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The OPDL Spotlight Series - Ottawa South United

By OSA News, 08/09/16, 5:15PM EDT


Ottawa South United has been a License Holder in the OPDL since its inception in 2013. OSU fields six teams with a full complement from 2001, 2002 and 2003 boys and girls Force Academy teams. The Undertaking of OPDL has brought about structural changes within their club with investment in infrastructure in keeping with the standards of the league. The head coaches of the teams are all Full time and have a Minimum National B or equivalent. We have also increased the sports science side of the club with players having access to Video Analysis and Strength and Conditioning Physiotherapy as part of the OPDL Program. OSU has also made significant investments in the clubs facilities with a new turf laid at George Nelms sports park this spring to further increase the training and playing availability for all players.

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

Since our inception in 2003, we have wanted our success on the field, both from individual and team achievements to be what we are judged upon. Prior to OPDL, we were pleased to field the most provincial level teams within the province so OPDL was a natural progression to ensure we continued to offer this level of play. OPDL ultimately provides a pinnacle for our age groups to be working towards and allows for an overall program geared toward achieving particular goals. OPDL also enforces the standards that OSU was trying to provide and the focus being on player development and pushing players forward to University and even professional level.

What achievement(s) in OPDL are you most proud of?

We are proud of the consistency of our program and our teams’ performance, the increased recognition at a Provincial/ National Level, and the brand of soccer that we play. This has resulted in numerous individuals achievements, including over 40 Players selected to the Provincial Trials last November, 12 Players successfully representing Ontario in the Ontario-Quebec series, 4 boys being selected for the National ID Camp (2001 Boys), 6 Boys from across our teams attending trials with European or MLS academies (Vancouver Whitecaps, Crewe Alexandra, TFC) and 2 Girls on trial with Liverpool Girls Academy. Matteo De Brienne (2002 Boys) will be moving on to Vancouver Whitecaps Residency Program and Kayza Massey (2001 Girls) was selected for the Ghanaian National Team.

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

We like to think that one of our benefits in comparison to many of the other license holder are the network of opportunities we provide to players. An affiliation with the Dallas Texans leading to highest profile tournaments and showcases in North America, subsequently forming a network with colleges/universities to help our players move forward after graduation, and the arrival of TD Paul Harris opening up a network in Europe, have all benefitted our players. Other opportunities include playing against academy level opposition, guest coaches visiting, trials at Professional academies, and forging relationships with the Montreal Impact, TFC and Vancouver Whitecaps in the form of invitations for Exhibitions games, tournaments, ID events and Player trials.

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

OPDL participation means our players have a clearly defined pathway at the provincial level, allowing our members to understand the direction elite level players will be heading towards at U13. It also brings increased attention to all OSU programs and teams, with fellow OPDL partners working in closer cooperation with us. This is a fantastic development from the previous OYSL, where little continuity and more of a team vs. a club philosophy existed. OPDL also impacts the club’s work within the U6- U12 ages, with monitored grassroots visits and standards. This increase in standards holds clubs accountable to the development of their younger players, likely producing more homegrown players who have come through the club’s philosophy.

What is something people should know about your OPDL program specifically?

We pride ourselves on our attention to detail as we meticulously plan sessions and calculate the hours of work that our players accumulate throughout the season. In addition to the OSA Matrix, we use software which allows us to evaluate every player after every session and hour worked, breaking down the amount of time that the players attend on each particular theme and subject. This data is used during our parents’ evenings, where our head coaches give each individual player their player clock and areas of success and improvement. We also had the opportunity to film numerous OPDL games and we’re looking to put in place a Video Analysis department similar to a professional academy, where we can create individual player clips to assist with players’ learning.

Contributor - Craig Stead 

Craig Stead is the OSU Club Programs Manager. Craig was a lead on their initial league application and assisted with the 2013 transition into OPDL. As a coach, he was one of the youngest coaches in the country to achieve his National B License (at 23) and also holds his US National Youth License, with a background in Sports Business Management and a degree in Political Science.