by Alf De Blasis

Team Name, Front Office Staff & Player Roster Unveiled at Official Launch Party 

MISSISSAUGA, ON – In a pleasant outdoor setting on a mild September evening, Canada’s first franchise in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) was launched Wednesday. The Mississauga MetroStars officially became the arena league’s 17th club at an unveiling ceremony at Mississauga’s Celebration Square.

Key dignitaries including Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and MASL Commissioner Joshua Schaub joined the gathering as the MetroStars name was revealed in addition to the team’s front office staff, GM/head coach and player roster.

The star attraction on the night was former MLS MVP and Canadian international icon Dwayne DeRosario, who has agreed to come out of retirement to suit up for the MetroStars.

“This is a groundbreaking day for Canadian soccer and an honour for me to take part in something special” said DeRosario.

Gladiator Sports Media Entertainment Corp., a newly established Canadian sports and entertainment enterprise, is the ownership group behind the new franchise. Its vision is to be an entity synonymous with the growth of arena soccer in Canada and globally.

“Arena soccer can play a valuable part in developing the next generation of world class players,” said Gladiator Sports Founder and MetroStars President and CEO Serge Giancola.

Mississauga native Phil Ionadi is the new team’s General Manager and Head Coach. A former member of the Montreal Impact, both indoors and outdoors, Ionadi encouraged the many youth players in the audience to use the arena game as a pathway to achieving success in soccer.

“Our message to youth players is dream big and believe in yourselves, have confidence,” Ionadi said.

In addition to DeRosario, the MetroStars announced 11 other players who will make up the core of the Mississauga MASL squad for the 2018/19 season. Among the more notable players introduced, former MLS and Danish Super League defender Adrian Cann; Anthony Osorio, who has pro experience in Uruguay’s 1st division and is the brother of Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio; Sina Khandan, a veteran of the Iranian Premier League; and Josip Keran, a defender with playing experience in the Croatian 1st division. As per team and league policies, terms of their contracts were not disclosed.

The MetroStars will play in the MASL’s Eastern Division, with Utica City FC, Harrisburg Heat and the defending champion Baltimore Blast. The MetroStars’ home opener, at the newly named Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, is set for Saturday, December 8, 2018.