Esther Shiner Stadium will be the site of the CPSL playoffs
North York Astros suddenly find themselves the centre of attraction.
The team from north Toronto is becoming the focal point of Canada’s only professional soccer league and others as they prepare to host the CPSL playoffs leading to the Rogers Cup Final and the season-end gala banquet on October 20.
North York Astros will play host and pay tribute to the championship team and those individuals having excelled during the season just past.
Bruno Ierullo, general manager of the Astros, explains they are in the midst of quite a campaign preparing for the event, while at the same time attempting to improve their lowly position in the Western Conference standings.
“We knew it was going to be a lot of work—and responsibility if we were successful in being awarded the championship,” he said while preparing for a game recently. “But we are prepared for that and with the help of the community, the city and NYSA we will do a big job for the league and for soccer.”
“Our league and cup schedule is a heavy one and the team will do its best while we welcome the opportunity to bring so many people together in what will be an exciting last week of the season ” said Ierullo.
Playoff time is an exciting time at any time, but there is special interest in this fifth year for the CPSL as more expansion teams bid to take away honours previously held by clubs that have been around for decades.
St. Catharines Roma Wolves count this as season 35 and the Garden City team has won the trophy twice—the inaugural 1998 CPSL season at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke and again last year when they pulled off an upset at their home ground following a fifth place finish in the regular season standings. Toronto Olympians were champions in 1999 when the finals were held at the Civic Stadium in Oshawa and the following year Toronto Croatia, which has been around since 1955, also won the playoff title. The championship series was hosted by London City that year to draw large numbers at the Cove Road ground.
The Astros is one of the most community-oriented clubs in the CPSL and its season-long family pass at a price of just $20 for youth clubs in North York is considered one of the more progressive steps by a professional club to make pro soccer affordable.
“It’s this type of action that has made many clubs look up to the Astros and just one of the many reasons the CPSL directors considered North York deserves to host the championship,” said Vincent Ursini, CPSL president.