Play. Inspire. Unite.
Ontario Soccer’s Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) wrapped up its seventh season this weekend, as the Ontario Soccer Centre played host to the OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield finals.
This year marked the return of the province’s top standards-based youth soccer high performance development program.
The OPDL, which largely operated as a ‘training-only’ program in 2020 due to prevalent public health restrictions, returned with a full slate of competition in 2021, culminating now with The OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield.
Miller, the former Ontario Soccer Director of Soccer Operations, passed away in May of 2020 and his influence on soccer in Ontario was nowhere more impactful than his work in developing the standards for the OPDL.
This weekend featured Ottawa TFC taking on Markham SC in the U-17 Girls OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield.
Ottawa TFC got on the board first in the 25th minute when a scramble in the box fell to the foot of Lea Francoeur. Francoeur poked at it and her half volley did enough to beat the Markham keeper and give her side a 1-0 lead.
Ottawa doubled their lead in the 30th minute when Flavie Dube got on the end of a corner kick and nodded her header down and into the back of the Markham net to make it 2-0.
Markham clawed their way back into the game just before halftime when a cross from Emma Warren found the head of Paige Chiusolo. Chiusolo’s header sailed over the Ottawa keeper, to reduce the lead to 2-1.
Seconds after the second half began, Dube led her side down the field and laid her pass off to Rachel Vermaire. Vermaire’s shot took a deflection and skipped past the outstretched arms of the Markham keeper to restore the two goal lead for Ottawa.
Ottawa had a chance to increase their lead to 4-1 in the 64th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick. On the ensuing penalty, Markham’s keeper Gurleen Toor was up to the task as she guessed right and deflected the shot off the crossbar and away.
From there, Ottawa set up shop, held possession and saw out the game for a 3-1 win and the U-17 Girls OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield title.
Visit the Ontario Soccer Facebook page for all the photos from the final.