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
Founded: February 14, 1973
Stadium: Cove Road Field, London
General manager: Harry Gauss
North York Talons
Stadium: Esther Shiner Stadium, North York
North York Talons had a Carribean connection and consisted of only black players.
Oakville Western Canadians
Stadium: Sheridan College, Oakville
General manager: Dominic Palmiotta
Player coach: Mike Palmiotta
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
Stadium: Club Roma Field, St. Catharines
Founded: November 23, 1990 as North York Atletico Argentina Soccer Club Stadium: Birchmount Stadium, Scarborough
Head coach: Jorge Armua
Stadium: Rainbow Creek Park, Woodbridge
General manager: Joe Mallozzi
Head coach: Peter Pinizzotto
Founded: 1994 (as Portuguese United)
Stadium: Lamport Stadium, Toronto
Head coach: Cesar Garcia
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