markham, though, refused to give up and had their own hat-trick star in Emma Kos with Paige Chiusolo chipping in to help edge it in a dramatic finish.

It was an eventful first game for new head coach Ian who told the OPDL Round-up: "We spent the opening minutes on the back foot and pinned in our own half working out how to play against Markham’s high block.

"Rufina's finishing was natural and calm and it was an excellent hat-trick but we finished the game the same way we started it, under the pressure of a high press, and we struggled to control the game. 

"Markham’s energy was rewarded with two late goals with the winner coming with literally the last kick of the game which was tough on the girls."

05s LOSE WAY AFTER TAKING RIGHT ROOT

  

PLUS POINTS...Lauren Root( left) scored the opening goal and Provincial keeper

Maya Sanchez-Ceccarelli built up well under pressure of Tecumseh's high press

GIRLS UNDER-14

TECUMSEH...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NITROS fell to a hurtful opening day defeat after Lauren Root's opener at Western Campus in London on Saturday.

The gifted 05 Girls looked to be in their normal groove in the opening quarter but two goals from striker Ava Mills gave fired-up Tecumseh all three points.

For coach Marc Maunder it was a sore start to the season for a group with so much promise and he said: "In the opening 20 minutes I could not have been more happy with the girls, we should have been three goals up and not just one.

"We were meeting our game objectives but then we began to struggle in transition, our defensive play in the second-half was really disappointing and it cost us two goals and the game,

"Even in attack after that first quarter we were really poor by our standards, no sharpness.

"The positives were that our keeper Maya Sanchez-Ceccarelli was great against the high press and played us out so well with great composure.

"Also  our midfield of Sarah Flood, Tejia Murray-Powell, Courtney Poon and Avery Clandfield were good  but they did not have enough in front of them to help them."


A STORY OF HIGHS AND LOWS AT GATORADE 5s

READY TO BOUNCE BACK...the 03s boys will chase a hat-trick of OPDL titles after their Gatorade 5s setbacks

CLEAN SWEEP Saturday turned into a cruel and sore Sunday for the North Toronto Nitros 03 and 04 Boys at the thrilling Gatorade 5s tournament at Pickering Soccer Centre last weekend.

Head Coach Marko Milanovic - who saw one of his 03 sides represent Canada in the World Finals in Barcelona last year - had three squads in the mix again this time round.

For the 04 boys, guided by Iain King, this was their debut in the Gatorade with one team making their bow ahead of their full squad being involved in 2020.

Saturday could not have gone better for the Nitros family as ALL FOUR teams went 3-0 to win their sections which meant they could avoid each other in the round of 16 the following day.

When it came to the knockout stages, though, it was a tale of missed chances, ill fortune and sore defeats as first the 04s exited at the hands of Whitby before all three 03s sides lost in the last eight.

For the two-time 03s OPDL champs these were difficult defeats to take as the teams lost 2-0 to Woodbridge, 4-1 to North Mississauga and then on a penalty shoot-out to Oakville after a 2-2 draw when NT had been two up until the dying minutes.

And coach Marko confessed: “The boys were extremely disappointed not to win the tournament.

“We felt, going into Sunday, that we had played the best soccer at the event.

“Losing was a heartbreaking experience, even though we still feel we were the best footballing side there.

“Any time we don't win a tournament or a competition that we enter, it always feels like a missed opportunity.

“This group sees winning trophies as a norm and therefore anything below that feels like a huge loss.”

The 03s, though, now have a busy April of exhibitions to look forward to as they build towards OPDL opening weekend on May 4/5.

Coach Milanovic’s side are going for an unprecedented three OPDL titles on the spin.

The prize at stake was to be Canada’s representatives in May when the World Finals take place at the home of Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.

And Marko stressed: “Setbacks are a normal part of soccer and life in general. This group has always been able to bounce back and improve after tough losses.

“Whether we'll be able to do it again, I am not sure, but we're looking forward to the challenge.

“This is one of the most resilient groups of kids that I have ever worked with.”

SHOWING PROMISE...(left to right) Ryan Campbell, Damien Vermande, Liam Trudeau, Dino Custovic, Bilal Abou-Reslan and

Noah Durao racked   up three wins on the spin for the 04s Boys in the Gatorade before a painful loss in the last 16

The 04s boys were edged out 1-0 by Whitby when brave keeper Liam Trudeau had to be helped out of the game after a nasty accidental collision left him with neck spasms. 

For coach Iain, though, the Gatorade debut was a hugely positive experience for the six players from his new-look squad who took part.

He reasoned: “This is a new squad with a new coach, we learn more about each other every practice and every game and to have four great matches in the space of two days was so beneficial.

“We scored 14 goals for the loss of just four in the section and played some beautiful passing soccer in our three wins.

“Alongside that they have some key lessons to learn about their discipline on the field and the mentality they now have to start to build.

“In the defeat against Whitby they could point to a ref’s bad call or the keeper’s injury but I don’t want them doing that. Those are excuses.

“Hold yourself accountable, take your chances, examine where you could have done better.

“That’s how this group will improve together, overall I was proud of the effort they gave and how they played in their first experience of the Gatorade. We’ll be back next year wiser and stronger.”

TOP PROSPECT PANAITE SEALS HIS DREAM SWITCH TO TFC

CHANGING CRESTS...Adrian's 2019 OPDL Gatorade headshot was to be his last as a Nitros player as he clinched his move

NORTH TORONTO NITROS SOCCER 04 Boys midfielder Adrian Panaite this week signed for Toronto FC’s U14 Academy side in a move that delighted all the coaches who have guided him.

Adrian, born in 2005, was a mainstay playing a year up in the team’s OPDL side and coach Octavian Ghidanac, who led that age group in the 2018 campaign, paid tribute to the ability of a player who returned to his NT roots after a year playing at Richmond Hill SC.

Octavian recalled: “Adrian came back to us in November 2017 and by the end of the first training session with the 04 Boys I had no doubt that he had the ability and potential to not only be part of the roster but to be one of our main protagonists.

“In the following weeks Adrian’s integration was great, he always brought a positive attitude and proved every time in the training period that his presence was valuable to the squad.”

Next month the eight Nitros’ OPDL teams will move outdoors after a long winter and begin a series of exhibition matches that sees them ramp up their preparation for the OPDL challenges ahead.

It was during this process 12 months ago that Octavian saw Adrian make a great leap forward in his development.

He stressed: “Adrian’s performance really stood out in an impressive way. Considering we were against some of the strongest opponents like Hamilton, Woodbridge, Vaughan, and Oakville,  Adrian was able to take his game to the next level. 

“After all those games I had no doubt that Adrian is a special talent. His calmness and composure are outstanding during the games.

“No matter the situation he always seems to have the right answers to it.

“I’m extremely happy to see him making this huge step into the professional soccer academy.

“Now I hope that his dream - to become a professional soccer player - will turn into a reality."

Andy King, now Head Coach of the 2007 and 2008 Boys at the club, was a part of Adrian’s initial development at North Toronto.

He’ll never forget his first glimpse of a special talent in the Downsview Dome when Adrian was playing against NT for his neighbourhood team Toronto Hawks.

Andy smiled: “He was an opponent in a game against one of our teams in the Dome.

“He leapt above 12 other boys to powerfully head home a corner. I was stood with my colleague Connor Bourne and we just looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. We knew we’d seen a special player.

“Adrian went on to join NTSC where Connor and I had the privilege to be a small part of his journey. 

“Now I’m so happy that Adrian has the opportunity to continue his development within the TFC Academy.

“When you work with a player who is so committed that he would do anything to improve and win but is also such a good person and is so coachable, you can be nothing but delighted for the individual.

“The hard work starts now, Adrian - all the very best.” 

SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT...Adrian's new coach Terry Dunfield in his playing days in the midfield of Toronto FC

For Adrian’s dad Cristian Wednesday was a proud night as he saw his son take a big step upwards in his soccer career.

In a message to Technical Director Billy Wilson this week Cristian paid tribute to the role played by the NT coaches in his son’s development.

Cristian insisted: “I simply feel that the team of coaches had to be thanked for the huge role they played in Adrian's development from the early beginning to this moment.

“It started with with Andy King, who discovered Adrian in a NT game against a small neighborhood team a long time ago.

“Then it continued with Connor Bourne who led the NT 05 boys team in winning a tournament  in the USA.

“His journey at the club finished with the OPDL coaches Octavian Ghidanac and Iain King, all these amazing folks have taught Adrian valuable skills and helped him build his confidence.

“Andy, Connor, Octavian and Iain are true professionals and strong contributors to the success of North Toronto SC.”

Those kind words were welcomed in the coaching room as the work now continues for Head Coach Iain’s 04 Boys in their OPDL build-up without TFC new boy Adrian.

Ironically, Adrian’s first official game for TFC and his new coach, former Canadian international midfielder and now TV analyst Terry Dunfield, is in an exhibition AGAINST his old team at the BMO Training Academy on Sunday afternoon.

For his final Nitros coach Iain that will be a fitting way to say goodbye to a class player and he said: “Since October when I took over it has been a pleasure to work with Adrian with the OPDL 04 boys squad and we thought so much of him that in all honesty the formation was built around him.

“He is a down to earth and respectful kid who simply focuses on becoming the best player he can be and he is a pleasure to work with.

“As soon as the way was paved for him to go to TFC on trial after talks with their coach Terry Dunfield I was wholly confident we wouldn’t see him back.

“It has been a joy to work with him even for a short space of time, the technical foundation he has is a great tribute to Adrian's hard work and my coaching colleagues who moulded him as a player.”


05s GIRLS GREEN MACHINE KEEPS ROLLIN' IN THE STATES

LOOK AND LEARN...Head Coach Marc Maunder hits the tactics board with his team at half-time in the clinching game

NORTH TORONTO NITROS 05 girls OPDL squad travelled to Massachusetts at the weekend and emerged as winners of the Global Premier Soccer March Madness top bracket.

Coach Marc Maunder’s side got off to an excellent start on Saturday morning with a 2-0 triumph over GPS MA Elite Red with Sophia Cockett converting an early penalty before Lauren Root’s predatory strike from the edge of the box sealed the win.

That set up Game Two against the highly-ranked GPS franchise’s White team on Saturday night and Nitros controlled the match to claim a 2-1 win despite Cockett missing from the spot this time.

The skipper quickly atoned for that setback with a spectacular 30-yarder to put her side in front before Sarah Flood clinched it with a terrific drive from the edge of the box.

That second win inside the Union Point Dome set up a decider against the excellent FC Coastal USA outdoors at the picturesque Legion Field in Weymouth for Game Three on Sunday morning.

And it was to be a dramatic finale to another successful trip Stateside for the U14 side.

Provincial team candidate Kayla Briggs topped off a clever solo run with an unerring finish to open the scoring but Coastal scored from distance with just seven minutes remaining to set up a nailbiting end to the tournament.

When the question was asked this gifted Nitros side had the answer.

New signing Juliana Otano crafted a slick give and go with Flood on the edge of the box and saw the chance open up for her to stride into the box and bury the winner low into the corner.

A dream end to Juliana’s first travel trip with the team and Head Coach Marc said: “This was the perfect return to the USA for us after the disappointment of our loss in the Final of the Bethesda tournament four months ago.

“I honestly feel the competition we faced here was better than the teams we have faced recently in the USA so to win all three games, without two Team Ontario prospects who could not travel, was so pleasing.

“We never once went away from what makes the girls such a fun side to watch, again so pleasing, sometimes tournament football can make you play a more direct style of soccer because of the fear of losing.

“This, though, was a great early showing of how the girls will deal with scores and standings for the first time this year in the OPDL.”


BIG STEP FORWARD FOR THE 06 GIRLS IN USA

RED-DY TO ROCK...the 06 girls in Massachusetts in their slick new uniforms backed by big-hearted sponsors RCC Group

NORTH TORONTO NITROS 06 OPDL girls squad relished another top bracket adventure in the USA at the weekend and chalked up their first travel tournament game win in the Global Premier Soccer March Madness in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Game One on Saturday morning saw the fledgling Provincial League side edged 3-2 in a five goal thriller by the highly-rated GPS Elite MA.

New signing Malena Patera rifled home a goal to haul Nitros back into the game after they’d gone two down following a very bright start to the match.

Even when GPS notched again Izzy Friedman’s brilliant top corner finish brought a point within touching distance but the clock was the enemy for Iain King’s team.

Game Two was, in truth, a disappointment as the girls failed to handle the physical demands of playing two top bracket tournaments games in one day.

They had soared in front in the fourth minute against New England FC when Zoe Haldenby tricked away from her midfield markers to threat a superb ball through to Morgan Zietlow who sped through to smash into the far corner.

What followed, though, was a cheap equaliser, a tired, low-key display and a tale of missed chances that led to a sore 3-1 defeat in the Union Point Dome.

The move outside on Sunday morning seemed to energise this season’s OPDL rookies, though, as they arrived at the beautiful Legion Field in Weymouth for Game Three.

Nitros were playing the excellent FC Stars and again grabbed an early lead as a slick build-up saw Emma Inciarte find space 20 yards out to rip a shot into the top corner despite a touch from the despairing keeper.

FC Stars, who play in America’s Elite Club National League (ECNL), were a gifted rival and they had bouts of pressure throughout as they chased an equaliser.

When they broke through Nitros’ gutsy defence, however, the American side found outstanding keeper Alana Carras in truly inspired form and she held firm for a superb shut-out.

Head Coach Iain told ntsoccer.com: “After playing another tournament at this level back in November in Maryland this was only the team’s second experience of this type of soccer.

“Playing twice in the top bracket against leading ECNL and Academy teams has been a steep learning curve for us as a rookie OPDL team but I would not have had it any other way. It has been such a worthwhile education for the players.

“Right now it is about the performance more than the results and in two of the three games it was of the right level. Although they had to fight so hard to defend their lead against FC Stars I was really proud of their determination and teamwork to get that first win. They learned to play on the counter-attack within a game situation.

“Being with our dedicated 05s girls on the trip was vital. The team watch how they work and are learning fast. I don't like singling out players but alongside the continuing development in our established girls it was terrific to see a new player like our striker Malena Patera have a breakout tournament and play so well.

“Our goalkeeping coaching staff under Justine Bernier also deserve huge credit for the performances of Alana who has already also played in the States with our 05s girls.

“She is relishing tournaments like this and getting stronger with every game.”


SPOT-ON SHOULY IS THE SHOOTOUT HERO

FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY...Nitros kept believing in the shoot-out and secured another trophy triumph on Sunday

BOYS UNDER-15 CHARITY SHIELD FINAL 2018

UNIONVILLE 1...NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

(Nitros win 3-1 on penalty kicks)

KEEPER Samim Shouly was the penalty shootout hero as Nitros' U15 Boys followed up their second successive league title with Charity Shield glory at Ontario Soccer Centre on Sunday afternoon.

Samim made the key stops after De'kwon Barrow's 18th goal of a prolific campaign had cancelled out Sasha Pecalevski's early opener for Unionville.

Barrow's calm finish for the equaliser typified a great season for the big striker who took on the mantle as the team's no9 after Hugo Mbongue signed for Toronto FC.

Regulation time, though, couldn't separate the teams and it took the shootout and Shouly's heroics to set the seal on another superb campaign for a relentless squad who have shone under the guidance of Head Coach Marko Milanovic.

CHANTELLE SEALS SHIELD GLORY

WINNERS AGAIN...the Nitros U17 Girls celebrate another piece of silverware as they pick up the OPDL Charity Shield

GIRLS UNDER-17 CHARITY SHIELD FINAL 2018

RICHMOND HILL...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

CHANTELLE PARKER'S 14th goal of an outstanding season saw the Nitros U17 Girls deservedly lift the Charity Shield at Ontario Soccer Centre on Saturday afternoon.

The striker pounced on a loose ball from an 11th minute corner to poke hime a predator's finish and secure another piece of silverware for what has become a stellar squad for NT.

It was an edgy final but Nitros dominated the first-half and could and should have been further ahead with one key chance at the back post for the brilliant Keyosha Donkor going begging when a crucial second beckoned.

Richmond Hill - who had edged Nitros to the league title by just one goal a week earlier - did come into the game after the break but Nitros eased home in the end and can now set their sights on the important CASL showcase event that could help see more of an already sought after squad secure scholarships at top universities in the States.

BAND OF BROTHERS ON TROPHY TRAIL AGAIN

GETTING HIS MESSAGE ACROSS...Head Coach Marko Milanovic at work with the 03 Boys who chase Charity Shield glory

  TOGETHERNESS, focus and a refusal to allow each other to become complacent.

Those are the key ingredients for the continuing success of North Toronto Nitros' 03 Boys side under the guidance of Head Coach Marko Milanovic.

After tying up a second divisional title on the spin by a massive 19 POINTS Nitros now set their sights on the Charity Shield in Sunday afternoon's crunch clash with Unionville at Ontario Soccer Centre.

Coach Marko admits he was delighted by the intensity of the group throughout their regular season which saw them blow away their rivals in the title chase.

He stressed:  "It was definitely something that we didn't expect. We are very pleased with the consistency we have shown throughout the year."

This is not a group that ever rests on their laurels, though, they are constantly looking at ways to improve in practice as they push each other on in their development journey.

A rare silverware loss in the Ontario Games Final against Oakville earlier this year has only served as fuel to the fires as they seek another big trophy this weekend.

And Marko reflected on their tactical journey so far as he pointed out: "We have become a more intelligent group defending in transition although there's still room for improvement. The players have also shown a better positional awareness it attack which was a pleasant change.

"Our togetherness is one of our biggest strengths. The players are always together, on and off the field. They don't let each other become complacent."


NITROS' 17s GIRLS KNOW HOW TO BOUNCE BACK

NITROS' U17 girls have battled back from the loss of three key players to the Regional Excellence Program to win the OPDL Cup and now contest the Charity Shield Final with Richmond Hill Raiders at the Ontario Soccer Centre this Saturday afternoon.

Head Coach Marko Milanovic's side was edged out of another league title in heartbreaking fashion at the weekend when they came up just short and saw Richmond Hill take the crown by the margin of just ONE GOAL.

Yet Marko knows the inner strength his squad possess as they have shown their resilience to recover from the loss of Canada U17 World Cup star Sonia Walk and her former NT team-mates Olivia Smith and Jasmine Vilgrain to the REX program at the beginning of the campaign.

Marko stressed: "Losing the three players to the REX now seems like a memory in the distant past. The girls have picked up the slack and have had an even better season than last year.

"We are looking forward to the final.  We will be ready to go, we will play our style and hopefully continue to showcase our club and soccer in Ontario in the right way."

THE REAL McKYE...team-mates swamp U17s striker star Meghan McKye after she scored another key goal this season

The door was open for another title for Marko's side as they headed into the final two league fixtures but a 3-2 loss to Whitby and a 1-1 tie with eventual winners Richmond Hill denied them that glory at the last gasp.

Nitros' coach, though, remains hugely proud of the achievements of his squad and he paid tribute to a returning NT colleague for his role in Raiders' title success.

Andy King recently checked back into Nitros as a key part of the club's redesigned Grassroots program where he will Head Coach the U11 and U12 Boys sides.

Marko, though, insists Andy played a key role in the rise of Richmond Hill and he said:  "Richmond Hill did what they needed to do and full credit to their players and staff. Andy King was a major piece of that success even though he is no longer at RH. 

"For our part we are happy with the fact that we accumulated the most points over the course of the whole season, when you combine the first and second parts of the season. We look forward to Saturday now."

WEEK TWENTY TWO

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 SC TORONTO...3

Match report to follow

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 MARKHAM...1

Match report to follow

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS... NORTH MISSISSAUGA...

NORTH TORONTO NITROS 0 ... UNIONVILLE..1. 

Match reports to follow

SC TORONTO... NORTH TORONTO NITROS...

Match report to follow

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...2

Match report to follow

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

SC TORONTO... NORTH TORONTO NITROS...

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...  NORTH MISSISSAUGA...

Match reports to follow

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...UNIONVILLE

Match report to follow

GIRLS UNDER-17 RED

NORTH TORONTO NITROS... HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...

Match report to follow

WEEK TWENTY ONE

FINE MARGINS FOR 04 BOYS

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

WOODBRIDGE...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

CAPTAIN Bilal Abou-Reslan's strike was not enough as Nitros were edged out in a frustrating defeat from big rivals Woodbridge.

Bryan Grey and Areez Vellani got the goals to inch to all three points for the title-contending home side but Nitros were left to rue missed chances at key moments of the game.

Head Coach Octavian Ghidanac said: "There were a lot of positives to take away from this game but we missed key chances at crucial times of the match.

"We also have to look at how we support our attacks better in terms of numbers getting into the box and that is something we will work on."

TITLE KINGS! 03 BOYS CLINCH TWO IN A ROW

LISTEN AND LEARN...the Nitros 03 boys champions tune in to another tactical chat from coach Marko Milanovic

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 UNITED FA...0

NITROS clinched their second scores and standings OPDL title on the spin with a comfortable triumph that secured the trophy with room to spare.

Now as the team moves towards the season's finale Head Coach Marko Milanovic wants to keep them focused on improving even further.

He stressed: "Our main team goal of winning the league has now been accomplished and we'll have to find different targets to keep ourselves hungry in the next few weeks."

Nitros suffered a rare loss in the Ontario Games Final at the hands of Oakville but Marko doesn't feel that has become a driving force as this team stays grounded win or lose.

He reasoned:  "In regards to the Cup Final loss, we analyse every game regardless of the score in the same manner.  Generally, there are one or two aspects we would identify as areas of improvement and we move on.

"We try not to dwell on defeats and stay as grounded as possible after victories."

At U13 level Nitros were impressive in the no scores, no standings season of OPDL and when the points have counted they have now chalked up two consecutive titles.

The goals that mattered this time came from De'kwon Barrow, Anthony Aromatario and Pablo Hempelmann and coach Marko said: "The performance was satisfactory and we ended up with a comfortable win.

"The United team was missing a lot of players with injuries and suspensions, so our job was a lot easier and it was nice to see a first of the year goal for Anthony. He has been excellent as a creative force in midfield."

CLOCK IS AN ENEMY FOR 02 BOYS

BOYS UNDER-17 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 RICHMOND HILL...1

NITROS lost a controversial equaliser deep into stoppage time to be denied three deserved points after a dominant second-half display at Downsview Park.

After being told that three minutes overtime would be played Richmond Hill's Alex Eason levelled on a breakaway a full 33 SECONDS after the allotted time was up.

Yet Head Coach Martinho Kibato knows his side only had themselves to blame after Ethan Thorogood cleverly slid them in front and he sighed: "We have to learn to manage those situations and stop attacks at that stage of the game.

"I felt for our guys, though, because they put so much effort into a game against a side who have been a bogey team for them this season." 

CEINWYN'S ATTITUDE IS HARD TO BEAT-TIE

GIRLS UNDER-14 WEST

OAKVILLE...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

CAPTAIN Ceinwyn Beattie has been leading by example for the Nitros 04 Girls this season and this game was a shining illustration of that.

Ceinwyn scored and impressed throughout as Nitros grabbed a point at Pine Glen and she drew praise from Head Coach Ilya Orlov for her performance.

Ilya said: "Ceinwyn has been great. She is the captain and leads by example. She is consistent at the back and is able to match up against the top players in the league in 1v1 situations.

"She is working hard to improve her technical and tactical understanding to build out of the back as we always want to try to start play from the centre-backs and into midfield but overall I am very happy with her."

This one saw striker Enoyaa Acheampong net another two goals in what has become an excellent break-out campaign for her.

Coach Ilya believes a switch in position has been a big key to that and he said: "Enoyaa has been improving throughout the season. When I first came in she was playing on the wing but we moved her into the #9 position up top.

"She is always a threat in behind with her speed and is able to occupy the opposition's centre backs. When she gets in-behind she is always a threat on goal and is able to score around the penalty area. She is working hard to improve her ability to hold the ball up and link play with the midfielders."

There have been some tough days for this squad this season but coach Ilya sees real endeavour and improvement when they turn in displays like this.

And he reasoned: "The goal this season is to keep improving, that's all we talk about. We want to improve the players' technical ability and game understanding in the phases of the game.

"The one thing that I am have been happy about is the players are not afraid of taking on challenges. They try to build out the back and when it doesn't work they try again. We just want to keep improving and keep building a winning and competitive mindset."

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4 BURLINGTON...0

Match report to follow

MEG STARS IN THE LATE SHOW

GIRLS UNDER-17 RED

WHITBY...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

MEGHAN McKYE scored a priceless winner five minutes from time to get Nitros out of jail after a string of missed chances threatened to haunt them on the road at Whitby.

The in-form striker's latest goal was a huge relief for coach Marko Milanovic who has seen his side's struggle to have their finishing match the quality of the build-up play become a factor in an excellent season.

Coach Marko stressed: "I was pleased with the performance as we must have created eight to 10 great scoring opportunities. However, lack of quality and concentration in front of the net almost led us to losing the points.

"Meg bailed us out with a great goal in the 85th minute and the win was deserved but it could've have been very different."

KEYOSHA PUSHES CANADA CLAIMS

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...1

KEYOSHA DONKOR terrorised a tough OSU defence as title-chasing Nitros edged to another crucial win at a blustery Downsview Park. 

The brilliant wing-back has been in superb form all season long and Head Coach Marko Milanovic believes that should see her being looked at now in the highest of company.

Coach Marko reasoned: "Keyosha was outstanding again as she has been throughout the season. In my opinion, she is the best full-back in Ontario and deserves to get a look for the U17 national team.

"It was difficult for us to to play here without an established GK as Sierra Cote-Yarde got injured in the opening minute of the game and we had to ask our striker Meghan McKye to step in again."

With Donkor sparkling in her lead-up work, though, Nitros grabbed the win with superb goals from Olivia Bizzoni and Nicola Golen countered by an OSU strike from the alert Katherine Chadwick who pounced on a short backpass to net.

Marko confessed: "The performance wasn't great in truth but the girls competed hard and I was very pleased with that. Nicky and Bizzoni scored nice goals and they are more than capable of that on a regular basis."

STRIKERS SPARKLE BETWEEN THE STICKS!

GIRLS UNDER-17 RED

RICHMOND HILL...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

WITHOUT injured keeper Sierra Cote-Yarde strikers Chantelle Parker and Meghan McKye played a half each and kept clean sheets as Nitros took another big step towards the title at Richmond Green West.

Goals from the aforementioned McKye and in-form Olivia Bizzoni secured another three points for Marko Milanovic's side and left the Head Coach delighted with the squad's resilience ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend break.

Marko stressed: " I was very pleased with the performance as we controlled most of the game. Chantelle and Meg played a half each in net and did a great job. 

"Now the girls can go into the long weekend on a high. We will continue to work hard as we prepare for the last month of the season and more importantly the CASL showcase event at the end of November. "

WEEK TWENTY

THURSDAY THRILLS AS CHAMPS WIN AGAIN

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

VAUGHAN...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

ANOTHER title started to loom large as Nitros won a Thursday night thriller at McNaughton Turf.

Goals from De'know Barrow, Abdul Hamad and Daniel Casa saw the champions edge as Jordan Pappas and Brian Pane struck back for the home side.

Head Coach Marko Milanovic heaoed praise on his strikeforce afterwards saying: "This was another tough game against one of the best teams in the league.  After 0-0 at half five goals were scored in a realy exciting second-half.

"Dondon and Abdul were both excellent up front and Daniel scored a great goal from outside of the box."

ON THE BRINK OF ANOTHER TITLE

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 RICHMOND HILL...1

CHAMPIONS Nitros are just one point away from a successful defence of their title and three in a row after their fourth game in eight days once again ended in triumph.

Midfielders Tadija Vukas and Pablo Hempelmann were the men who mattered this time with the goals and now Head Coach Marko Milanovic's boys are on the brink of a remarkable achievement and three titles on the spin.

Marko stressed: "This was another good performance against a physically tough team in Richmond Hill.  We missed a lot of chances but were able to find the target twice to secure another win. 

"We now need one more point to win the league again which was our main team goal this season."

PANAITE POUNCES BUT NITROS FALL JUST SHORT

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...2

NITROS were hit by a late sickener from Khalen Gidda to fall to a sore defeat after battling well following the red card for defender Nicolas Caramico that left them down to 10 men.

Caramico was dismissed for a second yellow after Adrian Panaite's brilliant equaliser quickly cancelled out a free-kick from Ethan Stroud that sent the visitors in front in the 37th minute.

Head coach Octavian Ghidanac sighed: "In the past two games against TFC and then OSU our team did much more than the opponent.

"The results of the games don’t really reflect our effort and performance on the field. 

"I don’t look to quantify the number of mistakes in the games as they happen regardless, however, we have to admit that due to the individual mistakes in those two games we have gifted the opponents a win."

The boys will keep battling in the games that remain to find a chink of light in the chase for the play-offs in a tight division.

YAYA SHINES AGAINST THE LEADING LIGHTS

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 WOODBRIDGE...5

ENOYAA ACHEAMPONG grabbed her 13th goal of an impressive season in the high spot of a testing afternoon for gutsy Nitros against Canada's no.1-rated team.

This was always going to be a tough assignment for the 04 Girls who are in the midst of a big education season in OPDL and an Ella Ottey double and goals from Francesca Famele, Anaya Johnson and Jaelyn Riley secured their dominance.

Stand-in coach Marc Maunder stressed: "The girls defended so well in the main and just made some basic errors to give away cheap goals against a very strong team.

"I was very proud of their effort, though, in the last quarter of the match - which they tied 1-1 - and it was great to see YaYa get that goal because the girls deserved it for the energy they put in for us."

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 RICHMOND HILL...3

Match report to follow.

GOAL ACE McKYE CATCHES THE EYE

GIRLS UNDER-17 

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

MEGHAN McKYE earned praise from head coach Marko Milanovic as she netted a crucial winner in a tough contest away to a testing Hamilton side.

Strike star Meg is now at nine goals for the season, the same mark as team-mate Lauren Hart and two behind their fellow front player Chantelle Parker as Nitros occupy the top three slots in the goalscoring charts in this division.

That form has impressed coach Marko who said: "Meg scored the goal and she has been on a nice scoring streak lately.  She is becoming a very unique front player when it comes to the female game. 

"She is good in the air, can play back to goal and now is getting better finishing around the net.

"This was a tough game since we were coming off a loss to OSU and we hadn't been playing great soccer. 

"The girls showed great character in this game and found a way to get the job done. Hamilton are big, physical and aggressive and they're a difficult team to play against."

WEEK NINETEEN

NOTHING DOING AT THE BRIDGE

BOYS UNDER-17 CENTRAL

WOODBRIDGE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NITROS tied once more with big rivals Woodbridge but this time it was a stalemate after the teams had shared eight goals in the corresponding fixture.

Head Coach Martinho Kibato said: "The boys have brought great focus to a lot of the games in recent weeks and I am happy that they are developing as players.

"One of the big lessons they will take from this season is game management and how you try to maximise what you take from each match in terms of points."

FLANKS VERY MUCH, ROBBIE

BOYS UNDER-17 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 AURORA...2

TOP SCORER Robbie Russo's seventh goal of the season helped keep Nitros in the play-off picture as an improving Aurora took the home side to the brink in this one.

Goals from Kyle Wimmer and Daniel Malaj hlped clinch three crucial points and afterwards coach Martinho Kibato paid tribute to Russo's versaility as he learns a new role at wing-back in the 3-5-2 system.

Head Coach Martinho said: "I feel that before we changed out tactical shape this season we perhaps only saw Robbie as a striker.

"We have worked on his game awareness, though, and he is growing well into the wing-back role which has to be one of the big aims here. To help them develop into more rounded players."

 JAYLEN DRUMS IN A DOUBLE

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...5 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...1

CHAMPS Nitros started a crucial week with a bang as Jaylen Drummond struck twice at Downsview Park to send them on the way to a resounding win against dangerous OSU.

This was the start of a manic period of fixtures for Head Coach Marko Milanovic's side and goals from Abdul Hamad, De'kwon Barrow and Dennis Escobar adorned a match that saw the visitors' only counter come from Jaeden Mercure.

Marko reflected: "Jaylen has been a very important piece for us this year and last.  He's a crafty attacking player who is still developing physically but has the ability to create and score himself.  The result was great as we see OSU as one of the top teams in the age group."

SWEET 16 AS DONDON TOPS THE SCORING CHARTS

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 AURORA...0

DE'KWON BARROW'S two goals in another big win for the 03 boys took his season's tally to 16 and put him on top of the OPDL scoring charts for this division.

Dondon has assumed the mantle of becoming the team's main goal threat after last season's strike star Hugo Mbongue graduated to sign for Toronto FC.

This, though, was a far more difficult mission than expected and Head Coach Marko Milanovic stressed: "Aurora was a much tougher game than anticipated as we beat them 11-1 in the first meeting. 

"We scored both goals in the stoppage time and easily could've lost as Aurora had a good opportunity towards the end of the game.  Dondon is in great form and he's showing what we saw in him from the start. 

"He's been our most consistent goalscorer so far and I'm looking forward to seeing how good he can get."

ADELE STRIKES BUT 04 GIRLS EDGED 

GIRLS UNDER-14 WEST

BURLINGTON BAYHAWKS...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

MACY CLEMENTS' double for the home side edged out Nitros on the road as they fell to a narrow defeat.

Head coach Ilya Orlov has seen the compete factor rise in his side but they just couldn't find a way to glean a point from this tight encounter.

Adele Furman was on target for the Nitros in a good learning game for the squad.

A TALE OF THREE COMEBACKS

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 AURORA...2

BATTLING Nitros recovered from 2-0 down after just 10 minutes to claim a point but walked away thinking they could have had all three.

The team fashioned one comeback and Montana Wilcox and Quinton Tostevin two others as they returned from injury setbacks.

Elena Calderwood's free-kick and a comeback goal from Montana Wilcox after a long injury lay-off sealed a share of the spoils in a hard-fought draw. 

The defending champions have tied six of their 16 league matches this season but Head Coach Marc Maunder insisted: "We tied just as many matches last season, the big difference is that we just did not lose and this year we have had four losses which is tough for us to take

"I felt, though, that this draw was huge for us because we were two down so early, we conceded direct from a corner then a horrible own goal.

"It was great to see Montana score on her return and we then hit the post twice before the end of the half through Nia Wilson and Elena again with another free-kick. 

"We lost Emma Mazzei to concussion before half-time which left us at one substitute which I had to use to bring Montana off 10 mins into the second-half.

"A huge bonus was that Quinton Tostevin  played out the second-half brilliantly after her return from ACL surgery, that was so positive for us."

WEEK EIGHTEEN

JAYDEN SHINES ON DAY OF FRUSTRATION

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

TORONTO FC...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

JAYDEN MENDOZA turned in a superb show at full-back as Nitros battled back from the loss of a tough early goal against TFC to dominate but still be edged out on a frustrating day at the MLS club's training complex.

Piercarlo Arghittu forced home the opener for TFC but it was the visitors who then took a grip of the game and the result was a hard one to take for Head Coach Octavian Ghidanac.

He said: "There was a scrambled ball in our six yard box that they poked home and in my eyes the goal was contrary to the course of the game.

"After that setback the boys kept the pressure on them for the entire game despite the tough psychological moment after the goal.

"The goal gave TFC something to grab onto and they adopted defensive tactics in a compact manner. Despite our boys' efforts whether they stopped our actions, or our inspiration in the final third wasn’t at its best, we couldn’t capitalise on any of the chances that we had.

"As a team I would like to mention the resilience we showed after conceding a soft goal early in the game. Individually? Jayden Mendoza was very active and involved on our right flank . 

"As a full-back he was tough to beat and in an attacking sense he made multiple forward runs forward and had a big impact."

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH..THE TOUGH GET GOING

SOCCER TENNIS KINGS...Daniel Casa (far left) and Dennis Escobar (far right) were both on target at Whitby. They spend hours honing their skills on the soccer tennis court during our fun-filled Academy weeks at Eglinton Park and Sunnybrook

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

WHITBY...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...5

SOMETIMES top teams are measured by how they react to setbacks - Nitros 03s Boys are doing that in the correct manner right now.

Gutted by losing out in the Ontario Games Final to Oakville, the response in the league has been excellent with another terrific win on the road at Whitby on Sunday as goals from Tadija Vukas, Kael Dimitrov, Dennis Escobar, Daniel Casa and Ben Atkinson secured all three points.

Head Coach Marko Milanovic stressed: "We are very thankful that we don't experience losing very often.  However, when we do, we always try to learn something from the experience and come back even stronger and more motivated.

"Both the players and myself are happy to be a part of this group and we look forward to the next challenges.This performance was a true team effort where every player who stepped on the field contributed.  Having five different goalscorers is a reflection of that team accomplishment."

Nitros are chasing an incredible record of three OPDL titles on the spin but coach Marko insists the boys focus solely on the goal of becoming better players within the program.

He pointed out: "We will do everything that's in our power to win the league again.  It would be a great accomplishment considering the quality of the 2003 age group.

"To be honest, though, we're not thinking too much about the end goal but instead focus on day to day stuff and trying to improve. "

LEADERS LEFT HANGING ON IN HAMILTON

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

UNBEATEN league leaders Hamilton had to scrap all the way for their latest win at Heritage Green on Saturday as Nitros fought tooth and nail to try and stay in the play-off picture.

One moment of defensive slackness allowed Milio Philopater to burst off his midfield markers and finish off a slick move to give the home side a 21st minute lead.

Yet Nitros pushed a strong and creative side all the way with keeper Patricio Hempelmann pulling off a stunning penalty save in the closing stages.

In the end with NT refusing to lie down it was the home side who were happy to hear the final whistle.

Coach Martinho Kibato said: "We came on strong in the second-half against a very good team and Cailan Robinson was outstanding, driving us forward from midfield.

"We had a lot of good performances on the day, this was always going to be an extremely hard fixture given their record in the league but in the end we left so disappointed that we didn't take something from the game."

04 GIRLS ON STEEP LEARNING CURVE

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...7

NITROS' Head Coach Ilya Orlov believes his team can only learn from rough days at the office like this one as a strong Hamilton side laced with Provincial players triumphed.

This season has been a story of gradual improvement to date with some tough learning experiences such as this against the division's leading teams for a developing squad.

Coach Ilya stressed: "We came up against a very good Hamilton team with some Provincial players in their ranks. The lesson for the players is to keep working hard and keep improving.

"There will be tough games against good teams in the future so this is a good lesson on how to deal with playing against top teams and the work ethic needed in these types of games both as a unit and also individually going forward to get to the next level."

MAZZEI MAKES HER POINT

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

WHITBY...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

MAKESHIFT winger Emma Mazzei grabbed the equaliser to cancel out an Emilee Duncan opener for the hosts as defending champions Nitros battled to a point at the Whitby Soccer Centre.

This season has been a story of a catalogue of injuries at times for Head Coach Marc Maunder's Ontario Games winners and Devon Eisen was the latest to suffer as she went off with a suspected concussion after playing a key role in creating the leveller for NT.

Coach Marc admitted: "The last three games have been a stretch for us but overall I was really happy with this performance.

"We lost Devon this time after just 25 minutes with that suspected concussion as she assisted the equaliser, this was a big loss considering we only had Nia Wilson and Devon of our full-time forwards available. 

"Emma Mazzei did a great job in the first-half out wide and scored the goal, Zara was a stand-out at centre-back and Jessica Collantes showed everyone why she is so highly rated, we hit the post and the crossbar but it was not meant to be,

"To balance our chances our keeper Sierra Cota Yarde also pulled off a top save tipping a header onto the post to keep the game at 1-1."

MISSED CHANCES HAUNT THE CHAMPS

GIRLS UNDER-17 RED PLAY-OFF DIVISION

OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

MEGHAN McKYE and Lauren Hart were both on the mark again but it was the chances SQUANDERED that Nitros left the George Nelms Fields cursing as they were edged out in Ottawa.

A Madeleine Albright double and a strike from Victoria Miller gave play-off division leaders OSU a crucial win and Head Coach Marko Milanovic believes his side paid a costly price for a sloppy start on their travels.

Marko explained: "The team started very flat physically and allowed a very motivated opponent to dominate first 20-25 minutes of the game.

"After conceding two goals in the first 20 minutes, we finally started playing our brand of soccer and quickly took control of the match.  We came back to tie the game at 2-2 and in the process missed numerous chances.

"Then there was a late scramble in front of our net and that resulted in OSU's third goal.  We created another two good chances in the dying minutes but couldn't score.

"We will do everything we can to improve our efficiency in front of the net.  We have to because I feel that despite being the highest scoring team in the league, we could easily have 40-50 goals this season."

WEEK SEVENTEEN

DE'KWON GETS A DOZEN UP

BOYS UNDER 15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS....4 VAUGHAN...1

DEADLY De'kwon Barrow scored twice to take his season's haul to 12 goals as he chases Oakville rival Mauro Lulli for the division's top scorer plaudits.

Yet more importantly this was a big win against a top rival for the clubs's 03 Boys.

Abdul Hamad and Justin Santos were also on target in a dominant display from Head Coach Marko Milanovic's side.

Marko said: "We were excellent against a side I see as our biggest rivals,  we got to 3-0 up and they got back to 3-1 and gave us some scares.

"Our keeper Samim Shouly made a big save at 3-1, we kicked one off the line and then we closed the game out really well."

To underline the champions' dominance in the Central Division at this age group, Nitros are now 13 points cleat of Vaughan in the standings as they chase three titles on the spin.

ON THE TREATMENT TABLE...Nicola Golen (left) missed out against Richmond Hill Picture courtesy of Ontario Soccer

INJURIES TAKING A TOLL ON CHAMPS

GIRLS UNDER-17 RED PLAY-OFF DIVISION

RICHMOND HILL...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

CHAMPS Nitros drew a blank as coach Marko Milanovic rued the loss through injury of key wide players Keyosha Donkor and Nicola Golen against stern opposition in a midweek clash at Richmond Green West.

Those who stepped in did an admirable job playing out of position but any side would miss the impact of two of their biggest attacking options.

Head Coach Marko stressed: "It was a good game, we had opportunities to win it but so did they. We had more of the ball but couldn't score and in truth we missed our wide players Nicola Golen and Keyosha Donkor who are both out injured.

"Keyosha has been one of our top players all year and you are always going to miss the influence of a player like that."

WEEK SIXTEEN

ABDUL AT THE DOUBLE AS NITROS HIT GOAL TRAIL

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

VAUGHAN...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...6

NITROS came through a rollercoaster match with that winning feeling after a thrill ride fixture at Dufferin.

Head Coach Octavian Ghidanac's side went two up then 3-2 down before storming back with four unanswered strikes - including a double from striker Abdul Hamad - that helped them score an emphatic win over big rivals Vaughan.

In a whirlwind start goals from Nicholas Caramico and new signing Dino Custiovic looked to have Nitros in command and Octavian reflected: "It was a very good performance, we started so well and the opener from Nicholas Caramico set the tone for a momentum that we kept for much of the match.

"Dino Custovic is now settling into the set-up and he was one of our impact players in this match scoring an excellent goal from a tight angle.

"We relaxed to allow Vaughan back into it at 2-2 and when we went 3-2 down you wondered how the boys would react as I knew Vaughan would now have the momentum.

"Yet we recovered quickly and started to create the chances that would see us win the game comfortably in the end and it was a game to be very satisfied with."

A double from Ryan Campbell and goals from De'kwon Barrow and Evan Jardim set the seal on a stirring comeback as Nitros stayed firmly in the play-off picture.

ROBBIE IS MR VERSATILITY

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

VAUGHAN...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

NITROS top scorer Robbie Russo took his tally for the season to six goals with the double that downed Vaughan for the second time in four days, this time on their home field at McNaughton Turf.

Jason Squeo was on target for the home side but it was razor-sharp Robbie who was the hero for the visitors with two more crucial goals in a big week for Head Coach Martinho Kibato's side.

Martinho said: "We have asked Robbie to adapt to a wing-back role when he is more accustomed to playing at striker and he has reacted very well, giving every ounce he has to the new position.

"We have felt within the camp that before this that our performances weren't getting the rewards we believed we deserved at times so two wins on the spin is a big lift for the boys."

DIADJE'S HARD WORK IN TRAINING PAYS OFF

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 VAUGHAN...0

DIADJE TRAORE found his feet quickly as he stepped into the OPDL action to net a superb double in an excellent win over big foes Vaughan at Downsview Park.

Robbie Russo nabbed the other goal and coach Martinho Kibato was delighted for call-up Diadje as he showed what he is capable of on the Provincial stage.

Martinho stressed: "All season Diadje has been improving his stamina and his skills in training and it was great to see him get a chance in a game like this and take his goals so well.

"We will keep working to improve him within the squad but his performance here was a big boost for everyone in a key match."

ENOYAA IS A TOP 10 HIT

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...1

NITROS' top scorer Enoyaa Acheampong scored twice to take her season's tally to nine and march into the Top 10 in the goalscorers' standings for this division.

In what has been a big learning season for Ilya Orlov's side this is no mean achievement and Simona Busillo was also on target in what was a heartening win at University of Toronto in Scarborough.

Jessica Drake countered for OSU and Head Coach Ilya had praise for his in-form striker pointing out: "Enoyaa has been playing well, she moved positions to striker from the wing and her pace has gotten her in behind the opposition's back line.

"As a result of that she has been creating chances and scoring goals."

A BIG ASK NOW FOR THE CHAMPS

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

VAUGHAN…2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS…0

CHAMPS Nitros were left with a mountain to climb in their title defence after a midweek defeat at big rivals Vaughan on McNaughton Turf.

In a fiercely-contested match table-topping Vaughan were the more clinical side and coach Marc Maunder knows that a nine-point gap to their rivals - even with a game in hand - is a big ask now.

He said: “I couldn’t fault our performance or our attitude, it was probably one of our better games in terms of possession of the ball.

“I was happy but we conceded an early goal and a setpiece and, whilst it’s not impossible to win this title now, it is not in our hands any more.

“Vaughan are a good side who I think will be motivated and I don’t think they will relax, someone will need to put in a good performance to beat them.

“We also have to go in against Whibty, Aurora, Unionville and Vaughan and then we have Richmond Hill who we tied with last time.

“We have Burlington and Hamilton too so it is not an easy run-in.”

McKYE'S GOT AN EYE FOR GOALS

GIRLS UNDER-17 RED PLAY-OFF DIVISION

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...1

MEGHAN McKYE scored twice as as Nitros got the business end of the season off to a winning start and edged out tough rivals to take all three points.

The three top scorers in this division now wear Nitros colours with Chantelle Parker on 11 and Lauren Hart and Meghan now both on nine strikes for the campaign.

Head coach Marko Milanovic told ntsoccer.com: "It was a good win when you take into consideration the fact that we were missing Lauren, one of our top strikers, who was on vacation.

"The scores are reset after the first part of the season so essentially this was like the first game of the new season in effect.

"The top five are now in the top tier and to my eyes that's the way it should be across the board."

WEEK FIFTEEN

HEARTBREAK FOR THE WALKING WOUNDED

GIRLS U15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS…1 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED…2

INJURY-CURSED Nitros fell to a heartbreaking last-gasp Sunday defeat at University of Toronto in Scarborough.

An already stretched squad was taken to the limit when the division’s top scorer Madeleine Penman-Derstine limped out of the action early.

She was followed by Provincial centre-half Olivia Mancini and then rock-solid defender Elena Calderwood yet still Nitros came so close to a terrific result against a very powerful rival.

Coach Marc Maunder sighed: “It was a really good performance considering we lost the leading goalscorer in the league after 15 minutes.

“Then we lost our Provincial centre-back and a player who has been called up to REX twice right after that.

“On the heels of that we lost Elena Calderwood, who has been one of our most consistent players this season, through heat exhaustion.”

Alexis Machado was on target for NT but Ainslie Bratus notched for OSU and then left Nitros bereft with the late clincher.

Coach Marc stressed:  “We only had one full-time player on the bench alongside Rachel Turnbull from our 2002 CSL team and three of our U14 girls who had already played 60 minutes.

“I thought they were coming on our bench just to fill it but the losses meant we had to use them and they were tremendous for us against such as accomplished side as OSU.”

WEEK FOURTEEN

EVAN SHINES AND NITROS ARE FIVE ALIVE

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...5 AURORA...0

EVAN JARDIM smashed home a deadly hat-trick and Ryan Campbell struck twice as Nitros stayed bang in the hunt for their divisional title with a comprehensive Sunday win at the Indoor Soccer Centre in Vaughan.

Striker Jardim took his tally for the season to 13 as he buried the frustration of not netting in the previous clash with Aurora a week earlier and it was a joy day too for midfielder Campbell against his old club.

Happy head coach Octavian Ghidanac said: "Unlike the previous week, when we had caused ourselves unnecessary problems and needed a double penalty save to prevent a nervy end to the game, this was a far more controlled performance.

"We dominated the match from start to finish and the boys could be happy with how they played."

SORE DAY AS THE UNION GO ON STRIKE

GIRLS UNDER-14 EAST

UNIONVILLE...7 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

AFTER some encouraging displays in recent weeks Nitros 04 girls slid to their second defeat on the spin against a strong Unionville side.

It was a rough day for new head coach Ilya Orlov's team as they failed to cope with the physicality and pace of their rivals.

Goals from Ashley Delahey (2), Dominique Robinson (2), Alexis Campbell, Gabrielle Kunde and Leanna Chung saw the Union to all three points.

The only bright spots for Nitros came from goals notched by Ceinwyn Beattie and in-form striker Enoyaa Acheampong and coach Ilya said: "We have made some progress as a team but we still have a whole lot of work to do on the training field to make us harder to beat."

WEEK THIRTEEN

SPOT-ON RONAN EASES THE NERVES

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

AURORA...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4

KEEPER Ronan Woodroffe was at the centre of some late drama at Stewart Burnett Park as he saved a penalty only to go through the pain of an ordered retake before hurling himself to his right AGAIN to stop Felix Huang's powerful shot for the SECOND time.

That kept Nitros 3-1 ahead and in the driving seat for Derrick Londono to secure all three road trip points from the penalty spot.

In truth, though, Nitros should never have seen themselves bothered with such worries as they were 3-0 and apparently cruising after just 21 minutes.

Ryan Campbell scored on his return to his old club, forcing home a Nima Khadaii corner, before provider Khadaii turned predator to take control and stab home the second after a beautiful crossfield ball from Adrian Perez.

Justin Jamal's physical presence at a corner saw him power home the third and  it seemed this would be a routine win for Octavian Ghidanac's title-challenging side.

Yet the excellent Huang curled home a free-kick and when Aurora were awarded a penalty it could so easily have been 3-2 and all to play for without Woodroffe's heroics before Londono sealed it.

Coach Octavian said: "We started the game really well and looked sharp, the boys had spent the week in Academy and had a good week. They seemed to be taking their training ground form into the match.

"Yet in the second-half we were sloppy, we got tired and we look like a team coming in off the OPDL break so there are lessons to be learned."

04 GIRLS DRAW A BLANK

GIRLS UNDER-14 EAST

MARKHAM...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NITROS' revival in this division hit a bump in the road away to Markham as they slid to defeat at Mount Joy Turf on Saturday afternoon.

Goals from Samantha Aube and Kiara Douglas gave the home side all three points as the recent upturn in results under new Head Coach Ilya Orlov took a setback.

WEEK TWELVE - THE ONTARIO GAMES

THE GOLDEN GOLEN

    THAT WINNING FEELING...Nicola Golen turns away in joy after snapping up a rebound to make it 2-0 in the Final

GIRLS UNDER-15 OPDL CUP FINAL

OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

NICOLA GOLEN'S double helped clinch the OPDL Cup for Nitros as this focused U15 squad added another trophy to their mounting tally of silverware.

It was Nitros who settled first and when a corner sparked havoc in the OSU box the predatory Madeleine Penman-Derstine did enough to force the opener over the line.

In a tight and tactical Final setpieces would prove vital and Golen capitalised on a rebound from a free-kick for her first strike to send Nitros in two up at the break.

OSU, though, refused to lie down and accept defeat and created a nervy finish when Nibobile Dlamini dragged them back into it when she found space at the back post to get on the end of a late cross.

Reigning OPDL champions Nitros, though, are made of stern stuff and when the question was asked they found the answer. The tireless Jessica Collantes won possession near the goal-line and wriggled clear to calmly pick out Golen in space in the box.

What followed was calmness personified as Nicola took a touch then slammed home to seal the win, the gold medals and the OPDL Cup for Nitros.

* Ontario Games Finals photographs kind courtesy of Ontario Soccer

MPD'S AN MVP THEN NITROS EDGE VAUGHAN

GIRLS UNDER-15 OPDL CUP

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

OPDL top scorer Madeleine Penman-Derstine blasted into the spotlight at the Ontario Games with an opening game hat-trick that took her season's tally to 15 and gave Nitros the perfect start in London.

Afterwards delighted coach Marc Maunder reflected on a rock-solid beginning to the team's quest for the Gold Medal Game and said: "It was great for our defence and our keeper to rack up the clean sheet and we also managed to spread our minutes on the field throughout the squad.

"Everyone is loving the experience here and we move on now to our next challenge against the league leaders Vaughan."

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 VAUGHAN...1

GOALS from Alya Ruken and Nia Wilson secured a priceless victory over big rivals Vaughan as Nitros took a huge step closer to the Gold Medal Game in London.

Sabrina Fabiano countered for Vaughan but it was the reigning league champions who found the edge to clinch all three points and set up a closing match with Unionville that could see them involved in another glittering showpiece occasion.

NIA SPELLS DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR UNION

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 UNIONVILLE...0

NITROS stormed into the Gold Medal match at the Ontario Games with a comprehensive win over Unionville that featured a double from Nia Wilson.

Madeleine Penman-Derstine followed up her hat-trick against Hamilton United Elite in the opener with her fourth strike of the weekend to set up the big finale with Ottawa South United on Sunday morning.

Coach Marc Maunder said: "The girls keep producing for the club and I am a very proud coach tonight, now we start planning for the Final."

Nitros' defence is also in miserly form with just one goal conceded in their three games to date, a great foundation for any team to build from.


GUTTED NITROS EDGED OUT IN FINAL

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY...the dejected Nitros have to settle for silver but put in a superb effort in London

BOYS UNDER-15 OPDL CUP FINAL

OAKVILLE...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

DEFENDING OPDL title champions Nitros lost out in the Gold Medal match to an inspired Oakville at the North London Athletic Fields on Sunday.

It had been an energy-sapping journey to the Final for both sides but it was Oakville who reacted better to the demands of the big match and they surged in front in the tenth minute.

Adam Plitchtowski danced along the goal-line evading tackles and had time to pick his head up and select the pass for OPDL top scorer Mauro Lulli to slam home from close range.

The first goal in Finals can so often set a tone and that proved the case here with Nitros now chasing to get back into the match.

Four minutes from the break Oakville centre-back Yves-Michel Tcheuyap started a run deep inside his own half and broke through three tackles on the right side of the Nitros defence before exchanging a wall pass.

By now he had made 60 yards and was deep in the box to calmly take a touch and curl the second into the far corner.

A terrific goal from an offensive point of view but one that Nitros coach Marko Milanovic will examine in depth with his gifted squad.

Nitros now had a mountain to climb in the second-half and in the end Oakville had the organisation and desire to keep their clean sheet and win the Gold Medal match.

A setback then for a group of boys who have done so much to raise the profile of the Nitros both in Canada and the USA in recent seasons. Past experience tells us it is one this squad will bounce back from in the correct manner.

BIG WINS...AND CLEAN SHEETS FOR 03 BOYS

UNDER-15 BOYS OPDL CUP

NORTH MISSISSAUGA...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NOAH PEREIRA'S goal clinched an opening win in the Ontario Games for the OPDL champions as they set their sights on more silverware over what will be a hectic long weekend in London.

Nitros had rolled into the venue on Thursday morning with goalkeeper Samim Shouly fresh from another learning experience playing for the U17s side in their unfortunate 2-0 defeat at the hands of Toronto FC on Wednesday night.

With regular 02s no1 Patricio Hempelman in Europe for a showcase event Samim took over between the sticks and acquitted himself well before making the trip the next morning to join up with his team-mates for this Games opener.

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 BURLINGTON...0

NITROS' back three of Andrew Tenai, Thomas Maccarone and Antonio Tripodi drew praise from the watching Press pack as they racked up another clean sheet to keep their side on course for the Final.

Goals from Kael Dimitrov and the in-form De'Kwon Barrow separated the sides and Nitros now face their last group fixture with Ottawa South United on Saturday desperate to grab yet another win and make the Gold medal game on Sunday.

Both Final games will be streamed live on ontariosoccer.net and ntsoccer.com will update with a link should our sides make the showpiece matches.

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...1

Match report to follow.

WEEK TWELVE - THE LEAGUE STORY

A TALE OF FRUSTRATION AT TFC

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

TORONTO FC...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NITROS left the BMO Training Academy with a lot of plaudits but no points after an encouraging display and a string of missed second-half chances.

Coach Martinho Kibato's side lost first-half goals to Jacob Daum and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty against the MLS franchise but came in at the break bitterly disappointed as they had competed extremely well and missed open chances of their own.

That level of frustration grew after the interval as chance after chance went begging in 45 minutes of soccer that was dominated by the team in green.

Coach Martinho reflected: "The boys were heartened by how we played particularly in the second-half but the bottom line was we couldn't convert any of the big chances we created which was tough to take for them.

"I was proud of a lot of aspects of their play, though, and they feel themselves this was their best performance against TFC in the last two seasons." 

WEEK ELEVEN

GREEN MACHINE ON TROPHY TRAIL AGAIN

SILVER LINING...the Nitros U17s girls and technical staff with the OPDL Cup Picture courtesy of Ontario Soccer

GIRLS UNDER-17 OPDL CUP FINAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 VAUGHAN...1

NITROS added the OPDL Cup to their mounting pile of silverware after a controlled display in the Final at Ontario Soccer Centre that saw them ease home thanks to a Lauren Hart double and a second-half header from Meghan McKye.

The league title holders had the measure of their rivals from the off and moved in front when Hart stole into the box to guide home the first before pouncing on uncertain defending in the box to stab in her second as she continues a productive scoring spell.

After the break Nitros knew the next goal in the contest was vital and they got it as Maggie Sarmiento whipped in a superb free-kick and McKye darted across her markers to flick home a deft header.

To Vaughan's credit they refused to throw in the towel and a brilliantly worked free-kick saw Amanda Giordano rise above the NT defence to guide home a stunning header and give her side a glimmer of hope.

It wasn't to be, though, as Nitros showed great game management to see out the final 10 minutes and add the OPDL Cup to their growing list of accomplishments under Head Coach Marko Milanovic.

POINT TAKEN AT THE UNION

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

UNIONVILLE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

SUNDAY stalemate saw both sides stay second in their respective divisions as they look ahead to the second half of the season.

This was Nitros' fourth tie in 10 games this season with a 1-0 reverse at Central Division leaders Vaughan the only time the defending champions have tasted defeat.

Unionville, meanwhile, are chasing leaders Ottawa South United in the East rankings and both sides had to settle for a point.

Ahead of the trip to London for the Ontario Games head coach Marc Maunder said: "They are a physical side and such a tough rival to play against.

"We are still in the picture in the league and will be just three points behind Vaughan if we can win our game in hand. Next we concentrate on the Ontario Games and the challenges of three games in three days there to start with."

 AGGEE HITS HAT-TRICK AS 17s FIND SHOOTING BOOTS

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...6 MARKHAM...0

AGGEE ABONGO slammed in a second-half hat-trick as Nitros roared to a crucial win to stay in the play-off picture.

In many ways this 10-game season to date has been one of frustration for this first year U17s NT side with FIVE GAMES tied already.

A significant number of these matches could and should have been wins despite their rivals being bigger and more physical.

So this third win of the league campaign was hugely welcomed as the team look to keep alive their hopes of a top two finish.

The home side moved ahead after 12 minutes when the tirelesss Kris Klas saw a shot saved by the keeper and Christian Nadra pounced to head home his third goal of the season on the rebound.

Skipper Daniel Malaj made it two from the spot on the brink of the break and it was to be a second-half of dominance from coach Martinho Kibato's side.

Abongo's speed and physical presence was too much for Markham to handle and he bagged a treble - the pick of which was a cute header from a Klas cross as he became Nitros' top OPDL scorer on five goals.

Sub Khalid Ahmed rifled a cracker in off the post - after seeing an earlier even more spectacular blockbuster smack back out off the underside of the crossbar - to complete the rout.

Coach Martinho revealed: "We had some angry players on the bench who felt they should have started but that's how I want them to feel.

"They need to come on and make an impact and I would be worried if they were happy at not starting matches. We got a really positive response from those players.

"We still have much work to do as a team but it was good to see us back with a cutting edge at the business end of the pitch."

DE'KWON DOES THE TRICK

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

UNIONVILLE...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

LEADERS of the East met pace-setters in the Central at Bill Crothers Turf and it was honours even in a tight match on Sunday.

Terence Foster was on target for the home side with De'Kwon Barrow's ninth goal of the season keeping Nitros eight points clear of their nearest rivals at the top of the Central rankings.

Ahead of the team's trip to London for the Ontario Games head coach Marko Milanovic said:"After losing our main striker Hugo Mbongue to Toronto FC one of our challenges this season has been replacing him.

"De'kwon is growing in stature week by week and we are excited to see his development continue."

WEEK TEN

RYAN'S FLYIN' AS NITROS BOUNCE BACK

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

RICHMOND HILL...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...6

RYAN CAMPBELL struck twice as Nitros bounced back from disappointment against SC Toronto with a terrific road trip win at Richmond Green East.

Top scorer Evan Jardim moved to double figures for the season with his tenth of the campaign and Nicholas Caramico, Derrick Londono and Nima Khadaii were also on target as the goals flowed for head coach Octavian Ghidanac's side.

Campbell has been threatening to punish someone with his excellent attacking work in recent weeks without getting his rewards in front of goal but this time he found the killer touch.

And coach Octavian said: "Ryan gives every shred he has in every game and hadn't had the best of fortune in front of goal before this match.

"I was delighted to see him score twice because I feel he has deserved that for the hard work he is putting in to his development."

SAMIM LOCKS THEM OUT AS CHAMPS SHINE

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 BURLINGTON...0

NITROS shrugged off the hurt of their first league loss of the season to march 10 points clear at the top of their division with this win.

Keeper Samim Shouly racked up his fourth clean sheet of the campaign as goals from Kael Dimitrov and Pablo Hempelman gave the champions victory on the back of a midweek defeat from Woodbridge.

Head Coach Marko Milanovic was delighted with the reaction from his squad and he said: "The Woodbridge defeat hurt everyone and this is a not a team that loses a lot of matches.

"So you are always looking to see how they react and once again we were defensively solid and I liked how we controlled the game and picked our moments."

HILL HAUNT NITROS AGAIN

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 RICHMOND HILL..1

JERMAINE STRETTON-LEE'S clincher saw Nitros pay for a sloppy defensive start to the second-half of a tight encounter at Downsview Park.

In a tense, tactical match neither side was at their attacking best but it was the visitors who found the vital cutting edge to take all three points.

Nitros' only other league loss in this season when they have been plagued by too many ties came at the hands of the same opponents when they were defeated 4-0 in Guelph on OPDL Campus Weekend.

And coach Martinho Kibato confessed: "There have been times when we have not got what we deserved from games but this was a lacklustre display from us and the boys were frustrated with themselves.

"Richmond Hill are big rivals for a play-off slot with us but we still have games in hand to play and we are making progress as a team in some areas, we just have to find a solution to our problems in the final third."

THE HART OF THE MATTER

            FEEL THE FOUR-CE...Lauren Hart, third from left, celebrates one of her OPDL Cup Final strikes that came hot                  on the heels  of four goals in the defeat of Aurora that put Nitros back on top of the pile Picture courtesy of Ontario Soccer

GIRLS UNDER-17

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...8 AURORA...0

LAUREN HART struck four times as a watching Miami University scout tracked her progress from the bleachers in this dominant win for the champions at Downsview Park.

The tall striker was in excellent form in a big personal match for her with the pick of the goals a sizzling strike from distance as Aurora crumbled in the second-half.

Olivia Bizzoni, Maggie Sarmiento, Keyosha Donkor and the league's top scorer Chantelle Parker were also on target as Nitros edged back to the top of the division rankings.

Coach Marko Milanovic said: "This is a big season for all of the girls regarding their futures with schools looking at them and Lauren is in great form in front of goal right now.

"There was a telling variety in the type of goals she scored and it's good to see her attracting attention after the hard work she has put into her development." 

WEEK NINE

04 BOYS PAY FOR SLOW START

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS…0 SC TORONTO…2

NITROS paid the price for a sluggish start as they eventually fell to a Sunday defeat at the hands of rivals SC at University of Toronto Scarborough.

Goals from Luca Paina and Jordan Lemos-Alvarez gave the visitors all three points from a tight encounter.

Coach Octavian Ghidanac confessed: “We started so slowly and could have been two down in the first 10 minutes if it wasn’t for our goalkeeper Ronan Woodroffe.

“We improved after that and could have been two up as we missed one on one chances but we paid for that in the end.

“It was like two boxers waiting for the right punch and we got knocked out.

“A tie might have been a just result but we got caught with a penalty and a corner and that is frustrating.

“We have to learn to start at a faster pace than we did in this game and we couldn’t find an answer to their physicality.

“Add that to our sloppiness and you have a problem.”

THE DRAW THAT FELT LIKE A DEFEAT...

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS…4 TORONTO FC…4

DEJECTED Nitros threw away a three-goal lead to allow TFC to storm back for a share of the spoils in a Wednesday night thriller at the BMO Training Academy.

Adrian Perez grabbed a double for NT with Bilal Abou-Reslan and debut boy Dino Custovic also on target but they contrived to hurl away the lead with costly mistakes.

It was a draw that felt like a defeat in the end for Octavian Ghidanac and his frustrated players.

And the coach sighed: “We had some great moments in the match but we made individual errors at 4-1 and it is true to say that it felt like a defeat in the end. We gifted away the victory.

“They were unforced errors and it is hard to understand those moments at times.

“We did things that you just can’t legislate for as a coach but that is part of the learning curve for the players.”

Now the U-14 boys are desperate to get back on track with a tough trip to face division leaders Richmond Hill on Sunday.

That game will be another step towards full match fitness for new signing Dino who has moved over from SC Toronto.

And coach Octavian said: “TFC invited us to attack and we gradually got ourselves into it.

“Dino scored on his debut also and he will be even bigger player for us when he is 100 per cent match-fit.”

CHAMPS KEEP THE HOT STREAK GOING

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

RICHMOND HILL…0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS…3

NITROS gave a calm and controlled display to take the heat out of a dangerous rival on their own turf on a scorching Sunday at Richmond Green West.

Goals from Noah Pereira, De’kwon Barrow and Dennis Escobar secured the champions’s seventh successive league win and left coach Marko Milanovic satisfied with another good day at the office,

Coach Marko reflected: “It was really hot and we kept the ball very well and made them chase for a lot of the game.

“We scored a fairly lucky opener and that gave us a platform in the match.

“It was good to see Noah score as he is just back from an injury and it will boost his confidence.

“They are an athletic and well organised outfit and they are a team we have a lot of respect for so I was happy with the win.”

WOOD-BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

WOODBRIDGE…1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS…0

REIGNING OPDL champions Nitros fell to a rare defeat at Vaughan Grove on Thursday night despite putting in one of the best performances of their title defence so far.

After seven wins on the spin this loss will feel like a shock to the system for the all-conquering 03 Boys squad but coach Marko Milanovic believes the test now is how they react to it.

He reflected: “We just couldn’t score, there was a long break of half an hour after one of their players sadly suffered a serious injury.

“We had to wait for the ambulance to come and all of our best wishes are with Woodbridge and their player for a speedy recovery.

“With the lights at the field going out at 11pm after a 9pm kick-off, the coaches made a deal to play the last 10 minutes and not the  last 20 and after they scored we had little time to recover.

“That is no excuse for the defeat, though, it was just one of those games for us.”

One trademark of this flagship Nitros squad is their honesty in assessing their strengths and weaknesses as a group.

This time coach Marko was happy with the brand of soccer his players produced and he stressed: “The irony is we played better than we did in winning against Richmond Hill.

“Woodbridge fought hard, took the chance they had and they won.

“The measure now is how we react because everyone is upset, including myself!

“The most important thing is what we do now, that’s the measure of successful teams.

“We always think we are unbeatable but sometimes you have to drop a game even when you are better.

“It can be tough when you feel a result is unfair but soccer can be cruel like that.”

ABONGO TO THE RESCUE

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4 WOODBRIDGE...4

AHEAD three times, dragged back three times within minutes, then needing Aggee Abongo's late goal to rescue a point - it was one crazy afternoon for Martinho Kibato's U17 Boys at University of Toronto Scarborough last Saturday.

Nitros marched in front with a superb goal as Michael Kusha's brilliant cross was rifled home on the volley by Robbie Russo but it was a lead that lasted just three minutes as Jeremy Opong hauled the visitors level.

Striker Kris Klas' tireless chasing then set up Khalid Ahmed to put Nitros ahead but defensive sloppiness saw Nicholas Stoddart equalise before more pressing from Klas led to Kyle Wimmer putting the home 3-2 ahead at the interval.

Seven minutes after the interval Nitros made a wretched hash of dealing with a corner, though, and again Stoddart levelled before more defensive weakness saw Ryley Wishart-Stephen make it 4-3 for Woodbridge.

Yet the courage of the Nitros was then apparent as a stunning through ball from Cailan Robinson left Abongo racing in on goal to finish coolly and tie it all up.

Coach Martinho sighed: "We are often playing against older and more physical players this season and we have to remember that but the defensive mistakes in this one were frustrating for us.

"It was a crazy match but entertaining for everyone watching, as a coach though you look back and feel we gifted them three of their goals and that stings.

"Still I have to commend the boys for their courage in coming back at 4-3 down as it would have been easy then to feel sorry for ourselves."

CAILAN SHINES FOR THE DRAW SPECIALISTS

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

VAUGHAN...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NITROS secured their FIFTH tie in eight OPDL games this season as they were once again hauled back from a winning position at McNaughton Turf on Wednesday night.

Aggee Abongo was on target for the second game on the spin for Nitros but Matthew Mollicola drew Vaughan level and again Martinho Kibato's side had to be content with a point

Afterwards the coach was left to reflect on the positives of how an injury-hit side - still without top striker Asher Barnes who has a hip flexor problem - are giving every shred they have in matches.

Coach Martinho said: "With all of us in the group there can be frustration because we feel we have left points out there in matches.

"Yet we have a lot of positives like the performance of Cailan Robinson in midfield, he is becoming a real creative force for us.

"Our big learning point right now is how to manage a game of soccer and find ways to turn the draws into wins but I am satisfied with how hard the boys are working to do that."

 AWAY DAY BOOST FOR 04 GIRLS

GIRLS UNDER-14 EAST

WEST OTTAWA...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS....2

ENOYAA ACHEAMPONG grabbed the winner as Nitros 04 Girls racked up a confidence-boosting triumph on the road on the Wesley Clover Turf in Ottawa last Sunday.

The girls' hard work under the watchful gaze of new coach Ilya Orlov paid off with Ceinwyn Beattie also on target and coach Ilya admitted that he is on as much of a learning curve as his players are as the group looks to improve together.

Ilya told ntsoccer.com: “It was important for the confidence of the girls to get another win and they got it in testing hot conditions too.

“They have responded well in training, the vibe is very positive and they are very coachable as a group.

“It is different for me because this is my first girls team and I have to coach a little differently so I am learning while they are."

ENOYAA'S A TREBLE SHOOTER

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 RICHMOND HILL...2

NITROS coach Ilya Orlov's ploy of moving Enoyaa Acheampong from her attacking role wide into becoming the main striker is paying dividends as she bagged a midweek hat-trick in a five-goal thriller against Richmond Hill at Downsview Park.

Enoyaa's treble made it two wins on the spin for the 04 Girls as they begin to respond to working with coach Ilya who also guides the 06 Boys Pre-OPDL squad.

The Nitros coach revealed: “Enoyaa was playing wide when I came in but we have moved her to be the main striker and she is doing well.

“We are getting balls in behind defences for her pace and four goals in two games is an excellent stat.

“That is something we have been working on and it is rewarding to see the players put it into action in the games.

“We didn’t get a result in our first game together against Woodbridge but the two wins since then have been excellent and I am happy with the girls' desire to learn."

THE SPIRIT OF CHAMPIONS

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

RICHMOND HILL...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

BRAVE Nitros fought back from going two down within the opening 10 minutes to win what could be a crucial point at Richmond Green West.

Madison Gonyea and Tierra Garniss had the home side in pole position but Marc Maunder's girls showed the spirit of champions to battle into it in the second-half and they secured a share of the spoils thanks to goals from Madeleine Penman-Derstine and Devon Eisen.

Coach Marc reflected: “We were 2-0 down in 10 minutes, they had called down a Provincial striker and we knew how dangerous she would be.

“She was involved in both goals but we were a completely different team in the second-half.

“That point might be vital, it could win us the championship come the end of the season as this division is so tight at the top."

RUFINA AT THE DOUBLE

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 WOODBRIDGE...0

PROVINCIAL player Rufina Abdurusal showed her class as the 04 Girls call-up scored twice in the older age group in a dominant win for Nitros at Downsview Park on Thursday night.

Rufina's promise was all too apparent on an excellent evening for the champions after a tough week following the injury to key player Elizabeth White.

The performance was a tonic for the players and coach Marc Maunder who said: “We knew that Woodbridge would drop off and play us on the counter-attack but we had a plan to press them that worked well.

“That was probably one of our best performances of the last two years.

“Rufina is a Provincial player and she has shown that class and scored four goals in three games with us.

“Our holding midfielders Sophia Lucki and Jess Calentes were superb in the match and must have had more touches in the match than they have had all season."

WEEK EIGHT

POINT TAKEN...BUT WITH SOME REGRETS

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 WHITBY...0

NITROS left the Ontario Soccer Centre last Saturday with a creditable point against a powerful Whitby side but also knowing they could easily have stowed three in their kitbags.

The NT side - all 02 born players - were facing a team the bulk of whom are a year older and found it physically tough in the first-half with outstanding keeper Patricio Hempelmann staying big to make one brilliant save one on one with a Whitby attacker.

Yet after the break Nitros really took a grip on the match as their passing brand of play saw them fashion some excellent chances. The best of these saw a Daniel Malaj free-kick cause chaos in the box and when the ball broke down Michael Kusha hit the post from close range before Robbie Russo crashed the rebound off the bar and over.

The hard-earned point leaves the Nitros still well in the play-off picture as they have games in hand over all of their rivals following a three-week lay-off from action.

And coach Martinho Kibato reflected: "After our absence from action because of the schedule we have been given it was a good performance against a strong opponent.

"We were missing influential players in Spiros Beikiaris, Miles Omondi and Asher Barnes and the boys dug in well with Christian Nadra, in particular, outstanding in holding midfield role."

CASA'S TWO GOOD IN OAKVILLE CRUNCH

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL 

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 OAKVILLE..0

DANIEL CASA was hailed as the glue that binds the Under-15 OPDL champions together after he scored twice and made one in this impressive triumph at McMaster Alumni Field on Sunday.

The diminuitive wing-back was in brilliant form as the title holders racked up their sixth win on the spin to protect their 100 per cent record in the league.

Pablo Hempelmann scored from the spot to help seal another three points and coach Marko Milanovic said: "It was a repeat of last year's Final and the game opened up a little more after the break when it was 0-0.

"Daniel scored two from wing-back and assisted on the other by winning the penalty that Pablo converted. We switch to 3-5-2 from 4-3-3 a lot and I was delighted for Daniel because he deserves it.

"He is the glue of our squad and keeps us together both on and off the field. His goals were excellent and he was great, I was really happy for him.

"Without him we are not the same team, one of the hardest things to find as a coach is true character in a player and he brings so much of that to the group."

04 BOYS PUT DOWN A MARKER v MARKHAM

BOYS UNDER-14 EAST 

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4 MARKHAM...0

DERRICK LONDONO'S double and goals from Nicholas Caramico and Adrian Perez racked up three more points that put the Nitros in a strong title-challenging position in the 04s Division.

Coach Octavian Ghidanac was delighted with the intensity of the boys as they cruised to a dominant success at Ontario Soccer Stadium on Sunday night.

And he said: "I felt we were in control of the game from the first minute and we were never in jeopardy, we created lots of chances and didn't capitalise on as many as we would have liked.

"Yet we dominated our opponents and after the loss in our previous game we kept the ball better and didn't concede possession so much in our own half.

"I also felt we supported really well from midfield and Evan Jardim did well for us in link-up play and holding the ball up even though he didn't score on this occasion.

"Two of our goals came from us winning the ball high and I was pleased with that aspect of the match. We have games in hand on our rivals at the top of the league right now and we have to look to take advantage of that in the weeks to come."

WAKE-UP CALL FOR THE CHAMPS

GIRLS UNDER-17

OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

KATHERINE CHADWICK'S goal consigned the Nitros to their first defeat of the season at George Nelms Field in Ottawa on Saturday.

The reigning champs were knocked off top spot in the table and were left bitterly frustrated after a sore afternoon on their travels.

Coach Marko Milanovic sighed: "We started flat and under-estimated the opponent because we had beaten them 5-1 in the last game, we went 1-0 down and then started playing but couldn't score.

"We are creating tons of chances but we have been having problems finishing in the last month or so, still as long as we ate creating those chances I am confident that the goals will come.

"It was our first loss of the season and the girls were disappointed but it is better for it to happen now than later in the season."

SEARCHING FOR THAT FINISHING TOUCH

GIRLS UNDER-17

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 RICHMOND HILL..2

NITROS bounced back from the disappointment on the road in Ottawa with an improved display that sealed a home point at Downsview on Thursday night but they were still left walking away angry at missed chances.

Keyosha Donkor and Chantelle Parker were on target this time but right now the work in the final third of the field is the focus for improvement.

Coach Marko Milanovic said: "It was a good reaction to the loss in Ottawa and we created chances and got ourselves in front but then we made two individual mistakes within five minutes to fall behind.

"We then scored a great header from Chantelle to tie the game up but missed chances again and even when you are dominating games if you are not capitalising then that is going to be a problem.

"With finishing work in training it can come down to facilities, the right nets, the right space to do the sessions on this that you want to do.

"The hardest thing I find in female soccer is to score goals because true goalscorers are hard to come by. It's something that we have to work on.

"I find the final third attacking the toughest thing against the organised teams we face now, everything has to perfect from the movement to the timing to create and convert chances."

03 GIRLS GRIT IT OUT AFTER ELIZABETH SICKENER

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 OAKVILLE..0

THIS stalemate was overshadowed by an injury to Nitros' right-back Elizabeth White who faces fears that she has torn her cruciate ligament and is awaiting scans.

Her team-mates had to bury the distress of seeing her go down and fought on to win a point at McMaster Alumni Field.

Coach Marc Maunder sighed: “We only had 13 players as it was and Elizabeth’s injury happened within the first 10 minutes.

“She is our right-back and a huge player for us and the girls now had just one sub but the team responded brilliantly to what had happened to their team-mate."

TARGETS SET FOR 04s GIRLS

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

VAUGHAN...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NEW Girls Under-14s head Coach Ilya Orlov is just at the start of his work with his squad as they look to develop throughout this season.

This was always going to be a tough assignment for the girls and they fell to defeat as a strong Vaughan side took the points through goals from Maija Hodson, Stella Accettola and Elizabeth Pietrangelo.

UEFA A Licence coach Ilya - who is also Head Coach of the Nitros 06 Boys side who move to OPDL next year - took over the reins with the team after Henry McIntosh moved on from the club.

And Ilya stressed: "We have only just really started our work on how I would like to the girls to play in a system and the squad are applying themselves well.

"We are still in that period of getting to know each other and each mInute of every practice session is vital for these girls right now."

WEEK SEVEN

CHANTELLE HAT-TRICK AS NITROS HAVE FINAL SAY

GIRLS UNDER-17 OPDL CUP SEMI-FINAL

WOODBRIDGE...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...6

CHANTELLE PARKER'S hat-trick sparked a semi-final triumph that sent Nitros into the OPDL Cup Final against Vaughan on Saturday July 28.

The U17s striker heads the OPDL scoring charts with nine goals so far this season as the reigning champions now chase their first silverware of what is promising to be another sparkling campaign.

Coach Marko Milanovic saw Meghan McKye, Maggie Sarmiento and Keyosha Donkor also hit the target and he praised the work ethic of ALL his players insisting:  "I am pleased with the overall effort of the group. I think that most of the girls have realised how important this year is when it comes to achieving their individual goals and the effort reflects that.

"Areas of improvement? Our efficiency - by that I mean our conversion rate - in front of the net needs to be better as well as our defending in transition.

"This performance was good but not as good as the scoreline indicates.  I admired the way Woodbridge competed and fought for the majority of the match. There is still lots of room for improvement when it comes to my team."

Coach Marko believes that the end product he is now seeing from Chantelle is simply the logical reward for hard work on the training field.

He reasoned:  "The thing I admire about Chantelle the most is her professional attitude and her phenomenal work ethic.  Her goalscoring record is just a product of her consistent effort. Needless to say that I am pleased with her contribution and I am looking forward to more goals to come."

PABLO AT THE DOUBLE! 03 BOYS STAY TOP

RAINING CHAMPS...the 03 boys listen in during a sodden Sunday as coach Marko plots a vital win over Vaughan

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4 VAUGHAN...2

PABLO HEMPELMANN'S attacking prowess helped to seal a vital win for the league leaders against major rivals Vaughan but the team left Downsview on Sunday with a warning from coach Marko Milanovic ringing in their ears.

A dominant start to the match through Pablo's double and another strike from top scorer De'kwon Barrow, his seventh of the season, put the reigning OPDL champions in a commanding position but their focus slipped after the break.

Vaughan stormed back into it with goals from Matthew Vieira and Gabriel Poles but Nitros recovered their poise and Dennis Escobar's goal protected the 100 per cent league record once more.

So coach Marko's reflections on the match included praise for the ever creative Pablo but a demand on the squad to keep striving to reach the best level they can in every moment of every match.

He stressed: "Pablo is playing great soccer at the moment. He is a constant threat offensively because of his ability to create and his ability to finish. In addition to that, he can be very effective on setpieces.

"The other side of this match was that the players who came on at half-time took a long time to adapt to the speed of the game.  We made some uncharacteristic mistakes at the back and within the first 10 minutes of the second half it was 3-2. 

"This is definitely something that cannot happen moving forward. I see Vaughan as the biggest rival in our division. 

"However, the 2003 age group is quite strong overall.  Teams like Oakville, Unionville, Richmond Hill, OSU, Woodbridge, Hamilton and Burlington are all quality sides and we know the challenge we face."

PRAISE FOR RYAN IN TOUGH LOSS FOR 04 BOYS

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

VAUGHAN...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

LUCAS BASMADIJAN'S hat-trick for the hosts saw Nitros' three-game winning streak come to an end as they trudged from the McNaughton Turf on Sunday with nothing to show for their efforts.

For coach Octavian Ghidanac this was a lesson in how to deal with physicality for his boys as they couldn't match the edge Vaughan had in the compete factor.

Octavian - who saw Evan Jardim again on the scoresheet - reflected: "When you are playing Vaughan it’s a challenging game no matter what the circumstances are. 

"The effort was there for sure but we were less efficient in the attacking third on delivering the last pass.

"We met an opponent who approached the game very physically most of the time and the boys couldn’t find the answer to it. 

"Although the ball possession was there and we created several scoring opportunities they frequently fired long clearances to keep the ball away from their danger zone.

"For our strikers Evan and Derrick Londono it wasn’t their best day but if I have to mention one player who always seems to give everything on the field that is Ryan Campbell. 

"He’s a great kid and hopefully his effort on the field will pay off with a much-deserved goal in the coming weeks."

WEEK SIX

04 BOYS HIT THE TOP SPOT

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...6 AURORA...0

ON-FORM Nitros racked up their third win on the spin with a dominant display at University of Toronto in Scarborough at the weekend - and shot to the top of the Central Division rankings on goal difference in the process.

Adrian Perez set the ball rolling and Evan Jardim's double and a Derrick Londono hat-trick wrapped up an excellent matchday for Head Coach Octavian Ghidanac's side.

Nitros just wouldn't let up on their rivals in this one and coach Octavian enthused: "We were in control of the game from minute one when Adrian read the pass, intercepted the ball in the attacking third and scored with a precise shoot in the top corner of the net.

"If I had to highlight one aspect in this match it would be the boys' concentration to maintain a constant pressure throughout the game.

"In this particular game our attacking line, with great service from the midfield area, was a constant threat for the opposing defence. Obviously, I'm happy with our attacking mentality and hopefully this will be carry into the games to come."

The boys have this week been gearing up for the tough trip to face Vaughan on Sunday as they look to make it four wins in succession.

AURORA DOWNER ROUGH ON RUFINA

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

AURORA...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

PROVINCIAL player Rufina Abdurusal's solitary strike couldn't prevent the Nitros being edged out at Stewart Burnett Park on Sunday.

Seema Salam and Isabella Ahmed scored for the hosts and now the 04s girls will look to turn some positive performances into OPDL points in their next outing which is at home to United FA on Sunday.

CHAMPS ARE SIX-SHOOTERS

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

MARKHAM...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...6

GOAL-HUNGRY Nitros were set targets by Head Coach Marc Maunder during a week of intense training before this one - and they hit every one.

The reigning OPDL champs hit the goal trail with Madeleine Penman-Derstine leading the way with a hat-trick that takes her to the top of the OPDL scoring charts with 11 to her name already.

Jane Cobden, Nia Wilson and Devon Eisen also netted and coach Marc was full of praise for his focused squad as he revealed: "Honestly, the winning is nice but the performance on Sunday was so pleasing.

"The girls met individual objectives set for the game and the team took what we did all week in training and applied it, Markham in the end could not handle us. 

"Its nice for MPD to be top of the scoring charts because last season she started very quickly and then went quiet in front of net, she was creating chances and getting chances but did not score.

"This year it's been a great start for her and it has continued which is very positive and another great step forward from last year."

The 03s girls are constantly looking at ways to tweak what has been a successful formula to date when they work on the training field.

And coach Marc, whose side face league leaders Vaughan in a crunch clash this weekend, revealed: "All week we were talking about how we have to stop trying to force through from distance, instead find the front three feet and join in.

"We were so much closer so the certainty of finding space in behind with balls that the front three or attacking midfielders could reach increased.

"With the heat we were playing in, finding feet and not wasting energy was huge. For the first time this year my front line had energy right to the end of the game and this was key.

"We only had four front players available with Montana Wilcox missing again but all four scored and Devon also assisted on two goals so it was a very pleasing attacking display."

RARE SLIPS AND BLIPS AS 17s GIRLS ARE HELD

GIRLS UNDER-17s

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 WHITBY...2

TITLE-DEFENDING NITROS conceded their first goals and dropped their first points of the season - and coach Marko Milanovic insists they only had themselves to blame.

Disappointed Marko reckons the wounds were self-inflicted in terms of the goals lost in this one and he sighed: "With all due respect to our opponent, we were the ones that caused ourselves the most problems going down 2-0 in the first-half. Both goals came after silly mistakes playing out of the back. 

"We did create a number of opportunities but could only put away two of them through Chantelle Parker and Meghan McKye and we weren't able to get the result that we wanted."

New-look Nitros are in some ways a victim of their own success after last season with top players Sonia Walk - now shining for Canada's Under-17 CONCACAF squad - Olivia Smith and Jasmine Vilgrain all moving on to the Regional Excellence Program.

Marko, though, prefers to look on the positive side of that one but he admitted: "It's always going to be hard when you lose three major impact players.

"We all took it as a challenge and an opportunity, and I am happy with the way girls stepped up to fill the roles vacated by the REX players."

The Nitros squad have been receiving a huge amount of interest from NCAA schools, a process started last year after the UMBRO tournament in May which marked the beginning of their U15 season.

And Marko - gearing up for an OPDL Cup showdown with Woodbridge this weekend - revealed: "Since then, I don't think there has been a week where I haven't been communicating with NCAA coaches by email or phone.  It's great to see that the girls are getting recognition for their hard work.

"Two of them have committed and have received full scholarships.  The rest are narrowing down their choices and should be committing in the next six to 12 months."

WEEK FIVE

ENOYAA'S STRIKE NOT ENOUGH TO BREAK UNION

GIRLS UNDER-14 EAST

UNIONVILLE...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NITROS learned some defensive lessons at Rossland North on Saturday as an Alexis Campbell hat-trick gave Unionville all three points.

Enoyaa Acheampong struck back for NT but it wasn't enough on the day with coach Henry McIntosh insisting his squad will now improve on the aspects of the game that were highlighted as requiring work in this one.

Henry said: "Tackling technique, when to delay or press, control and restraint. These are all things we need to work on in a defensive sense.

"I love working with this group of girls, though, because they are both enthusiastic and competitive.They are hungry to learn.

"The positive aspects from the Unionville trip was the team were competitive and believed that they could be winners.

"I enjoyed how they kept possession and moved the ball in between and behind the defenders. Also, the fact that they recognised how the principles of play such as width, depth, support and mobility helped them to penetrate and create opportunities to score."

LONDON CALLING AS 03 GIRLS BRIDGE THE GAP 

GIRLS UNDER-15 OPDL CUP

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4 WOODBRIDGE...2

NITROS roared through to the Ontario Games in London in August - joining our 03 Boys squad - after an exciting tussle on the Soccer Centre Indoor turf last Wednesday night.

All of the Under-15 OPDL girls teams had to win a qualifier to make the prestigious showpiece in London after North Mississauga and Whitby gained automatic entry because they won the East and the West last season with more points than fellow divisional champs NTSC.

So coach Marc Maunder's side had to win this qualifier and now the six winners of these matches will join the two automatic picks with the eight clubs splitting into two groups of four.

These teams will play three sectional games in London between August 2-4 with the top sides advancing to a Gold Medal game or a Bronze Medal match on August 5.

It's a thrilling event to look forward to and goals from Madeleine Penman-Derstine (2), Jessica Collantes and Olivia Mancini helped gritty NT get there after they had been 2-1 down with Vanessa Mazzagatti and Cerrina Toromoreno putting Woodbridge in the driving seat.

After a dramatic midweek clash Marc reflected: "The key to winning the game was making sure we were alive to the long ball whenever Woodbridge were in possession or, more importantly, in transition as they dropped deep and looked to catch us out with balls over our back four.

"In all honestly we were awful at this at first. We deserved to concede and were maybe very lucky Woodbridge did not score a third off a long ball, our keeper Sierra Cota Yarde made a great save and they put one past the post when it looked easier to score. 

"Yet in the end to score four second-half goals was very pleasing from us for the third time this season and ultimately that was enough to put us through. We all know, though that it was not as easy as a 4-2 scoreline may suggest."

NITROS STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT BUT BANK A POINT

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

AURORA...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

A POINT gained, that was the verdict of coach Marc Maunder after a squad stretched to breaking point by injuries, school sports absences and exams emerged from Stewart Burnett Park with a clean sheet on Saturday.

Last season's champions NT were already challenged in their resources and had THREE injuries to key players during this one but still came away with a creditable result.

It left proud coach Marc to reflect: "That was, without doubt, one point gained. We missed some very good chances in the first-half and should have been up but to be honest Aurora dominated the second-half 

"We lost Nia Wilson in the first-half with a rolled ankle, then we lost Madeleine Penman-Derstine just before half and she played no more, then we lost Olivia Mancini with 20 minutes to go.

"Montana Wilcox, who is coming back from injury, had to play an hour so obviously in just her second game back she ran out of gas,"

Call-up players from coach Connor Bourne's White Team played excellent roles in keeping the Nitros in this one.

And Marc was philosophical about the result afterwards insisting: "Not having Sophia Lucki and Emma Mazzei because of school sports could have really hurt us this week but the girls who were available showed so much grit and determination.

"It was a huge team success to come away with a point. The positives?  The girls responded well to me putting them in so many different positions to help the team, the girls knew we had to all play our part as we were tired from Wednesday's Ontario Games qualifier, carrying little injuries and missing players. 

"This is the third clean sheet of the season and the fifth league game where we have not conceded a second-half goal."

Nitros came in to Week Five after a hurtful midweek defeat at title rivals Vaughan and emerged from it with a place in August's Ontario Games and an away point on the road at Aurora.

And Marc said: "The response has been great, obviously with exams and midweek games the training schedule has been a mess but the girls have turned up when I put a session on a normal off day so we could touch the ball before the Woodbridge game.

"Then they showed a great attitude coming in 1-0 down in an elimination game, they didn't panic especially after going 2-1 down in the second-half. The attitude and effort against Aurora was impressive and really tells a story about this group of girls."

ANOTHER WIN, ANOTHER CLEAN SHEET FOR 17s GIRLS

GIRLS UNDER 17

UNIONVILLE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

LEAGUE LEADERS Nitros continued their miserly start to the season as they racked up another clean sheet and another solid win at University of Guelph on Saturday.

Striker Meghan McKye had been deputising in net but the return of the team's regular keeper meant she was outfield as striker again and she celebrated with the opener before Olivia Bizzoni tied it all up.

Coach Marko Milanovic heaped praise on a team effort and highlighted the growing defensive record as he said: "We take a lot of pride in dominating possession and limiting the opponents to as few chances as possible.

"The team has defended well as a whole, starting with the front players and all the way back to our keepers.  Alanna Starcevic has been improving on a weekly basis and she has been solid at the centre of our defence.  We are keen to keep improving and growing."

McKye revelled in her move out of net to take her normal spot up front and her coach reckons she has been missed up there.

Marko smiled: "Meg was very excited with the return of our goalkeeper Sloane.  That meant that she could step out of the net and contribute up top, where she's much needed.

"We've had some time now to adjust to losing three of the more dominant players in the league to the REX program.  It's a work in progress but we're definitely happy with the start of the season."

BOYS UNDER-17

RICHMOND HILL..4  NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 WEST OTTAWA...1

LEAGUE LEADERS GIVE RIVALS AN ALARM CALL

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

AURORA...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...11

TABLE-TOPPING Nitros drew the early morning straw with the 9am kick-off away at Stewart Burnett Park but were wide awake to hit double figures as their 100 per cent start to the season continues.

De'kwon Barrow grabbed four, there were doubles for Christian Cuxum Adolfo, Abdul Hammad and Jaylen Drummond with club stalwart Daniel Casa rounding off the scoring.

For coach Marko Milanovic it was a satisfying morning as he seeks a long-term replacement for no9 Hugo Mbongue who has been sanpped up by the Toronto FC Academy set-up.

Hitman Barrow staked his claim in this one and Marko said: "De'kwon had his best performance this weekend since he was signed.  He has been putting a lot of work in the past couple of weeks and the results are starting to show.

"We are all excited to see how good he can get and more importantly how consistent he can be moving forward.

"We have a lot of respect for all of our opponents and our approach to the game rarely changes regardless of the score.  We also try to maintain our intensity and focus."

They did just that in this one with Noah Tavares' goal the only consolation for Aurora. Casa was a popular scorer with his team-mates as his spirit always lights up the training field and everything Nitros' 03 boys do off the pitch.

Marko stressed: "Daniel's importance to our team extends far off the field.  He is an excellent leader and will do whatever it takes for his team to be successful. 

"Those types of kids are hard to find these days and we are very happy to have him. Not sure how happy I am with him being on target as he might think that he is a goalscorer now!"

EVAN'S ABOVE! TWO FOR JARDIM IN THRILLER

BOYS UNDER-14 WEST

BURLINGTON..2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3

THE team chemistry is getting stronger and key striker Evan Jardim is in a scoring groove - it was an encouraging day for the Nitros' 04 Boys at Pine Glen on Sunday.

Omar Wahab was also on target for NT with Arjun Rao and Aleksandar Ceco grabbing the goals for Burlington.

Coach Octavian Ghidanac was happy with another three points and he stressed: "There's always room for improvement and adjustments but overall I'm pleased with the boys at this point in time and how the team chemistry is getting stronger.

"The victory was a natural result of our solid domination and work as a group in creating lots of scoring chances. Sometimes the lack of focus gets to us on the field and leads us to waste the scoring chances. This could be be one of the improvement points for us."

Jardim's double took his tally for the new OPDL season to six and he has been challenged to take the next step now in his development in what looks an exciting division this year.

Coach Octavian said:  "There's no doubt Evan is our key player in the attacking line and he does what he's good at it in scoring goals. The evidence shows that Evan is progressing but as I mentioned earlier in the season it's all up to him to elevate his huge potential to a higher level.

"Our division so far seems to be balanced  with some high quality individuals in each of the teams that we've played."

BIG TALENTS ON THE FIELD...BIG HEARTS OFF IT

HEART OF THE COMMUNITY...the 03 Boys OPDL squad on their volunteering day at the Heyworth House Shelter

NORTH TORONTO NITROS' 03 Boys OPDL champions proved they are as big-hearted off the field as they are talented on it on Saturday when they volunteered at the city's Heyworth House Shelter.

Coach Marko Milanovic's squad joined front-line staff at the 89-bed facility to become part of the team for the day and help those in need at one of the system of shelters funded by the City of Toronto.

Heyworth House is an 89-bed emergency shelter for men and women and is open 24/7. The dedicated staff there help in areas like harm reduction and health support and this was a journey of learning for the U15 NT players.

Their usual dedication to goalkeeping, defending, midfield play and life as a striker was put on the back-burner as the boys were given a tour of the facility before starting their day-long shift.

They prepared lunches, set up the dining area and then became the table and waiting staff for all those using the shelter that day.

Team Manager Nancy Morais was hugely impressed by how the squad conducted themselves and she told ntsoccer.com: "They greeted and served each person with a friendly hello and a smile - made them feel special - we have a group of very respectful boys with hearts of gold. 

"After lunch the boys ensured that all the tables were cleared and wiped. Once the dining room was clean and tidy the boys put together the care kits that the shelter distributes regularly. These care kits contain toiletries, towels and socks for those in need."

Plans are now underway for the 03 boys and parents to volunteer again, this time around Thanksgiving. The proposal is to start a team Shoebox Project which would see the boxes filled with items for those in need and it is hoped local businesses in North Toronto will get on board with this initiative.

For Nancy the volunteering day was the essence of a soccer club giving something back to the community it operates at the heart of and she revealed: "At the end of the day when we left the facility you could see in their faces that the players felt good about themselves. They walked away wanting to do more.

"It was heartwarming to see these 14/15 year old boys volunteer and put smiles on peoples' faces. I was one of the parents who volunteered and I was extremely proud of them.

"First thing I did when I left was send coach Marko a picture and told him that he would be so proud of a very respectful and fantastic group of boys. They are winners on the field and most importantly winners off the field."

*ntscoccer.com would like to thank Nancy for all her help on this story and the excellent photographs used in this feature that show how we aim to develop OPDL athletes as people - not just as soccer players.

 WEEK FOUR

PAYING THE PRICE FOR MISSED CHANCES

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

UNITED FA...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NITROS stayed undefeated in the league yet they left Kinsmen Park in Pickering with a deep sense of frustration on Saturday night.

They had surged in front in the first-half with a classic counter-attacking move that saw AG Abongo set up Jarvis Clandfield to smash a superb shot into the top corner away from the United keeper's desperate dive.

After a tight first 45 minutes the game opened up in the second-half and Nitros were wasteful as they passed up chance after chance to grab a second and put the game to bed. 

And they were to pay the price with the clock ticking down as Elijah Anderson cashed in on sloppy defending to grab an equaliser for the hosts.

Head coach Martinho Kibato was left to sigh: "That was two points lost and we walked away from the field so frustrated with ourselves.

"We have to learn to be more clinical in the final third of the field and put games away when we have the chances to do so. It was a big learning game for the boys and the draw in the end felt like a defeat."

03 BOYS JUST KEEP ON ROLLING

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL​

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...3 HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...2

NEVER SAY DIE Nitros came from behind twice to clinch their third OPDL win on the spin in a dramatic clash at University of Toronto Scarborough on Sunday.

Noah Dedominicis and Cristiano Perri had given United Elite hope that they could land a win against the reigning champions but Kael Dimitrov, De'kwon Barrow and Jaylen Drummond netted for Nitros to secure a hard-fought three points.

This squad have the happy knack of finding a way to get through to victory even when they are not at their best and coach Marko Milanovic said: "The boys now see winning games as a norm for them. 

"Obviously, it is not that simple and it was a tough game against an organized and an athletic Hamilton team.  We never gave up and got the reward in the final minutes of the game.

"Our ability to sustain possession and pressure in their half, with an improved organization in transition, helped us control the second half of the game."

Nitros are still adapting to a new way of playing after striker Hugo Mbongue was snapped up by the Toronto FC Academy and the goals are being spread throughout the squad.

Coach Marko revealed: "With Hugo departing to TFC, we still have not found a clear number 9.  It's a challenge that our front players are aware of and they're all working hard to establish themselves as goalscoring threats."

DERRICK AT THE DOUBLE

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4 TORONTO FC...2

NITROS bounced back from defeat at Richmond Hill last weekend with Derrick Londono scoring twice in an excellent triumph over TFC's Academy side.

Damien Vermande and Adrian Perez were also on target with Kyrese Lynch-Bailey and Markus Cimermancic scoring for the MLS franchise.

For coach Octavian Ghidanac it was a heartening performance from his side and he said: "The satisfaction is great looking at the final result. 

"Despite the negative result last week the boys had a chance to learn from it and they made a great comeback."

Octavian was impressed by the gifted TFC team also as they contributed to an entertaining Sunday showdown at University of Toronto Scarborough.

The Nitros coach stressed: "I would like to acknowledge the skill level of some of the TFC boys on the field, which contributed to a good game both for us as a team to play in and for the parents to enjoy as well.

"Out teamwork was a major factor in winning the game as well as being more precise in capitalising on the chances that we created.

"Considering we’re still at the beginning of the season the growth of the individuals, as well as the squad, is visible."

STILL SPARKLING WITHOUT REX STARS

GIRLS UNDER-17

VAUGHAN...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2

CHAMPS Nitros have hit the top of the table early as they adapt to life without the three players who graduated to the Regional Excellence Program.

As Olivia Smith, Canada U-17 defender Sonia Walk and Jasmine Vilgrain adapt to life at REX their old team-mates are still chalking up the wins with the latest coming thanks to goals from Nicola Golen and the free-scoring Chantelle Parker.

Coach Marko Milanovic said: "It's always nice to be in first place but it's so early that we don't pay much attention to it.

"The girls have had a good start to the year. After losing Olivia, Sonia and Jasmine to the REX program, players have stepped up and taken bigger roles within the team. We are still far away from what we demand of ourselves but we'll continue to work and hopefully continue to get better."

Chantelle's strike was her fifth of the season and takes her two clear at the top of the OPDL scoring charts.

Coach Marko revealed: "Chantelle's work ethic and passion is phenomenal. That is the biggest key to her success. She is working daily on making herself a more complete striker."

MIDWEEK SETBACK FOR CHAMPS

GIRLS UNDER-15

VAUGHAN...1 NORTH TORONTO NITROS..0

LAST season's title-winning Nitros fell to a rare defeat in midweek as Sabrina Fabiano's goal gave championship rivals Vaughan a narrow win.

Nitros will now look to bounce back from this setback and coach Marc Maunder is certain they have the character within the squad to do so.

He stressed: "The girls are starting to understand it's a process, my captain said after the game its time to work harder, we now put the league on the back burner as its all about the Ontario Games qualification game Wednesday against Woodbridge. 

"We have so much room for improvement, the first-half we deserved to be down 1-0 even though the Vaughan goalkeeper pulled off two very good saves.

"The second-half we competed so much better and had more of the ball so it's about competing for 80 minutes, we do not deserve to pick up results only playing for half a match 

"If we win our game in hand we will be one point off the pace but there are some good teams in the U15 age group.

"It's not going to be easy to pick up back to back wins or go on a run but we will try to keep it as close as possible." 

WEEK THREE

SEVEN UP FOR NITROS' 17s 

BOYS UNDER-17 WEST

AURORA...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...7

FIRED-UP Nitros flew out of the traps in the Saturday morning kick-off at Stewart Burnett Park as they stormed into a three goal lead after just 14 minutes.

Challenged to find break the lines passes as one of their game objectives, Jarvis Clandfield was pulling the strings in midfield and arrowed in an excellent through ball for Robbie Russo to slide home the opener.

Daniel Malaj's third deadly free-kick of the season made it two soon after in a whirlwind start before Clandfield was once more the architect of the third with a killer pass for Russo to race away from the home defence and claim his second of the match.

Seven sloppy first-half minutes, though, threatened to derail a terrific opening to the match as Aurora's dangerous striker Max Kimmel grabbed two opportunist goals to haul it back to 3-2.

To their credit, though, Martinho Kibato's side shrugged off those setbacks and Christian Nadra reacted quickly in the box to pick up the scraps off a rebound from the keeper and steer in the fourth six minutes from the break.

The next goal was now vital and it was Nitros who surged 5-2 in front when striker Kris Klas latched on to a cross from the outstanding Holden Smith to use his body to hold off his marker and smash a volley into the roof of the net.

Aurora's resistance was broken now and Nadra produced perhaps the pick of the seven goals with a thumping first-time finish from Miles Omondi's corner.

Provider then turned scorer when Provincial player Omondi stabbed home from close range after a scramble following the dominant Nitros' 14th corner of the match.

Afterwards Nitros coach Martinho reflected: "Much of the work we had done in training was based on combinations in the final third and breaking lines with our passes.

"It was pleasing then to see that happen in the match and we met one of the key objectives set for the boys. As ever we learn in every game and those sloppy seven minutes let our opponents back into a match that should have remained in our control.

"The boys, though, reacted well and it was a pleasing victory and performance in the end."

SANTOS IS JUSTIN TIME

BOYS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

RICHMOND HILL...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

JUSTIN SANTOS grabbed the vital winner as OPDL champs Nitros kept up their 100 per cent League record in their title defence in the searing heat at Richmond Green.

Coach Marko Milanovic's side knew this one was going to be a tough assignment but came away with all three points and matchwinner Santos reckons they played it smart in the punishing conditions at the weekend.

He said: "I felt that we tired them out, we made triangles and played our passes and we kept the ball rather than chasing it.

"On a personal level I was happy with how I played, I got in good positions to provide crosses for my team-mates and I ended up with a goal too."

* The reigning OPDL champions are always active on Twitter, you can keep up with their fortunes by giving them a follow on @NT_Nitros03Boys.

FRUSTRATION FOR THE 14s BOYS

BOYS UNDER-14 CENT RAL

RICHMOND HILL...3 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NITROS walked away from this one with a gnawing sense of frustration as a combination of missed chances and defensive lapses saw them lose out after taking an early lead through Evan Bryce.

Goals from Christian Keshishian, Matthew Glavanov and Luca Porfiris gave the home side the spoils and Nitros head coach Octavian Ghidanac reckons his side will know they could have built on Evan's opener.

Octavian stressed: "The performance was there, we started strong, scoring early in the game and we followed that up by having clear scoring situations but we were found lacking in capitalising upon them. 

"In the last part of the game 50/50 balls in the central defending area created problems for us.

"Moving into the next game the centre-backs must be consistent in winning those challenges and as a team we must look to finish more of the multiple chances that we are creating."

CHANTELLE SCORES 'EM - MEGHAN STOPS 'EM!

GIRLS UNDER-17 OPDL CUP

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4

CHANTELLE PARKER grabbed a double at one end and striker turned goalkeeper Meghan McKye secured a clean sheet at the other as Nitros all but certainly navigated their way out of the OPDL Cup section stages.

The girls and coach Marko Milanovic must await the result of the final game in the group between Richmond Hill and Hamilton to be sure they are through to the knockout rounds but it would take a freak result now to deny them.

Chantelle scored twice with Olivia Bizzoni and the on-form Lauren Hart also on target at Heritage Green and coach Marko reflected: "The girls weren't at their best but we were able to score timely goals and ultimately win the game.

"Offensively, we weren't as clean and sharp as we normally are but we were quite solid defensively and didn't allow Hamilton too many opportunities.  Our striker Meghan McKye did a great job playing in net due to injuries and Cup call-up restrictions."

Parker's double in this one took her to four goals for the season and a slot at the top of the OPDL scoring charts, one ahead of her team-mate Hart and coach Marko believes that is a reward for her efforts to improve day in and day out at Nitros.

He stressed: "Chantelle is growing on a daily basis.  Her incredible desire and work ethic makes my job very enjoyable and I'm looking forward to seeing her continue to develop.

"We now wait to see the result of Hamilton-Richmond Hill game to see whether we'll finish first or second in the group. We are fairly confident that our four points and +4 goal difference will be enough to advance, as the winner of the group or best second."

DEVON IN HEAVEN AS NITROS KEEP ROLLING

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

RICHMOND HILL...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4

NITROS' OPDL champions shrugged off the injury list that sees them down to 14 fit players as Devon Eisen made it back to back doubles in a controlled away win at Richmond Hill on Sunday.

Nia Wilson and Madeleine Penman-Derstine were also on target in a performance that left head coach Marc Maunder saluting the focus of a squad now operating on a tight roster after those sick list setbacks.

Coach Marc stressed: "The girls' focus has been excellent and we are really digging in considering we are only playing with 14 at the minute.

"Ella Baldwin and Quintin Tostevin are long-term injuries and Montana Wilcox will start back training this week. To go to Ottawa in Week Two and score four second-half goals was excellent and yesterday in the heat to control the game like we did was so pleasing."

Right now with Wilcox on the comeback trail there is a big focus on the other forward players and their contribution has left the head coach impressed.

Marc said: "Devon has now had back to back doubles which is great considering I am playing her out of position as a #9 because of Montana's absence, Devon has also picked up three assists in three games.

"As a unit Devon, Nia and Madeleine are all working so hard considering they are playing lots of minutes and I am really happy that all three are finding the net, it's a great reward for the work they do in practice."

Whilst focus sometimes falls on the front players, at the back the Nitros have conceded just once in their three league wins on the spin so far in this title defence.

That has not gone unnoticed by an appreciative coaching staff as they look ahead to a tough next challenge away to Vaughan on Wednesday night.

And coach Marc reflected: "That defensive record is very pleasing, we play probably the strongest squad of our rivals on Wednesday so it will really be put to the test especially, as we are missing our centre-back Emma Parker and central midfielder Sophia Lucki."

ALEXA EDGES IT ON THE HILL

GIRLS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

RICHMOND HILL...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

NITROS took the momentum of a win in their final Umbro Showcase game last weekend to claim three excellent road trip points away to Richmond Hill on Sunday, thanks to Alexa Snoyer's clincher.

This division looks like being a tight competition this season with the sides evenly matched and every victory has to be worked for.

So it was a pleasing day for U14 Girls head coach Henry McIntosh who said: "It was exciting to get our first win. We had won our last game of the Umbro Showcase and I wanted to see if the momentum would see us through to our first league win.

"That's just how it turned out and I was pleased with our overall organization and technical ability in the match."

City rivals SC Toronto, who just edged out the Nitros on opening day, are the early pacesetters but every game looks a contest in this division and Henry reflected: "Yes, SC Toronto has taken an early lead in the standings but we’re up to the challenge.

"We will look to build on this result and take it one win at a time."


NITROS MUST NOURISH TO FLOURISH

A LOT OF LEARNING ON THEIR PLATES...our Nitros 03 and 02 boys ate up the Boomerang Health workshop 

NORTH TORONTO NITROS’ OPDL players have been given a fascinating insight  into how eating correctly can give them an edge as athletes and provide them with a healthier lifestyle.

A series of in-depth workshops with Boomerang Health expert Alyson Martinez was held this month after the club identified a need for more knowledge in this key field for our emerging talents.

NTSC Technical Director Billy Wilson and OPDL head coach Marc Maunder visited Boomerang to see the work done there after our technical staff colleagues at Richmond Hill had recommended the program.

They were hugely impressed with the structure of the information given and now 87 Nitros’ players have learned more about nutrition, a key factor in the sports science of nurturing healthy athletes.

Marc told ntsoccer.com: “The workshop looked at some simple ideas to try to improve the players’ performance.

“For example we looked at the 3,2,1 rule so athletes know what to eat three hours, two hours and one hour before a game.

"Players then looked at what an athlete’s plate looks like on a light to medium session and a high intensity session or a game.

“The boys and girls also discussed what meals should look like for a healthy youth and there was a lot of discussion about practice and matchday snacks. 

“For our female players they discovered the female athlete triad and also some crucial information on iron deficiency.”

After the weekend of workshops Marc gauged reactions from both parents and players to the latest building block in our OPDL program.

And he revealed: “I have had feedback since from parents saying that athletes are now starting to change little things about their diet.

“I have real hope moving forward now that the presentation will have a very positive impact on the players’ performance and lifestyle.”

Diet and the need for fuel for athletes is a vital area as young players grow and learn how to manage their bodies and the energy levels they require.

In the OPDL that can mean four training sessions a week and a game and nutrition plays a massive role in ensuring our Nitros are ready for action.

Marc reflected: “I personally hope that the long-lasting benefit for this presentation will be a healthy and positive attitude to food.

“As an athlete they have to be comfortable with the fact that players training in the manner OPDL players do each week need to eat more and differently to their school friends who do not play sport at such a high level.”

Now that the workshops have been piloted at NT the plan is that this will become a key part of the curriculum for our developing players at the U13/14 level.

At that point parents can have a huge influence on a player’s eating habits and it is then we can set in place a routine that becomes a healthy part of their lives.


WEEK TWO

RUNNING THROUGH THE 6ix!

BOYS UNDER-14 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...6 VAUGHAN...1

NITROS stormed back from an opening day reverse against Hamilton United Elite to stun Vaughan with a six-shooting performance at Downsview Park on Sunday.

Coach Octavian Ghidanac's side were dominant from the first whistle as Evan Jardim grabbed a hat-trick to shoot to the top of the OPDL scoring charts with Adrian Perez, Bilal Abou-Reslan and Adrian Panaite also on target.

Vaughan's only reply was a penalty from Demetrios Saratsiotis as one of the strongest 2004 boys teams in Ontario were outshone by a performance that left the boys' coach delighted.

Octavian told ntsoccer.com: "It is always great when you are facing a strong opponent and you have all the positive stats on our team's side.

"The keys to this performance were our communication and a consistent, meaningful possession of the ball and variation of the attacking actions.

"We had good distribution of the ball from the midfield area to the wing players that the Vaughan full-backs couldn’t handle. 

"We had quick, unpredictable change of the point of the attack and that forced them to open up, creating gaps on their central defensive line.

"Overall, we showed great team spirit and the performance reflected the mindset of each one of the boys heading into this game."

Coach Octavian revealed that hat-trick hero Evan had not trained properly in the build-up to Week Two of the OPDL which made his contribution all the more satisfying.

The U14 boys head coach stressed: "Evan couldn't train at full capacity due to an injury in the opener. So despite not being 100 per cent he scored a hat-trick, that shows the quality and the potential that is within him."

DANNY'S STRIKE NOT ENOUGH

BOYS U17 OPDL CUP

UNIONVILLE...2 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1

DANIEL MALAJ scored his second spectacular free-kick of the new season but it wasn't enough on the Bill Crothers Turf last Wednesday night as hosts Unionville deservedly marched through to the next round.

Nitros weathered an early storm of pressure to go ahead against the run of play when set-piece expert Malaj curled home a superb effort from 25 yards to mirror his goal in the pre-season win over Vaughan.

Unionville, though, looked the sharper side throughout and a penalty from Joshua Alegria and Alex Lewis' winner sent them through in a physical and hard-fought encounter.

GIRLS SET THEIR SIGHTS ON UMBRO SHOWCASE

GIRLS U17 OPDL CUP

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 RICHMOND HILL...2

NITROS' reigning OPDL League champions walked away from Downsview with a feeling of frustration after this one - then started the countdown to looking to impress the watching scouts at this weekend's Umbro Showcase. 

Keyosha Donkor and Chantelle Parker were on target for coach Marko Milanovic's side with Tierra Garniss and Jillian Therrien replying for Richmond Hill.

Coach Marko's side are still in the hunt in the Cup as this is a three team section and he stressed: "The girls dominated possession and created more chances than Richmond Hill.  They were dangerous on the counter and from set-pieces as we had to play an outfield player in net due to OSA call-up restrictions.

"I was pleased with the overall performance. There is a lot of work to be done, especially in negative transition.

"The overall level, though,  is good for this time of the year and we are looking forward to having back some of our injured players. All of the girls are now looking forward to a chance to impress in the Umbro showcase this weekend."


WEEK ONE

LAUREN AT THE HART OF IT ALL

GIRLS U17

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...0 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...4

NITROS' Provincial player Lauren Hart scored twice as her side roared into the season in style with a rock solid win at the Ontario Soccer Stadium on Saturday.

Meghan McKye and Chantelle Parker also notched as last season's OPDL League champions sent out a message to their rivals in the campaign's curtain raiser.

Coach Marko Milanovic was delighted to hear of the OPDL opening day success for his girls' side after he landed back in Canada from Spain where he guided his U15s boys team as they represented the nation in the Gatorade 5s in Barcelona.

Marko saw his girls league champs suffer some heartbreak in the play-off section of the competition last season but he reasoned: "Our primary concern, when it comes to results, is winning the league.

"We feel that achieving this goal shows consistency in performance over the entire season.  While we would love to win the playoff portion as well, our primary goal is always to win the league."

This has been a high-achieving group in the Nitros' hierarchy with three players - Canadian U17 WNT defender Sonia Walk, Olivia Smith and Jasmine Vilgrain - all graduating to the Regional Excellence Program.

Now Marko reshapes his squad for this season's challenge and he said: "Lauren has been working very hard during pre-season, and I am happy to see that she's getting the results that she deserves.

"Much like majority of players at this age, her confidence level plays a major role in her overall performances. Two goals on the opening weekend should give her another boost to continue to work towards achieving her goals."

MADELEINE TO THE FOUR

GIRLS U15

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...7 HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...0

NITROS' sharpshooter Madeleine Penman-Derstine scored FOUR as her on-form side got off to a sizzling start on OPDL opening day.

In a true team performance Emma Mazzei, Nia Wilson and Sophia Lucki were also on target for coach Marc Maunder's side as they dominated proceedings in their first fixture.

Coach Marc was delighted with an excellent all-round display from the defending OPDL champions and he said: "The girls played very well especially in the second-half, they met their targets, which meant goals from midfield to support the front three.

"With only 14 players the girls dug in and worked so hard to guarantee a clean sheet and it was a very good win to open up the season."

KAILAH GETS A HEAD START 

RED-DY FOR THE NEXT ONE...Henry McIntosh's 04 Girls impressed the coach in Game One

GIRLS U14

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...1 SC TORONTO...2

KAILAH KILFOYLE'S brilliant header wasn't enough for the competitive rookie Nitros as they enjoyed their first OPDL scores and standings match-up but were edged out by city rivals SC Toronto on Sunday at the Ontario Soccer Centre.

Rachel Lewars and Teagan Hollenberg scored for SC as they took the spoils leaving Nitros determined to bounce back quickly in their next fixture at home to Vaughan at Downsview on Sunday.

For U14 head coach Henry McIntosh the signs are encouraging for the campaign ahead and he said: "I was very happy with the girls and how they performed in their first game of the season.

"The girls played a difficult match against SC Toronto but were never second best in their organization, intensity and desire on the pitch. The girls played well and I’m confident that they are more than ready for the long season ahead.

"I’m pleased to acknowledge Kailah Kilfoyle who we signed just two weeks before the season started.  Kailah came on as a sub after 40 minutes and scored a wonderful headed goal from a cross in her first game in the OPDL. Congratulations Kailah."

NEW BOY CAILAN'S OFF TO A FLYER

BOYS U17 WEST

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...2 UNIONVILLE...1

CAILAN ROBINSON scored a competitive debut winner as Nitros' U17 boys kept up their impressive early season form with a tight triumph over Unionville at the BMO Training Centre on Saturday.

The Nitros' new boy clinched the victory with his fellow midfielder Ethan Thorogood also on the scoresheet for coach Martinho Kibato's side. Joshua Alegria hit back for Unionville.

Nitros had geared up for OPDL Opening Day in style with pre-season wins over both Woodbridge and Vaughan.

And although they didn't hit the heights they can in their first league game, Robinson's winner sends the team to Unionville for a rematch on Wednesday night in the OPDL Cup in good spirits.

Coach Martinho reflected: "Cailan came to us from an Academy set-up this winter and I have been pleased with his contribution so far.

"He is a versatile player who can play the holding or attacking midfield positions or even in central defence should we require that. Cailan has a good sense of the game in finding penetration, switching of play and he can also strike a good shot. 

"Like of all our side at this stage, though, there is still much to improve upon. He needs extra work on his fitness and defensively he needs improvement in retaining balance in the midfield."

SORE OPENER BUT NITROS STAY UPBEAT

BOYS U14 WEST 

HAMILTON UNITED ELITE...4 NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0

NORTH TORONTO NITROS got off to a hurtful start on Sunday as they fell to a four-goal defeat at the hands of rivals Hamilton at the Ontario Soccer Centre.

Goals from Gady Badran, Noah Geyer, Tyler Dawson and Mason Petrucci gave United Elite the perfect beginning to the season with Nitros now determined to bounce back next time out.

Coach Octavian Ghidanac was upbeat afterwards, focusing on a positive performance from his side and he said: "Despite the score not being in our favour, the boys played well and kept control of the game most of the time. 

"It was the first time using the 3-5-2 system and the boys adapted very well and created countless chances of scoring. 

"I’d like to make mention of two players, Adrian Panaite for his dominance on the ball in the midfield area and Nima Khodaii, for his effective crosses from the left side into our opponent's penalty box."