1996 Canadian National Soccer League

President: Peter Li Preti
League commisioner: Michael Di Biase

Three new franchises were added to the league. Portuguese United of the Canadian International Soccer League joined the NSL, and changed their name to Toronto Supra. The other two new franchises were North York Talons and Oakville Western Canadians.

Clubs and players

London City

Founded: February 14, 1973
Stadium: Cove Road Field, London
General manager: Harry Gauss
Player coach:
Key players:

North York Talons

Founded:
Stadium: Esther Shiner Stadium, North York
General manager:
Player coach:
Key players:

North York Talons had a Carribean connection and consisted of only black players.

Oakville Western Canadians

Founded: 1996
Stadium: Sheridan College, Oakville
General manager: Dominic Palmiotta
Player coach: Mike Palmiotta
Key players:

Oakville Western Canadians were led by manager Dominic Palmiotta and player-coach Mike Palmiotta. They recruicted a number of former CNSL players for their team.

St. Catharines Wolves

Founded: 1967
Stadium: Club Roma Field, St. Catharines
General manager:
Player coach:
Key players:

Scarborough Astros
Founded: November 23, 1990 as North York Atletico Argentina Soccer Club Stadium: Birchmount Stadium, Scarborough
Head coach: Jorge Armua
Key players:

Toronto Italia

Founded: 1972
Stadium: Rainbow Creek Park, Woodbridge
General manager: Joe Mallozzi
Head coach: Peter Pinizzotto
Key players:

Toronto Supra

Founded: 1994 (as Portuguese United)
Stadium: Lamport Stadium, Toronto
Head coach: Cesar Garcia
Key players:

Review of the season

The opening match of the 1996 season was played on Friday May 31st with London City beating North York Talons 4-1. Toronto Italia moved their home games to Rainbrow Creek Park in Woodbridge and regurarly attracted up to 400-500 fans.

The highlight of the season was the Toronto Italia versus the CNSL All-stars match with Diego Maradona playing for Italia. Diego was visiting his brother in Toronto and Lalo convinced him to play in the hastily arranged exhibition game. 7,000 fans watched the match at Birchmount Stadium on Monday September 2 with Italia winning the game 2-1. Diego Maradona scored the winning goal with a curling corner kick. 

On November 8th, 1996 at the Hollywood Princess Banquet Hall in the City of Vaughan the NSL held its 75th Anniversary Awards Gala Night. Peter Pinizzotto was voted coach of the year. Michele Gioia was voted MVP. 400 people attended the awards night.

Results and standings

League standings               Gp W  L  T  For  Ag Pts
1. Toronto Italia              12 10  0  2  51   7  32
2. St. Catharines Wolves       11  8  1  2  36   4  26
3. Toronto Supra               12  6  2  4  25  12  22
4. Oakville Western Canadians  11  5  4  2  26  18  17
5. London City                 12  3  8  1  10  41  10
6. Scarborough Astros          10  0  7  3   2  23   3
7. North York Talons           12  0 10  2   8  53   2
  
Oakville Western Canadians at Scarborough and St. Catharines games were not played. 
  
Leading goalscorer
1. Michele Gioia (Toronto Italia)
  
Play-offs:
Semifinals
October 16, 1996 
St Catharines Wolves 0
Toronto Supra 0
  
October 20, 1996
Toronto Supra 1
St. Catharines Wolves 2 
  
St. Catharines Wolves won series 2-1
  
October 20, 1996 Rainbow Creek Stadium, Woodbridge
Toronto Italia 2
Oakville Western Canadians 3
  
October 21, 1996 Bronte Park, Oakville
Oakville Western Canadians 1
Toronto Italia 4
  
Toronto Italia won series 6-4
  
Finals
October 24, 1996
St. Catharines Wolves 0
Toronto Italia 5
  
October 27, 1996 Rainbow Creek Stadium, Woodbridge
Toronto Italia 6
St. Catharines Wolves 0
  
Toronto Italia won series 11-0