Thank you, Andy King
By Vance Abreu, July 12th 2022
North Toronto Nitros would like to announce the departure of Andy King from the club. Andy, current Advanced Development Program Manager, has spent the last four years growing and developing the grassroots program at North Toronto. The bubbly, fun-loving and engaging coach spent his years working with a multitude of age groups, namely the 2007s, 2008s, 2009s, 2010s and 2011s. His dedication and commitment to Nitros programming go beyond his teams. An ever-present presence at League1 Ontario games, House League festivals and club events, Andy embodied the culture and values of North Toronto Nitros.
Whether coaching, mentoring or talking to players and colleagues, Andy impacted the lives of many at the club. Technical Director Billy Wilson eloquently highlights Andy's ever-lasting impact. "It goes without saying that Andy has been integral to the growth and development of the Club over the past four years and has directly played a part in each of the evolution of each of the five streams. In particular, he has transformed the U11-U12 Advanced Development Program. Under Andy's leadership and working alongside Octavian, Rachel, Euan, and now Brandon, the Advanced Development Program has grown into one of the most popular and successful in the Province.
Throughout his time at the Club, his ability to connect with others and enjoy a good laugh while also upholding the highest professional standards has hugely influenced our programs' evolution.
Andy truly cares about the people around him and is fiercely loyal to the players and coaches he works with. He always stands up for what he believes is right and won't shy away from conflict if he believes it can make the environment and those around him better. A quality that is in short supply. Over the years, he has done so much for my growth and development, and I know he will continue to from the West Coast!"
When reflecting on his time here, memories filled his mind. "I think back to my first year with the 2007 boys groups & a trip to a tournament in Rochester, NY. Two of our teams made the final in their respective brackets & both won their final match. The final whistle came at basically the same time & both groups came hurtling towards each other to celebrate. For me, this shows how special the environment is at North Toronto & how our vision of 'As many as possible, for as long as possible, in the best environment possible' can come to life."
"Another special moment for me was the recent trip to Ottawa with our ADP players. It was already special enough because it was the first opportunity for our players, coaches & families to travel since the many restrictions faced over the last few years, but I have to say, one moment stuck out. In the pouring rain, after a huge storm one of our 2011 boys scored himself a hat-trick against OSU. What followed was something I won't forget… he pulled his shirt off in celebration (not easy when your Jersey is soaked through!) & swung it around his head with all of his teammates & the parent group celebrating with him. After such a stop/start few years with the COVID pandemic, this will always be a reminder of what it's all about!"
Moving on from North Toronto Nitros, Andy is set to undergo a new challenge as his family embarks on a new journey to the west coast of Canada. Andy's ever-lasting impact on the club will be forever etched into our Nitros DNA. Executive Director Doug Blair summated the club's feelings perfectly "Andy, I wish you and your family the best on the West Coast. But I will truly miss you, the professionalism with which you address your coaching and management responsibilities, and the leadership you have brought to the very successful Advanced Development Program. You have had a positive, lasting impact on the players and coaches with whom you have worked. For years to come, the Nitros competitive, OPDL and League1 teams will be blessed with outstanding, highly-skilled players who have spent two formative years trained and coached by Andy King."
With a heavy heart, Andy leaves us with these final words; "It's hard to put into words what being a part of this club over the years has meant to me. I've had a few tough days, which we all have over the past few years especially, but walking onto the field with the staff & players has always put a spring back in my step & a smile back on my face. This is way more than just a job to me. It's a passion & a lifestyle that is impossible not to enjoy & it's a community & family that I'm so proud to have been a part of.
To Helena, the board & Doug, thank you for the opportunity to grow with this organization & for your unwavering support throughout. To Billy, you've created an unbelievable environment for the staff & in turn, the players to learn & develop both as coaches/players & as people. My gratitude is immeasurable. To the staff I've worked with over the years, you're hands down the best staff in this country - continue to do yourselves & the club proud! Thank you to the NTSC parents for really supporting what the club are trying to achieve, putting the player first in everything we do!
Lastly & most importantly, to the players, you have taught me much more than I could ever teach you during my time with NT. It's been an absolute blast working with you & I can't wait to see what you will go on to achieve both in soccer & in life. Go Nitros!"
Erin Lennox joins North Toronto Nitros
By Vance Abreu, June 1st 2022
North Toronto Nitros are delighted to announce the hiring of Erin Lennox. Erin joins the club as the new Nitros Development Program Manager.
Erin spent the majority of her coaching career at Richmond Hills Soccer Club. The Canada 'C' licensed coach served as the 2009 and 2011 girls coach from 2017 to 2022 whilst simultaneously being the U4-U12 technical coordinator from 2019 to 2022.
Lennox attended Durham College as a General Arts, Science and Public Relations student, where she played on the varsity women's team. Previously she captained West Rouge Storm to the U18 Ontario Cup and was a part of the Elite Athlete Program at Birchmount Park High School.
Looking forward to her time at North Toronto, Lennox spoke profoundly of her aspirations within the role. "I am looking forward to working with the players at North Toronto and bringing my love, passion and enthusiasm for the game to all those involved.
Nitros Technical Director Billy Wilson encapsulates the club's excitement to bring coach Erin on board. "I am delighted to welcome Erin Lennox to North Toronto Soccer as Manager of our Nitros Development Program. Erin brings a lot of experience and expertise, having most recently led Grassroots Programs at Richmond Hill Soccer Club. Prior to her role with Richmond Hill, Erin coached with Newmarket Soccer Club and has previous experience working in administration and governance at the District level."
"Erin is one of the best Grassroots coaches in the province. She is passionate about the holistic development of children through sport which aligns perfectly with the Clubs values. I am really excited to watch the Nitros Development Program evolve over the next few months as Erin, Aaron, Barbora, and Kevin look to build on the great work done over the years."
Erin begins her on-field coaching the week of June 6. Good luck, Erin!
KAYLA BRIGGS JOINS CANADA SOCCER'S NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
North Toronto is excited to announce that Kayla Briggs has been selected to join Canada Soccer’s National Development Centre. The game changing attacker is excited at the prospect of taking this next step in her development. “Being selected to be a part of the National Development Centre is a huge honour and I am super excited and proud to be a part of. Getting to be surrounded by such talented players who will push me to become the best version of myself is extremely motivating and something that I am really looking forward to. Seeing and hearing about all the talented players that have gone into the NDC and come out to play for Canada and attend top universities is inspiring”
As with many players that come through the talented pathway at North Toronto, Kayla highlighted the importance that the NT Coaching Staff had on her journey. “I am so grateful to be able to say that I have been a part of the Nitros. I have been lucky enough to have so many great Nitro coaches impact my development. I would first like to thank Marc Maunder who was the whole reason I came to Nitros, he made my first experiences with the club feel so welcoming. Other coaches that impacted me are Marko Milanovic and Chris Vickers. Marko always believed in me and gave great advice. Chris really advocates for his players and has helped me get in contact with some of my dream schools. Lastly, I have been so fortunate to have Billy Wilson as my coach over the past two years. He would go out of his way to check in with his players. The thing I liked most about Billy’s coaching style was that he never settled, always challenging me to do better.”
Technical Director Billy Wilson spoke very highly of the impactful forward, as well as the environment that she has developed within. “I’ve had the privilege to coach Kayla for the past two years and there are few players in this province who can change games on their own to the extent of Kayla. Her ability to beat opponents 1v1 and goal scoring ability will make her a threat at any level. Everything she does with and without the ball is done at top speed leading to a player who can impact over 4 moments of the game. Marc Maunder coached Kayla for years and has to be credited for the environment that he and our coaches continue to create for our players which allows talents like Kayla freedom to express themselves and be brave and direct on the ball. It is no surprise to any of the staff at North Toronto Soccer that she has taken this next step in her development by moving to Canada Soccer's National Development Centre and I am sure she will excel working with Joey Lombardi and training in the environment every day.”
When reminiscing about some of Kayla’s favourite moments as part of North Toronto, she fondly remembers her week’s of Summer Academy, a true North Toronto tradition. “I couldn’t have been in a better place for my development as a soccer player. One of my favourite memories was the yearly academy weeks. The energy and atmosphere that was created would make it one of my favourite weeks each summer. The bonds that strengthened and memories made while playing will be something I always remember.”
There have been a lot of people that have supported and impacted Kayla's journey. Outside of her coaches, Kayla states the support of her teammates and family as integral to her development until this point. “Someone who has kept me motivated to push myself both on and off the field is one of my closest friends and fellow teammate Courtney Poon. Words can’t express how grateful I am for the support she has given me. Court is one of the strongest people I know and she has taught me how to stay focused in big moments. I’ve also been fortunate over the past four seasons to have an amazing captain, Sophie Cockett. Her leadership is part of the reason our team has had so much success. Lastly, I want to thank my family who have always been my greatest supporters. They never missed a game and have been huge believers in me.”
Looking forward to Kaylas future at the National Development Centre Head Coach Joey Lombardi had this to say about the two newest recruits from North Toronto. “The NDC program is excited with the intake of Kayla Briggs and Ava Greco. Both players were scouted during the recent NDC combines and earned the opportunity to be joining the program on a full time basis. Kayla is a dynamic forward and is a constant threat in/around the box. Ava brings technical proficiency and will link our in-possession phase through her distribution and vision/awareness. All the hard work that both players committed towards North Toronto through their OPDL teams program supported their development and achievement to be part of the Canada Soccer NDC player pool. Thank you to North Toronto for their continued support”
AVA GRECO JOINS CANADA SOCCER'S NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
North Toronto is excited to announce that Ava Greco has been selected to join Canada Soccer’s National Development Centre. The creative midfielder is excited to be given this opportunity.
“I feel grateful that I was selected for the National Development Centre. I have worked hard leading up to this moment, and I am happy that I was recognized and given this great opportunity.”
Ava is excited about the prospect of continuing to work and develop alongside like minded players as she continues her journey. “For many years I played with some amazing athletes, and I was always looking to be pushed and developed. With the NDC I hope to continue to improve everyday as a player and as a person. I want to be recognized as a top player and would love to be a part of the National team. This will inspire me and be my drive everyday, and training with girls who have the same goals, will support me in this journey.”
Technical Director Billy Wilson spoke very highly of the midfielder, and her ability to disguise her next actions and be impactful in tight spaces. “Ava is a player that originally signed with our GU15 OPDL team, but was quickly identified by Marc Maunder as needing the individual challenge of playing with the GU17's. It was certainly the right decision as she was one of the standouts in the GU17 division. Ava's range of passing and her ability to receive, protect, and escape in tight spaces to play forward makes her stand out from other players her age. She's comfortable using both feet and can disguise her attacking actions which buys her that extra time on the ball which is crucial when playing in central spaces. I'm delighted that she has been given this opportunity to join Canada Soccer's National Development Centre and I am sure the coaching staff will love working with her as much as we did”.
The effective midfielder joined North Toronto a few seasons ago, whilst joining a new club is never easy, she spoke to the positive environment that was created by the clubs Technical staff. “The coaches at North Toronto have been amazing! Coming to a new club like I did can be intimidating, but I felt comfortable right away. They recognized my training style, challenged me, and were positive, observant, respectful and supportive. A special shout out to Billy, Marc and the rest of the NT staff!”
When thinking back to some of Ava’s favourite moments as part of North Toronto, she as many others spoke about the impact of the North Toronto Summer Academy week. “I can say the NT summer academy camp is a great memory. This camp allowed me to get to know my teammates better, bond with them, and make lasting connections.”
There have been a lot of people that have supported and impacted Ava’s journey to this point. Outside of her coaches, Ava speaks about the empowering support of her father, who was also her very first coach! *I have had some amazing teammates and coaches along the way, but if I had to choose one who was the most supportive, it would be my father. He was my first coach, he taught me to always believe in myself, to work hard, and it was never, `I can't, it was always, I can’.”
Looking forward to Ava's future at the National Development Centre, Head Coach Joey Lombardi had this to say about the two newest recruits from North Toronto. “The NDC program is excited with the intake of Kayla Briggs and Ava Greco. Both players were scouted during the recent NDC combines and earned the opportunity to be joining the program on a full time basis. Kayla is a dynamic forward and is a constant threat in/around the box. Ava brings technical proficiency and will link our in-possession phase through her distribution and vision/awareness. All the hard work that both players committed towards North Toronto through their OPDL teams program supported their development and achievement to be part of the Canada Soccer NDC player pool. Thank you to North Toronto for their continued support”
TECHNICAL STAFF UPDATE: ANTONIO & RASIH
Rasih Pala - Manager, Goalkeeping Program
Rasih Pala will be joining the Club as Manager or the Goalkeeping Program effective Tuesday, Jan 4th, 2022. Rasih joins North Toronto Soccer while continuing as Head Goalkeeper Coach at York University Men and Womens Programs. In addition to his involvement at the University level, Rasih is a Learning Facilitator with Ontario Soccer and Co-founder and Vice President of Global Goalkeeping Innovations which is a Goalkeeping specific Player and Coach Development platform that seeks to connect and elevate Goalkeepers and Goalkeeping coaches across Canada.
We believe that Rasih’s knowledge and experience, coupled with his passion and commitment to ensure a collaborative and holistic approach to development makes him the ideal person to build upon the great work that Justine and Shawn have done over the past three years.
Antonio Greco - Coach, Goalkeeping Program
Antonio Greco will be joining the Club as a Coach within the Goalkeeping Program effective Tuesday, Jan 4th, 2022. Antonio will be joining the Club from Richmond Hill Soccer Club where he was Head GK Coach. Together with Rasih and Shawn, Antonio will be responsible for providing on field training in line with the Clubs GK Curricula, training methodology, and the Club Style of Play and Game Model.
TECHNICAL STAFF UPDATE: JUSTINE BERNIER
Justine will be resigning from her role as Head GK Coach effective Dec 31st, 2021 as she will be moving to Cambridge, Ontario.
Having joined North Toronto Soccer in the Fall of 2018, Justine has been an integral part of the evolution of the Club over the past three years. As Head GK Coach, Justine has played an important role in the development and mentorship of the Clubs Goal Keepers from Grassroots to League1 Ontario.
In addition to her role as Head GK Coach, Justine has served as an assistant coach with the Club’s many OPDL teams and with League1 Ontario. Her knowledge and experience on game day has been a huge contributor to the success of the Club’s Talented Pathway Program.
As a former professional player, Justine was someone who the Club’s young female players looked up to, and this was something that Justine never took for granted. Justine has been an unbelievable role model during her time at North Toronto and she has invested countless hours in the development of young players and also our many aspiring female coaches. She will be greatly missed by many!
We would like to thank Justine for her contribution to the Club and wish her all the best in her future endeavours.
BARBORA BEGINS NITROS COACHING CAREER
By Vance Abreu, October 21st 2021
It is with our great pleasure to announce Barbora Fabusova as the new Nitros Development program head coach. Barbora joins Tom Waud, Kevin Lemonnier and Aaron Lucas in the Nitros Development program and assumes the role of U8 girls head coach and U9/10 girls assistant coach.
The C-license trained coach joins North Toronto after spending time working with Toronto High Park and SC Toronto. Fabusova brings a wealth of coaching and managerial experience. Her previous roles include Manager of Grassroots, OPDL assistant coach and development coach.
Along with her extensive coaching experience, Barbora had a successful playing career. The talented centre midfielder spent the majority of her playing career representing West Ottawa. Her time there saw her play OYSL as well as League1 in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Fabusova's inspiration and coaching ambitions are holistically centred on positively influencing and being influenced by some great mentors. "I've been lucky enough to have had some great coaches in my playing career. That's what inspired me to get into coaching".
This motivation and sentiment are echoed through her mindset relating to coaching and joining North Toronto. "I want to develop the grassroots players within the Club and also hopefully continue to develop and grow the female side at the Club. North Toronto is one of the top clubs in Ontario and has some of the best quality coaching staff and players. To get to work with these players and coaches daily was something I cannot wait to do".
The excitement behind Barbora's appointment is further resonated by Tom Waud, Nitros Development program manager. "I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Barbora to the NDP. Her enthusiasm for soccer and desire to learn is infectious. I can't wait for the staff and players to benefit from having Barbora at North Toronto SC."
Technical Director Billy Wilson reiterates a similar sentiment. "As an organization, we place great emphasis on providing young footballers with access to age and stage appropriate programming. Barbora's experience, skillset, and personality make her a great fit for the program. We recognize the important role that coaches play in the holistic development of the players at our Club, and I am confident that Barbora will be a strong role model for our boys and girls."
Off the pitch, Barbora is an avid Barcelona fan and, like most of us, loves the Canadian women's team, mainly Christine Sinclair. She also was a recent graduate from the University of Toronto, graduating with a degree in Kinesiology.
BRANDON FRITH JOINS NITROS ADP STAFF
By Vance Abreu, September 23rd 2021
North Toronto Nitros is delighted to announce the appointment of Brandon Frith as the new head coach of the Nitros Advanced Development Program. Frith's hiring sees him join the talented U11-12 staff. He takes the reigns from current girls head coach, Euan Montgomery, who has now joined the Talented Pathway Program as OPDL head coach.
Technical Director Billy Wilson spoke highly of Firth's appointment. "I am delighted to welcome Brandon Frith to the Club as the Head Coach of the Nitros Advanced Development Program. Brandon is a very experienced and knowledgeable coach. He has worked at various levels of the game, including Grassroots, OPDL, Provincial, and National teams. With these experiences behind him, Brandon will bring a new perspective to our Advanced Development Program and push us to be better in every department. Brandon has a strong character, is a high performer, and I am sure he will be a great fit here at North Toronto Soccer."
Frith joins the Nitros staff after a decorated career working in Soccer in Ontario. Frith joins Nitros after three years as Women's EXCEL Ontario REX Manager at Canada Soccer. Before his time at Canada Soccer, Brandon spent almost four years at Ontario Soccer as the High-Performance Analyst & Regional Manager and Coach Development & Events Coordinator.
During his time working with Canada Soccer and Ontario Soccer, Brandon obtained his UEFA 'B' Certificate and is currently has is Canada Soccer' A' License trained. Brandon worked with Durham College and the University of Ontario Insitute of Technology's women's program as an assistant coach. In addition, Brandon spent five years with Unionville Milliken SC working with teams ranging from U8 to U21, but mainly as the 2003 OPDL girls head coach.
The new challenge as ADP head coach is one Brandon is relishing. "North Toronto provides a positive environment that will provide challenges and opportunities to grow with an outstanding staff. I look forward to collaborating with an outstanding staff across all levels in the club and working with players to help them grow in the soccer journeys."
Advanced Development Program Manager Andy King also reiterated Brandon's experience. "I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Brandon to the ADP. His experience & success at multiple levels of the game in Ontario speaks for itself. I can't wait for the staff & players to start reaping the benefits of his addition to the team here at North Toronto SC."
Brandon will assume his coaching role on October 4th as the club prepares for the 2021-22 indoor season.
FROM NT TO TFC: MICHAEL LEE JOINS THE U-16 ROSTER
By Vance Abreu, September 21st 2021
Since joining North Toronto Nitros in 2019, Michael has continued developing, maturing, and growing as a player. The continuous hard work and dedication to the game have seen the youngster sign with Toronto FC’s U-16 squad.
The prolific and versatile midfielder and wingback contributed five goals in eight games, tied for 12th in OPDL this year as the U-15 boys went an outstanding 8-1-1, to sit second in the West division before Michael departed. Head Coach and club Technical Director Billy Wilson spoke volumes of Michael as he heads into a new chapter in his young career.
“Michael is a young lad who has worked extremely hard for this opportunity to join TFC Academy. Michael has always been a talent, and this year he has started to dominate games in the OPDL, consistently impacting by contributing goals and assists regularly.”
Similarly, Anthony Capotosto, Toronto FC Academy Director, reiterated the enthusiasm surrounding Lee’s arrival. “We are very pleased to welcome Michael into our TFC family. He is a player we’ve been tracking for a few years through our relationship with North Toronto Soccer Club. I want to thank Billy Wilson and the technical staff at North Toronto Soccer Club for their continued support and collaboration, which ultimately helped facilitate him signing with our Academy.”
Michael’s father, David, echoed these sentiments from Anthony “NT has allowed Michael to grow and develop his skills individually and as a group. The message that his coaches and TD made that stick is that if you really want to achieve your goals, you have to work hard constantly.”
Michael’s attention now turns towards the remainder of the OPDL season. The TFC U-16 boys play in the U-17 West division, where they currently sit 6th. North Toronto wishes nothing but the best for Michael on his future challenges. As a club, we could not be prouder of his achievements and look forward to the impact he will make at Toronto FC.
RAHBAR WAHED KHAN RECEIVES DREAM CALL-UP
By Vance Abreu, September 1st 2021
While many nations, including Canada, will partake in another round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, a few eyes within the Nitros family will shift towards the Three Nations Cup in Kyrgyzstan. The five-day tournament featuring Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, and Bangladesh will feature one of our own in Rahbar Wahed Khan.
Rahbar, a former Siena Heights University midfielder and current Nitros league1 standout, received a surprise call-up to the Bangladesh national team as one of two non-resident players. The 25-year-old has been nothing short of outstanding this season as dynamic midfielder with exceptional technical ability and adept finishing has seamlessly fit into the squad.
Not only has Khan produced on the field, but his leadership and mentoring for the younger squad members has become invaluable for the team's development.
Head coach Marko Milanovic spoke enthusiastically about Rahbar's contributions this year. "Rahbar is an outstanding leader and player. His devotion to the team has been terrific both on and off the field".
Rahbar's Bangladeshi national team is set to play against Palestine on Sunday morning (CDN time) at 1030 am, where he hopes to dawn the green and red for the first time.
To read more about Bangladesh national team click here; https://www.thedailystar.net/sports/football/news/two-nrbs-23-man-squad-kyrgyzstan-series-2159816.