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London Free Press Sports Section:


Hunt starts for Ontario Cup

Kathy Rumleski, Free Press Sports Reporter   2003-05-09 11:31:30  

Sixty-seven London teams are vying for the most coveted cup in provincial soccer.

Action begins later this month in the preliminary rounds of the Ontario Cup.

There were 638 teams in 22 divisions from across the province that entered the Cup draw, which took place April 12.

Last year there were 663 teams.

Robyn McComb, a Cup co-ordinator, says the men's division is one group that is down slightly in entries. But he says the Cup is still the most-coveted of prizes.

"It's maintaining its high profile."

Last year, London Portuguese captured the men's Ontario Cup in a thrilling 3-1 victory over North York Carolea Azzurri.

The Portuguese play in the Western Ontario Soccer League, which begins its season today, and open their season with an 8 p.m. game at home tomorrow against London Marconi.

The team, which is also the defending WOSL champ, is in the hunt again for the Ontario Cup and has a bye into the second round, which will be held June 22.

The other WOSL men's teams in the quest for the Cup are Benfica, FC Porto Sarnia Bluewater Blaze, Marconi and AEK Olympic.

Two first-round men's games will be held in London on June 8.

Marconi plays at home against AEK Olympic and Porto plays host to Windsor Ciociaro.

In the women's draw, five London and area teams entered -- Chatham, Sarnia Spirit, Corunna Wildcats, London Marconi and London United Lightning.

Two games in that division will be held in London.

Windsor Cabota Strikers play at Marconi on June 22 and the London United Lightning will play the Sudbury Canadians on July 6 at Cove Road field.

In the age divisions, two preliminary rounds and a first- round will be held in London.

The London Southend Wizards under-13 boys play host to a May 24-25 preliminary round which includes the Sarnia Fury, Niagara-on-the-Lake Storm and Burlington Gunners.

The North London Dynamite under-14 boys will play host to a preliminary round June 7-8.

Teams coming to London that weekend are the Markham Lightning, Windsor FC Nationals and the North Mississauga Panthers.

The North London Supernova under-13 girls will hold a first-round tournament July 19-20.

The other teams involved are the Kitchener Spirit, Etobicoke Hurricanes, Windsor Eastside Kickers and the winner of the Group 1 preliminary round.

McComb said teams had to submit a bid in January to hold a Cup tournament.

A committee then looked at the bids.

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