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The OPDL Spotlight Series - Glen Shields Futbol Club

By OSA News, 08/30/16, 5:15PM EDT


Glen Shields Futbol Club (GFC) has been an OPDL license holder since the league’s inception in 2014. Starting with two teams, GFC now carries six OPDL teams with approximately 120 players participating in the program. The Club’s OPDL program is guided and developed by six highly experienced technical staff, along with a number of administrative personnel. The OPDL program at GFC is for parents and players who are committed to reaching elite levels offered in the sport and seeking a high quality training environment. Glen Shields has been a leader within coach and player development, and whatever the personal goals and aspirations are of a player, GFC provides our players with the tools necessary to achieve their dreams.

Why is it important for our club to be part of the OPDL? 

Since GFC strives to provide its players with the opportunity to train and play at the highest level, while adhering to the core principals of Long Term Player Development within its programs, it was only natural that we would apply to be part of the OPDL as a license holder. The OPDL combines top level competition with strict high performance training standards. Our OPDL teams are part of a high performance training program that is an important component of the overall movement to adopt the LTPD model across soccer at large in Ontario and Canada.

What makes your club different than the other 20 OPDL license holders? 

GFC is one of the smallest clubs in the OPDL league, and we pride ourselves on producing quality players on a consistent basis. Our track record with regional, provincial and national players is second to none in Ontario. To keep ourselves in the market, we created a "boutique" soccer environment, where quality is emphasized over quantity. We fully implemented LTPD into our house league program in 2012, ahead of the OSA scheduled mandate. In our competitive division, we mandated a minimum of pre-B coaching license six years ago, understanding that our players required the most qualified educators. GFC also has two part-time LTPD Directors on staff to supervise and develop the LTPD programs within our recreational division and within our youth (age 7-11) early competitive programs.

How do you educate parents of younger players about the OPDL program? 

One of the key communication tools that our Club uses is an annual town hall meeting. This meeting is held for parents and players of all competitive teams and is divided into two streams – U-11 and younger and U-12 and up. At this town hall, the Club’s LTPD and OPDL programs are explained, and staff is present to speak to players and parents about the club’s technical programs and philosophies. Presentations are made, questions are answered, and GFC staff and board members are on hand to speak to any parents. The Club books a theatre style auditorium to conduct the town hall in a professional setting that can accommodate all who wish to attend. 

What impact has the OPDL program made on your club overall? 

As a Club, GFC always prided itself on implementing high performance and age appropriate training practices throughout its entire competitive division. The Club’s current competitive program integrates the Four Corner Model of the Canadian Soccer Association’s Long Term Player Development (LTPD) plan from Active Start to the Elite Player, and consistent training at all stages, is key to a successful soccer education. Regardless which coach comes onto the field, the player should experience a positive and reliable approach to training. The OPDL program has helped the club implement consistent, high performance training at all ages by confirming that training and competition go hand in hand. The value of quality training cannot be underestimated, and quality training should start much younger than the OPDL years to have a positive impact.

Contributor Bio - Dave Benning 

Dave Benning is the Club’s Director of Coaching and Player Development, providing leadership in the overall direction of all technical programs for both the boys and girls. Dave spent 10 years on staff with the Canadian Soccer Association as Director of Operations for the National Training Centers across Canada and a Master Coaching Instructor for the National 'A' & 'B' Coaching Licenses. Dave is well respected in the Canadian soccer community. As a player, he played for Canada's National Youth Teams, attended an NCAA D1 University on a soccer scholarship and played professionally in Europe. He holds a FIFA Instructor Level 3 License, UEFA B License, Canadian National 'A' License, Master Learning Facilitator (Instructor) CSA License.