Great teams: 1960 Toronto Italia

Toronto Italia drew its support from Little Italy, described by the Toronto Star as “the Cosmopolitan area bounded by Spadina, Queen and Eglinton, that has become the home for some 150,000 Italians since the war”.

After losing out on winning the 1959 NSL championship by gaining one point less than Montreal Cantalia, Toronto Italia invested heavily in new players before the start of the 1960 season. Club manager Alan Astri spent close to $20,000 on new recruits and the club also hired Hungarian coach John Kiss.

Italia started the season with Hungarian ace Steve Fecske in goal. He had formerly played for MTK Budapest in Hungary, Deportivo Club Oro in Mexico and Toronto Hungaria. Fullbacks were five-year team veteran Angelo Romanin; the 22-year old team captain Mario Pizzuti; and Danilo Guerra.

The half-backs were 27-year old Giuseppe Schiabel; former Ulster United captain Bob Kelly; and Charlie Theuma who was signed from Malta United.

The forward line included 25-year old Argentinian Hector Cribioli; inside left Angelo Pizorno, German star Emil Erbach had played for Club Deportivo Oro in Mexico; former A.S. Roma and Hellas Verona player Attilio Galassini; 19 year-old inside forward Felice Parisotto; 25- year old Juan Novello, formerly of Mexican club Leon and Argentinian club Atalanta; and outside left Bruno Bertolin.

Italia started the season brightly much due to the goal scoring of Juan Novello. On June 24 Novello scored his ninth goal of the season in 4-1 win over Ulster United. Later in June Attilio Prior was signed from Lanerossi Vicenza at a cost of $3,000.

Angelo Pizorno scored all three goals for Italia when they beat Tridents 3-2 on July 15. Pizorno had now scored 12 league goals.

As Italia found themselves in a neck-and-neck race with Toronto Sparta for the league championship, soccer fans in Toronto started to flock to the games. On Wednesday August 3 Toronto Sparta and Toronto Italia played to a 2-2 tie in front of 8,052 fans at Stanley Park. It was the largest crowd so far in the season. A record crowd of 8,892 watched Sparta beat Toronto Italia 3-0 at Stanley Park on Wednesday August 10.

Toronto Italia clinched the league championship when they won 4-1 over Polish White Eagles on Tuesday October 4. It was Italia’s first league championship since 1957.

In the playoffs Italia edged out Toronto Sparta in the western section. Toronto Italia won the playoff championship by beating Montreal Cantalia in the finals.

Leading goal scorers for Italia in the 1960 season were Angelo Pizorno with 24 goals and Juan Novello with 15 goals.

Italia averaged over 6,000 fans but after the season the Toronto Star wrote that “Allan Astri’s $45,000 club lost some $6,000 on the season”.

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