Junior Emily Tustin is finding success on the pitch this summer as a member of the London Gryphons in the Women’s Pro-Am Soccer League in Canada.Tustin recently was voted her team’s MVP following a 0-0 draw against Hamilton in the first match of the season.
“My mission for the game was to man-mark the top striker in Canada,” wrote Tustin in an email to the Toledo coaching staff. “She played on Team Canada. I was voted MVP for the match, and our team and I received honorable mention accolades from the league.”
Beginning in 1995, the W-League is a professional soccer league that allows women to play at a professional level while remaining eligible for collegiate athletics. The W-League is one step below the Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPS), which is deemed to be one of the best women’s soccer leagues worldwide. With the termination of the WPS for the 2012 season, many WPS and national team players from all over the world have committed to W-League teams.
Currently, there are three conferences in the W-League with 27 teams from both the United States and Canada. The Gryphons compete in the Central Conference against the Hamilton FC Rage, Toronto Lynx, Laval Comets, Ottawa Fury, Rochester Ravens and Quebec City Admiral SC.
As the main developmental league for women’s soccer in North America, the W-League is governed by the United Soccer League, which operates the men’s professional league as well as the premier development league.
This past fall, Tustin started five of 18 matches for the 2011 Mid-American Conference Champion Rockets. The London, Ontario, native scored her lone goal of the season vs. Ohio in opening round of MAC Tournament and saw at least 45 minutes of match action on six occasions.