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Rovers' 'thrilling' first-year ride ends with loss in Vaughan

Ethan Beckford opened the scoring, but two second-half goals from Azzuri ended up being too much for the Rovers to overcome


BARRIE — The Simcoe County Rovers lost 2-1 to Vaughan Azzuri on Saturday, ending their thrilling, successful inaugural season in the semifinals.

Facing one of the best soccer clubs in the province, the Rovers hung with Azzuri all game long and even opened the scoring on a 12th-minute goal from Ethan Beckford, but two second-half goals from Azzuri ended up being too much for the Rovers to overcome.

The loss ends a successful season for the franchise, on both the men’s and women’s sides.

For the men, they finished fifth place in the League1 standings during the regular season, which allowed them to make the playoffs in their first season.

They continued their success into the playoffs, where they beat North Toronto Nitros on the road to win their first-ever playoff game as a franchise before being one half away from making it to the finals.

The team experienced success on the individual side of things, too, highlighted by Beckford, who found the back of the net 17 times in 19 games. Not to be outdone was Shawn Claud-Lawson, who scored six goals while assisting on many of Beckford’s goals.

Equally as important to the Rovers was seeing a pair of their players move onto bigger and better things.

It started with Leaford Allen, who transferred from the Rovers to the New Zealand Premier League in May and continued with local native Aodhan O’Hara, who recently transferred to Manchester 62 FC in the Gibraltar National League after spending time in Ireland on training.

The women experienced their fair share of success too, as evident by making the playoffs as the fifth seed and being in contention to host a home playoff game right until the very end of the regular season.

They were led all season long by Cloey Uddenberg, who led the team in goals with 10. Not far behind her was Brianne Desa, who tallied six goals for the ladies.

Just as important to their success was goalkeeper Yazmeen Jamieson, who picked up four clean sheets on the season for the Rovers.

Combined, the Rovers, who saw the crowds grow larger and larger each week, finished the season with the second-highest point total in League1 with 85 points shared between the men’s and women’s teams.

The success of both teams has the Rovers in the driver’s seat to make it to the top division of League1 for the 2024 season, which was a priority for the Rovers franchise heading into the season.

While the season may be over, the news cycle is never! Follow us all off season long on our socials @RoversFC_L1O.