League1 Ontario Adds 1812 FC
When League1 Ontario announced four new men’s expansion teams last month, league commissioner Dino Rossi stated that further expansion news could come in the near future. Today, that news is here.
The Ontario-based semi-professional league has just announced that 1812 FC has been added for the 2021 season, bringing the total number of teams in the division to 21 in all.
We are very pleased to be able to announce 1812 FC as the latest addition to the League1 Ontario Men’s Premier Division. The organization has great potential, and we believe there is great excitement for League1 Ontario in the Barrie-Huronia region.Dino Rossi
When 1812 FC was first announced, it turned heads with its ambitious staff hirings and intentions to potentially join the Canadian Premier League should the venture prove sustainable.
Given that the club was born from an unlikely meeting between founder Andrew Weilgus and a dedicated fan, those are lofty goals that could eventually lead to a substantial impact in both Barrie and the Huronia region. Step one, of course, is to prove sustainable at the League1 Ontario level.
The were concerns over the club’s future when a recent split in the club’s front office saw executive Peter Raco and Club President Julian de Guzman begin their own venture with a different prospective League1 Ontario side, FC Barrie, but it appears that Weilgus has steadied the ship at 1812 FC in time to receive League1 Ontario clearance to play in the 2021 season.
The club still reports that former Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao and former TFC athlete Jeremy Hall are part of the advisory board, with former FC Edmonton head coach Jeff Paulus also assisting in a similar voluntary role.
The side parted ways with affiliate side Barrie Soccer Club – who elected to partner with the aforementioned FC Barrie – with the Innisfil Soccer Club taking its place for 1812 FC.
Notably, Rossi also mentioned that the league is hopeful that 1812 FC can improve opportunities for players who live in more Northern communities, with 1812 FC presently being the most northern League1 Ontario side. Earlier this month, the Thunder Bay Chill announced that it would be opting out of the 2021 USL season.
The current 1812 FC front office staff list also includes local businessman Kraig Schwartz as an advisor, Barrie Sports tourism board member Louise Jackson listed as team secretary, and former NCAA player Alex Trujillo listed as the Director of Business Development. Weilgus – who also co-owns NPSL side Atlantic City FC – has also brought in the club’s general manager in another advisory role for 1812 FC.
It is unclear if FC Barrie, the other group seeking to establish League1 Ontario roots in the Barrie area, will be joining the league in time for the 2021 season. If both sides get league approval, one imagines there’ll be a substantial rivalry between the two.
Peter Raco and Julian de Guzman offered the following comment on today’s announcement:
FC Barrie looks forward to potential opportunities with high performance soccer in Ontario and [the] Huronia Region. We wish all clubs in our region the best! It’s outstanding to see the game grow and we look forward to participating in this growth.Peter Raco & Julian de Guzman
While League1 Ontario was unable to take to the pitch last year, it’s clearly hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic will allow for competitive play for the eighth League1 Ontario season. The current champions, Master’s Futbol Academy, won the title in September 2019.
The League1 Ontario women’s premier division has also seen expansion this year, with three new teams being announced earlier this month. Of course, the growth of the semi-professional game in Canada isn’t limited to just Ontario, with League1 BC appearing to be on the precipice of announcing its inaugural season.