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.”

 

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."

GIRLS UNDER-15 CENTRAL

NORTH TORONTO NITROS...0 OAKVILLE..0

Match report to come

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."