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.
ALOYSIUS ADOLF: NITROS NEW TALENTED PATHWAY COACH
By Vance Abreu, May 11th 2021
North Toronto Nitros Soccer proudly welcomes Aloysius Adolf to the coaching ranks. Aloysius joins the club as the new Talented Pathway head coach. The current UEFA B license candidate brings a wealth of experience to the staff. Previously serving as an OPDL head coach at Pickering FC since 2019, Aloysius’ career spans half a decade and two continents.
A Nigerian native, Aloysius worked with various Academies in Lagos before coaching in California and Massachusetts. Following his pit stops in America, he joined Barca Academy Toronto before ending up at Pickering FC.
Aloysius’ passion for delving into coaching derived from watching his national team. Watching and analyzing the Super Eagles throughout their deep World Cup and African Cup of Nations runs inspired him to dedicate his life to coaching. As he matured, the desire to become a positive influence and help players tap into their true potential as footballers, and more importantly, human beings heightened his motivation for coaching. “There is no doubt the importance a coach’s role plays in the life of a young athlete. I want to serve as a positive role model within the NT Talented Pathway, utilize my skills to enhance the experience of players within the pathway and help elevate the pathway to even greater heights.”
The player-centric focus is palpable with Aloysius. In fact, his coaching style centers around motivating individuals and finding ways to maximize their potential on and off the pitch. The ability to positively influence players is a role Aloysius does not take lightly. “I emphasize understanding what motivates each individual on the team and finding innovative ways to latch onto that to nudge them in the direction that will maximize their potential.:
Along with aiding the Nitros Talented Pathway player personnel development, Aloysius joined North Toronto joined the club to further better himself and his colleagues. “North Toronto Nitros Soccer is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most prestigious youth clubs in the Greater Toronto Area. It is an organization that has provided the foundation for launching the careers of many young enterprising footballers and is a pillar in the community. That alone made this club a very attractive destination for me. The calibre of coaches employed by the club was another important reason for wanting to join the club. The opportunity to work side by side with more qualified coaches and learn from them will improve me as a coach. I also look forward to sharing my knowledge with my new colleagues.”
Off the pitch, Aloysius avidly supports Manchester United and his national team. He uses this time to further deepen his skills as a coach and mentor, analyze games, and read various literature on the art of the game.
There is no doubt the club is eagerly anticipating seeing Aloysius on the sidelines. The Nitros family warmly welcomes Aloysius Adolf to the club and wishes him the best of luck on his coaching journey at North Toronto Nitros Soccer.
BARNES CAPTURES CO-ROOKIE OF THE YEAR HONOUR
By Vance Abreu, April 26th 2021
Former Nitros OPDL forward Asher Barnes captured the lucrative MAAC men's soccer Co-Rookie of the Year for the 2020/21 season.
Asher was a part of the North Toronto Nitros soccer family for eleven years, including four years with the 2002 OPDL team. Graduating from Northview Heights Secondary School, Barnes joined Niagara University, intending to achieve both individual and team success.
The prestigious honour capped off an outstanding freshman campaign where Barnes finished first in goals for Niagara University, despite only playing 226 minutes in the shortened season. Barnes' four goals came on an efficient seven shots personifying his athleticism and ability, which earned him consistent playing time off the bench.
Niagara University's season ended promisingly after finishing third place in the MAAC conference regular season. However, they were beaten by eventual champions Monmouth in the quarterfinals of the MAAC championships.
Heading into his sophomore season, Asher will continue to build on his impressive start as the program aims to capture the MAAC championship and compete in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championships.
KEVIN COMMENCES NITROS COACHING CAREER
By Vance Abreu, March 29th 2021
Kevin Lemonnier's appointment as North Toronto Nitros Development Program Coach is one the club is widely anticipating. Originally from France, Kevin's understanding and knowledge of the game stood out to Technical Director Billy Wilson during a C license course. "I was quickly impressed with his contribution to group discussion and collaboration in the classroom while demonstrating strong coaching ability on the field."
Along with his impressive interactions with Billy, Kevin's high-quality coaching and playing background stood out. As a player, Kevin had quite an illustrious youth career. Throughout his time playing in France, Kevin was a regular at the provincial level. A hard-nosed fullback and winger, Kevin played for club side Biganos FC, where he was named best young player and other high-level French teams. His quality exposed him to many opportunities, including travelling to training and play at Real Sociedad's home ground. Similarly, he was coached by former professional footballer Jerome Molinier and Golden Ball winner Jean-Pierre Papin.
The opportunity to learn from footballing greats inspired Kevin to pursue coaching as a career. "Soccer is my passion, and I have been fortunate to play the game at a competitive level in France, surrounded by people who have, or had professional playing careers. I decided to become a coach after I graduated with a Master's degree in Sports Business. What has always thrilled me is to be on the soccer field. Therefore, I decided to help the next generations build their playing career, using my knowledge and experiences." Throughout his coaching career, which started near Bordeaux, Kevin has predominantly worked with young players. After two seasons working in France with their version of the development program, Kevin joined Toronto Skillz and led the U10 team and OSL team.
Coaching both youth and senior teams were invaluable to Kevin as his understanding of different players' needs developed significantly. As such, Kevin was able to mould his coaching style to where it is now. "I picture myself as a supportive coach. I encourage a lot. I want my players to understand the game, to feel confident when they play, so I do my best to create that atmosphere. I want them to feel comfortable sharing and asking me questions. I'm here for them and their development. Building a positive, safe environment where everyone is pushing in the same direction is vital to me, and it starts in practices." The development-centric attitude perfectly aligns with the clubs' philosophy. Creating a safe space and supportive environment is at the core of Kevin's love for the game as he reiterated his yearning to help all his players mature on and off the pitch.
Kevin's passion for the game goes beyond the pitch. If he is not coaching, Kevin studies the game in-depth, watching, reading and listening to podcasts, games and books to deepen his skills. In particular, Kevin is an avid Arsenal and Lyon fan. Like most Arsenal fans, his admiration for Thierry Henry is unwavering.
There is no doubt Kevin is eager to join the club and help grow the development program. Alongside fellow coaches Tom, Aaron and Patricia, Kevin looks to continue cultivating a program with the highest of reputations provincial-wide. "It's only my third year here in Toronto, but I have already realized through my different interactions with people within the soccer community that North Toronto carries a well-established reputation of being a well-structured and highly competitive club. Working with knowledgeable people, sharing experiences from different backgrounds, around a common passion and vision of Soccer is really what attracted me to join the club."
GUSTAVO'S EXPANDED NITROS ROLE
By Vance Abreu, March 18th 2021
Current Nitros U13 Boys and Girls district league coach Gustavo Cupertino joins the club on a full-time basis as the club’s Field Operations Manager. Gustavo assumes his expanded North Toronto role with widespread experience and expertise in soccer administration.
A Brazilian native, Gustavo spent six years with the Brazilian Football Federation as a Team Administrator. During his time he assisted the federation with developing operational plans for international competitions and national team training camps. He was also heavily involved with the ticketing and spectating services during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he worked throughout the event in South Africa.
Following his time with the Brazilian Football Federation, Gustavo became the Academy Manager and then Football Manager at Clube Atlético Mineiro. The club infamously dubbed Galo (Rooster) has a rich history dating back to 1908. Currently playing in the top league in Brazil, Clube Atlético Mineiro has won international honours, including the Copa Libertadores, while signing stars such as Ronaldinho, Gilberto Silva and Bernard.
The experience throughout his time in Brazil and South Africa is invaluable to the club. As the new Field Operations Manager, Gustavo will utilize his understanding of large-scale events and planning to coordinate game-day operations for League1, OPDL, club festivals and other major events. Furthermore, Gustavo will assist current staff with field, team and player equipment and management to provide the best possible on-field experience through all Nitros programming.
Along with his new role in the club, Gustavo will continue to serve as the Nitros U13 Boys and Girls district league coach. A Brazilian national B license Gustavo is more than ready to get back on the pitch and prepare his squads for the 2021 TDYSL season commencing sometime this summer.
The club is excited to have Gustavo serve as both a coach and manager. With his extensive history in the soccer landscape, we are extremely confident Gustavo will continue to uphold and maintain the high standards the club aims to deliver on and off the field.
SAM GEVAUX BEGINS HIS NITROS JOURNEY
By Vance Abreu, March 15th 2021
For Sam Gevaux, North Toronto's Talented Pathway Head Coach, coaching was a dream from a young age. The Canada Soccer A License, UEFA B License and UEFA A License candidate coach joins the club after working with Waterloo United as the Director of Player and Coach Development.
Before his time in Canada, Sam spent his time in the United Kingdom, working for former Premier League side Hull City as an Academy Coach. Along with his academy experience, Sam led the University of York (UK) Women's team for two seasons. As well, Sam's passion for studying the game was further heightened by him graduating first in his class with a Master of Science in Sports Coaching.
The vast experience Sam encountered in Waterloo and in the UK was a tipping point in Sam joining North Toronto. "I want to impact as many players as possible, to support NT's Talented Pathway and ensure that I am doing my utmost to give players every opportunity to thrive within the environment. The possibility to work with players, both male and female from U13 to League1, was too enticing to pass up."
Along with the passion and desire Sam has to develop the players at North Toronto he will encounter, he also sees it as an opportunity to expand and mature exponentially. The vision and approach to the game North Toronto's technical staff has created over the recent years personified the possibility to grow. "From the outside, the club has always been innovative in their approach to player development. This is something I have very much looking forward to being a part of. Selfishly, I look forward to working with the high calibre of coaching staff to better myself, which will better those I am mentoring. That being said, I cannot wait to get onto the pitch and work with the fantastic players within the NT Talented Pathway."
An innovative, engaging and compassionate leader, Sam wants to place his players in the best environment possible to grow as people and students of the game. Those traits are what made Sam fall in love with coaching and, until this day, has kept his drive to achieve and succeed. There is no doubt the role a coach plays in the lives of their players is unmatched. The responsibility of being a positive role model and mentor is one Sam is privileged to have. "I was inspired to get into coaching to understand the game's demands better, but more importantly to impact those that I would work with, as players and people."
Off the pitch, Sam is a family man who enjoys spending time with his wife and son, visiting new places and travelling. As a soccer fan, Sam supports Arsenal, with Dennis Bergkamp being his favourite player. Unfortunately, the skill and talent never transferred over to Sam growing. As he described empathically, "it was undeniable from an early age, I was not going to play at a high level."
The club is extremely fortunate to have a coach like Sam joining the coaching ranks. Billy Wilson, club Technical Director, highlighted the overall enthusiasm the club has. "We are very fortunate to welcome Sam to our team. Sam is an experienced A License coach who I have admired from afar. He is highly respected in the soccer community due to his outstanding contributions at Waterloo United, and he will complement our current coaching team while finding ways to push us to be better."
NADINE POWELL JOINS NITROS STAFF
By Vance Abreu, March 10th 2021
North Toronto Nitros are ecstatic to announce Nadine Powell as the new Competitive Soccer Manager for the club. Starting March 15th, Nadine is tasked with overseeing the ever-growing competitive soccer program, which is anticipating having seven district and nine regional teams in the TDYSL and CSL. The current National B license holder will also serve as the head coach for the 2007 Girls and 2006 Girls CSL teams this season while leading the competitive soccer program.
For Nadine, the appointment comes full circle. Previously, a Girls Rep program coach for North Toronto in the late 1990s, Nadine spent the previous fourteen years working with Richmond Hill Soccer Club in various roles, including High-Performance Manager. Nadine's love for coaching stems from her passion for youth participation in sports. "I've always been aware of the benefits from being involved in sports, whether they be social, mental, psychological, or physical. I feel passionate about trying to ensure as many kids as possible, and particularly girls, can benefit the same way from participation in sports, especially soccer."
Nadine's appetite for developing youth players holistically transfers into her coaching style. She is a firm believer in empowering players to be their best and develop many skills necessary that relate to their lives outside of soccer. Along with her underlying coaching principles, Nadine stresses the importance of having fun and enjoying the social aspect team sports brings.
Before devoting her soccer career to coaching, Nadine played for Sweat Shack Spirit, former club of Canadian Women's Team midfielder Desiree Scott. During her time playing in Manitoba, the pacey winger had the opportunity to play in the National Championships. While she may not possess the same speed she did as a youth, Nadine still enjoys playing.
Off the pitch, Nadine's passion for soccer continues. A dedicated fan of the Women's National Team, Nadine loves to watch soccer to deepen her understanding. Notably, she loves to watch Manchester City and Bayern Munich, with a fixed eye on Bayern star Alphonso Davies, her favourite player alongside Ashley Lawrence. Nadine is also an avid golfer who enjoys the simple things in life like baking, cooking and reading.
There is no doubt Nadine wants to hit the ground running. When speaking to her about her new role Nadine's excitement exuded. "I am so excited to get to know all the coaches and staff at North Toronto and to learn from everyone. I have so much respect and admiration for this club and am just thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of it. I am also really excited about getting to know two new teams of players and getting back on the field again once we can. I feel like North Toronto is a club in which I will be challenged to constantly better myself, to stretch beyond my comfort zone, and to learn from some of the best in the game."
Similarly, the club and staff are incredibly excited to have Nadine on-board. Technical Director Billy Wilson highlighted the clubs' feelings towards Nadine joining North Toronto. "We are extremely excited to welcome Nadine to the club. Nadine is an experienced B License Coach with a proven track record of success at various levels of the youth game in Ontario. Much of this success can be attributed to Nadine's ability to connect with others. Not only will Nadine be an asset to the club due to her technical ability, but also her interpersonal skills and ability to inspire others."
It is without a doubt the connection between Nadine and the North Toronto Nitros community will be instantaneous. Along with her enthusiasm in joining the club, Nadine wants to continue to add to the competitive program's structure to provide a seamless transition from grassroots. More than anything, Nadine wants to help the maturation process for all players. "I hope to be able to share my belief in the value of a holistic approach to coaching – helping to develop healthy and happy people with a wide variety of skills they may have honed on the soccer pitch that they can take into the rest of their lives."
PABLO'S DUTCH OF CLASS PAYS OFF
Hemplemann signs with Dutch club NAC Breda after impressing on trial
By Vance Abreu, March 2nd 2021
Pablo Hemplemann, now former North Toronto Nitros College Prep player, has begun his professional journey after signing with Dutch club NAC Breda. Under Head Coach Rogier Molhoek, Hemplemann joins the Under 18 squad boasting some of the best youngsters in the Netherlands. After a successful stint on trial with the club, Pablo caught the coaching staff's eye due to his creativity and goal-scoring from an advanced midfield position.
Following his mandatory quarantine period, Pablo will join the talented Under-19 group at Sportcomplex Weksenwiel as they try to capture the U-18 Keuken Kampioen Divisie competing against quality opponents such as Young AZ and FC Groningen.
Hemplemann's aim to play for the first team comes as no surprise. "Holland has definitely been one of the primary countries in producing young talent over the years. I think it is down to how much they train players' technical/tactical abilities. In Holland, you learn how to make quick and effective decisions under pressure while staying composed, as many of their drills in practice are in tight spaces." The potential to develop in the Dutch system that has seen Frenkie De Jong, Donny van de Beek and Sergiño Dest recently emerge on the global stage with Dutchman Frenkie and American Sergiño regularly featuring for Spanish giants FC Barcelona.
NAC Breda recent hardships prevented the club from remaining in the top flight, being relegated two seasons ago. However, an affiliation with City Football Group (owners of Manchester City) in 2016, hopes to reinvigorate the club as they seek promotion back into the Eredivisie. Currently, the first team sits fourth, four points off automatic qualification to the Eredivisie.
While the club has had over a century of professional Football experience, Pablo's professional career is just beginning. At the tender age of 17, Pablo now resides in Breda, over 6000 km from his home in Toronto. As excited as Pablo is to start his new chapter in Europe, his bittersweet farewell to his North Toronto Nitros career spanning over eight years has come to an end. "Of course, it would be fun to play another season at NT with the team I've been with since I was a kid. However, I think now is the time to make a big step to Europe."
Similarly, Marko Milanovic, current College Prep head coach and mentor to Pablo for years, the ending is touching. Although it was undoubtedly hard for Marko to say goodbye to his talented midfielder, Marko understands that his job was to get his players to showcase their talents on stages similar to Pablo's. "Pablo has many qualities as a player. He has a great ability to keep his emotions in check when he is on the field and rarely seems overwhelmed or nervous, regardless of the occasion... His ability to create in the final third, via pass, dribble or shot, is something that's special. Furthermore, when it comes to technical proficiency, he is one of the best youth players that I've been around."
As a club, North Toronto Nitros could not be prouder of Pablo's achievements and steps on his young journey. Since 2012, Pablo has featured in Nitros programming. Once he reached U13, the beginning of competitive football, Pablo and 2003 Boys were the standard-bearers for the OPDL, winning the league and cup on multiple occasions, including the 2019 Charity Shield, coincidentally marking the last time Pablo played a competitive match for the club. Pablo now joins the likes of Kael Dimitrov, Ralph Priso and Quinn, all former Nitros playing professionally globally.
CANADA CALL-UP FOR NITROS GRADUATE RALPH
Herdman invites TFC teenager Priso to Florida camp
HEAD OF THE CLASS...Nitros alumni Ralph Priso earns his first Canada call-up at the age of 18
NORTH TORONTO NITROS SOCCER graduate Ralph Priso of Toronto FC has capped a memorable 2020 with the best Christmas gift he could have wished for – a call-up to the Canadian Men’s National Team.
The 18-year-old TFC midfielder, who made his MLS breakthrough this year, will be part of coach John Herdman’s squad for the international camp in Bradenton, Florida, next month.
This closed-doors get-together gives Herdman one final chance to connect with his players ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers which are scheduled to begin in March 2021.
Despite all the frustrations and obstacles of 2020 it has been a year to remember for Ralph who joined Nitros from childhood club Clairlea Westview when he was 12 years old.
Priso has come through the Canadian National team set-up at both U15 and U17 level and believes his campaign at the latter level taught him some valuable lessons for the step up.
He said: “With the 17s in the World Cup in my eyes we did what we were expected to do in qualifying but when we got to the Finals we lost all three games.
“We lost to the hosts Brazil there who were the best team I have EVER played against.
“Those guys were on a different level and we got destroyed 4-1 but I felt then that with a lot of hard work I could play with them.”
This year Priso’s work ethic and class in midfield earned him big game minutes alongside Toronto FC midfield general Michael Bradley towards the end of title-winning coach Greg Vanney’s reign at the club.
Now he has the chance to impress Herdman in a camp that will include two training matches as well as an inter-squad scrimmage as the national coach assesses a squad of experienced players and young prospects.
Herdman reasoned: “As a step towards FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the January camp provides our Men’s National Team with an opportunity to re-immerse the group both tactically and culturally towards competitive matches in March.”
The men’s national team face a busy 2021 with FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying and the Concacaf Gold Cup.
In the World Cup games Canada will host Bermuda at home on Thursday March 25 and then travel away to face Cayman Islands on Sunday March 28.
Canada’s initial group also includes Suriname and Aruba and Herdman’s side will be hot favourites to advance to the next stage.
That puts them into a play-off situation over two games against another CONCACAF group winner with three teams then joining
Costa Rica, USA, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico for an eight-team round robin that will see the top three go through to Qatar 2022.
The fourth-placed team in that tournament will face an intercontinental play-off.
It’s a long and winding road to make Qatar but Nitros alumni Ralph now has a chance to take his first steps on it in the Florida sunshine next month.
And for Nitros Technical Director Billy Wilson Ralph’s achievements are a source of pride for everyone at the club.
He said: “This call up to the National Team camp caps a special year for Ralph and everyone at North Toronto Soccer is extremely proud of his recent accomplishments.
“It’s important that young players in the Toronto community have local examples of what can be achieved in the game and Ralph continues to demonstrate what is possible when you combine talent with hard work.”
GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK- James Pantemis | CAN / Impact de Montréal
GK- Dayne St. Clair | USA / Minnesota United FC
CB- Derek Cornelius | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
CB- Belal Halbouni | GER / SV Werder Bremen II
CB- Kamal Miller | CAN / Impact de Montréal
CB- Frank Sturing | NED / FC Den Bosch
CB- Joel Waterman | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Samuel Adekugbe | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
FB- Zorhan Bassong | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Zachary Brault-Guillard | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Tajon Buchanan | USA / New England Revolution
FB- Cristián Gutierrez | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
FB- Alistair Johnston | USA / Nashville SC
FB- Richie Laryea | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Tesho Akindele | USA / Orlando City SC
M- Marco Bustos | CAN / Pacific FC
M- Liam Fraser | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Mark-Anthony Kaye | USA / Los Angeles FC
M- Noble Okello | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Jonathan Osorio | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Samuel Piette | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Ralph Priso | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Ayo Akinola | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Lucas Cavallini | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F- Marcelo Flores | ENG / Arsenal U-18
F- Jayden Nelson | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Theo Corbeanu | ENG / Wolverhampton Wolves