1961 National Soccer League

President: Walter Freer
Vice-president: Aldo Cecchi, Montreal
Directors: Charlie Jamieson, Toronto and M. Michalofsky, Toronto
Secretary-manager: Frank Thirkettle

Preview of the season

The annual general meeting was held in Toronto on Saturday January 14, 1961. Walter Freer was re-elected as president of the league. Montreal Ukraina and Toronto Tridents were voted out of the league. As the two clubs had finished bottom of the league they had to re-apply for admission to the league and this was unsuccesful for both clubs. In a step to get away from being labelled an Italian club the Hamilton Italo-Canadians informed the league that they would change their name to the Hamilton Steelers. Toronto Sparta were also granted the right to a name change as an Italian group had purchased the club from Czech interests the previous season. The new name was to be Toronto Roma. The Hamilton club also suggested that the Toronto clubs should share the gate receipts for the matches in Toronto. This matter was tabled until the annual meeting was to be convened in Montreal on January 28.

The new Toronto Roma franchise were looking forward to an intense rivalry with Toronto Italia. However the Italia club resigned together with Hamilton Italo-Canadians and Montreal Cantalia, and all of these three clubs joined the new professional circuit the Eastern Canadian Professional Soccer League. They were joined in that league by the newly-formed Toronto City.

Montreal Concordia also played in the International Soccer League that was organised by Bill Cox. The club was coached by Skender Perolli. The club won the Canadian Challenge Trophy for the second time in their history when they defeated Vancouver Firefighters in the final.

Concordia’s roster for the Canadian Challenge final was goalkeeper Emilio Svich; fullbacks Hector Lopez and Gabrielle DeToni; half-backs Charlie Horvath, Hector Marinaro and captain Tommy Barrett; forwards Steve Stancik, Hector Dadderio, Joao Jorge, Olivio Lacerda, Tito Maule, Jose Sanchez, Humberto Gambaro and Arpad Kiraly.

Review of the season

The season opened on Sunday April 23 with Toronto Hungaria defeating Toronto Olympia 6-2 in front of 4,000 fans at Stanley Park. On Saturday April 29 Ulster United beat Montreal Concordia 3-2 in front of 1,687 fans in Toronto. Johnny Menzies, Bobby James and John McManus scored for Ulster. Charlie Horvath and Humberto Gambaro scored for Concordia. The following day 4,316 fans watched Toronto Ukraina and Montreal Concordia play to a 4-4 tie. George Crook and Ken Smith scored two goals each for Ukraina. Hector Dadderio, Joao Jorge, Tito Maule and Jorge Sanchez scored for Concordia.

On Monday May 8 Montreal Concordia beat Toronto Roma 2-0 in front of 5,500 fans at Stanley Park. Joao Jorge scored one goal for Concordia, the other goal was an own goal by a Toronto defender.

On Saturday night May 13 Montreal Concordia defeated Tornto Hungaria 3-0 in Toronto. Olivia Lacerda scored twice and Hector Dosantos once for Concordia.

On May 14 Toronto Roma defeated Toronto White Eagles 2-0 at Stanley Park in front of 6,250 fans. Hector Noreno and Brazilian forward Olinto Rubini scored for Roma. Polish White Eagles included new signings Ted Purdon, formerly of Sunderland, and Hector Pizorno, formerly of Argentinian club Newell’s Old Boys and twin brother of Roma’s Angelo Pizorno.

On Tuesday night May 30 Roma defeated Polish White Eagles 1-0 in Toronto. Argentinian forward Hector Cribioli scored the only goal of the game in the 86 minute.

Former Middlesbrough inside forward George Crook scored two goals to lead Toronto Ukraina to a 3-1 win over Ulster United on Sunday June 4. Leo Dowhaluk scored Ukrainia’s third goal and Andy Young scored for Ulster United on a penalty kick. 850 fans watched the game at Stanley Park.

Later in the season Ken Smith joined Toronto Italia in the ECPSL. Ken was known as a happy wanderer. After the ECPSL season he joined Halifax City in England.

On August 24 Montreal Concordia defeated Toronto Hungaria 2-0 in front of a crowd 1,000 in Toronto. Inside left Humberto Gambaro and outside right Arpad Kiraly scored Concordia’s goals.

Toronto Roma won the league championship on Tuesday September 26 when they beat Concordia 4-1 in the final league game of the season.

Concordia declined to take part in the play-offs as its foreign players were about to leave.

Toronto Ukraina captured its fourth National Soccer League title by beating Toronto Hungaria in the Labatts Cup finals. Ukraina won the best-of-three final in two straight games.

The NSL saw its gates reduced from 241,000 in 1960 to less than 100,000 in 1961.

After the season Toronto Roma joined the ECPSL. The Toronto White Eagles applied to join the ECPSL, the application was accepted on the condition that the White Eagles operated out of Buffalo. The Polish club officials reluctently accepted this.  

Final standings

National Soccer League Play-offs

Play-offs (Round-robin series)

October 4, 1961 Toronto
Toronto White Eagles 0
Toronto Ukraina 2

October 5, 1961 Toronto
Toronto Hungaria 3 (Imre Dora, Julius Beraxa, John Gyonyi)
Toronto Roma 0

October 8, 1961 Toronto
Toronto White Eagles 2
Toronto Ukraina 3

October 9, 1961 Toronto
Toronto Hungaria 4 (Lajos Gorgenyi 4)
Olympia Harmonie 2 

Labatts Cup Finals

October ??, 1961 Toronto
Toronto Ukraina 1
Toronto Hungaria 0

October 22, 1961 Toronto
Attendance: 1,871
Toronto Ukraina 1 (Sylvester Chorneawsky)
Toronto Hungaria 0

Exhibition game

July 13, 1961 Stanley Park, Toronto
National Soccer League All-Stars 3 (Ted Purdon 2, Gordon Bradley)
Hapoel Petach-Tikva 1 (Beaz Kaufman)

National Soccer League All-Star roster: Goalkeeper Frank Schwart (Roma) and Vigh (Hungaria); fullbacks Donnelly (Roma), McAuley (Ulster United) and Steve Carty (Polish White Eagles); half-backs Gordon Bradley (Ukraina), Jimmy Cairney (Roma), Szarzynski (Polish White Eagles) and Welsh (Hungaria); forwards Attilio Gallassini (Roma), Willie Hubert (Roma), Olinto Rubini (Roma), Giacomo Stecker (Roma), Ted Purdon (Polish White Eagles), George Crook (Ukraina) and Ross (Olympia).

Other Leagues and Cups


President: Harold Ballard, Toronto
First vice-president: John Longworth, Hamilton
Second vice-president: John Parkinson, Toronto
Secretary: Bill Simpson, Toronto
Treasurer: Al Agnelli, Toronto
Duncan Beattie, Hamilton Steelers
Pete Bosa, Toronto Italia
Steve Stavro, Toronto City
Aldo Cecchi, Montreal Cantalia

League formation

The Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League was formed in Toronto on Thursday March 2, 1961. It started with Toronto Italia leaving the National Soccer League to join Toronto City and Hamilton Steelers. It was expected that Montreal Cantalia would also join the league.


Referees included: Mike Devine

Clubs and players

Hamilton Steelers
President: Arnold Martini
General manager: Tally Tatti
Head coach: Hugh McLean
Key players: Goalkeeper Enore Zanori; fullback Dave Hartwell; half-backs Jimmy Smith and Andre Rios; forwards Phil Cannavacciuolo, Peter Smethurst, Umberto Stabellini.

Montreal Cantalia
General manager: Nick Schmidingen, replaced by Severino Sylvestre
Head coach: Norberto Iacono
Key players: Goalkeeper Walter Ormeno; fullbacks Sergio Chira and Giulio Neira; half-backs Bobby Johnstone and Nevo Varglien; forwards Ismail Ferreira, Fausto Rosello, Andy Toth and Ante Kosta

Toronto City
Formed: 1959
Colors: Red and white
Owner: Steve Stavros
General manager: George Gross
Head coach: Tommy Younger
Assistant coach: Jimmy Gilmour
Key players: Goalkeepers Tommy Younger and Barry Smart; fullbacks Charlie Garvin, David Caldwell and Tommy McGlennon; half-backs Andy Fraser and Andy Gearie; forwards Stanley Matthews, Danny Blanchflower, Alan Morton and Jackie Mudie.

Toronto Italia
Nickname: The Azzurris
Stadium: Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Colors: Blue shirts
General manager:
Head coach: Tony Codeluppi
Key players: Goalkeeper Gianni DiDavide; fullbacks Mario Pizutti and Angelo Romanin; half-back Bob Kelly; forwards Bruno Bertolin, Fred Bundschoks, Wally Hinshelwood, Graham McInnes and Francisco Quaglia.

Review of the season

Toronto City announced the signing of former Scottish international goalkeeper Tommy Younger as player coach on April 4.

On Thursday night April 27 Toronto City announced the signing of three more players from the United Kingdom. The three players were Jackie Mudie, of Stoke City; Roy Gatrix, Blackpool and Barry Smart, Chelsea.

On Thursday night May 11 nine British players arrived to play for Toronto City.

Montreal Cantalia lost its home opener against Hamilton Steelers on Sunday May 14. An estimated crowd of 5,000 saw the Steelers win 2-1.

The opening game in Toronto was played on Saturday night May 20, with Toronto Italia beating Toronto City 3-2. 16,509 fans watched the game at Varsity Stadium.

Jack Mudie scored three goals to give Toronto City a 5-1 win over Montreal Cantalia on Wednesday night May 24. Stanley Matthews scored one goal and assisted on a goal scored by Ambrose Morgan. Ismael Ferreira scored for Cantalia. 7,515 fans watched the game in Toronto.

Toronto City won the regular season league championship based on goal average over Montreal Cantalia.

Leading goalscorers

1. Peter SmethurstHamilton Steelers16
2. Ismael FerreiraMontreal Cantalia12
3. Bruno BertolinToronto Italia11
3. Ambrose MorganToronto City11
5. CannavacciouloHamilton Steelers9


September 21, 1961 Hamilton
Montreal Cantalia 4
Hamilton Steelers 1

September 23, 1961 Delorimier Stadium, Montreal
Montreal Cantalia 4 (Ante Kosta 2, Andy Toth, Nick Filiopione)
Hamilton Steelers 1 (Gunnar Pinkenelle)

Cantalia won series

September 23, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Toronto City 0
Toronto Italia 0

September 25, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 3,668
Toronto City 2 (Ambrose Morgan, Willie Huberts)
Toronto Italia 1 (Ken Smith)

September 27, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 3,758
Toronto City 2
Toronto Italia 6

Italia won series

President’s Cup

September 30, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 5,000
Toronto Italia 1 (Ken Smith)
Montreal Cantalia 1 (Ante Kosta)

October 8, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 5,435
Referee: Ray Morgan
Toronto Italia 1
Montreal Cantalia 2

October 9, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Montreal Cantalia 3 (Emil Erbach, Andy Toth, Nick Filippino)
Toronto Italia 0

Montreal Cantalia won the President’s Cup

Exhibition games

June 7, 1961 Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Attendance: 3,568
Montreal Cantalia 3 (Vic Santini 2, Nevio Varglien)
Stade de Reims (France) 5 (Vincent 2, Piantoni 2, Faivre)
* Taped coverage of the game was shown later that night on CJOH

June 11, 1961 Hamilton
Attendance: 4,000
Hamilton Steelers 1
Stade de Reims (France) 8

June 14, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 5,000
Referee: Ray Morgan
Birmingham City 2 (Jimmy Bloomfield, John Harris)
Stade Reims 1 (Roger Faire)

June 18, 1961 Ottawa
Ottawa & District All-Stars 1 (Johnny Szabo)
Montreal Cantalia 6 (Ros Valentino 4, Fausto Rosello, Jorge Sanchez)

June 21, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Toronto Italia 0
Stade de Reims (France) 9 (Jacques Favre 4, Roger Piantoni 4, Michael LeBolond)

June 22, 1961 Delorimier Stadium, Montreal
Attendance: 3,600
Montreal Cantalia 1 (Nevio Varglien penalty)
Stade de Reims (France) 4 (Bruno Rodzik, Roger Piantoni, Michel LeBlond, Lucien Muller)

June 24, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Toronto City 2 (Ambrose Morgan 2)
Stade de Reims (France) (Jean Muller)