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The OPDL Spotlight Series - KIA Toronto FC Academy

By OSA News, 07/12/16, 5:30PM EDT


Toronto FC is a Canadian professional soccer club based in Toronto, Ontario Canada that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS). Their KIA Toronto FC Academy team plays their home matches at KIA Training Ground at Downsview Park. 

Toronto FC was MLS's fourteenth, and first Canadian, franchise in the league. The team is coached by Greg Vanney and operated by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

Kia Toronto FC Academy adheres to the same vision and values as the Toronto FC first team. The vision is to create a club that is internationally recognized as: a leader in player development and a leading edge organization on innovative practices. Kia Toronto FC Academy has been a license holder since OPDL’s inception in 2014. They began with one team playing in the U-13 OPDL and now have teams in all three boys divisions. 

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

Toronto FC has a strong partnership with the OSA and we share the same objective of developing smart, skilled footballers. The OPDL is the lead player development league in the province, and our hope is to collaborate with other OPDL clubs to work together to advance coaching and player development with the ultimate goal of developing Toronto FC Professional Players and Canadian National Team Players.

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

The fact that Kia Toronto FC Academy teams compete against opponents a year older than them. They are often faced with greater, physical, technical and tactical challenges, due to the age difference. We hope these situations will assist in their decision making process and ability to problem solve, thereby making them better players all around.

What makes you different than the other 20 OPDL License Holder clubs?

Kia Toronto FC Academy evaluates our athletes on the club’s eight pillars (cognitive, tactics, motor-specific, motor-general, personality, life, emotion, socio-affective). We are fortunate that we can collaborate with our high performance department, sport science department and education department to aid in the player’s holistic development.

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

The OPDL provides our players with the opportunity to play against top clubs in the province, not just the GTA. It also allows our club to properly plan and prepare for the week with the consistency of game days.

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

As a professional football academy our program is fully funded for all of our athletes.

Contributor - Luciano Lombardi 

Luciano Lombardi has been coaching with Kia Toronto FC Academy since 2012.

In the past two years Lombardi has taken more of a leadership role within the Academy goalkeeping department. His duties include creating curriculum, training sessions and development plans for all Pod 2 and Pod 3 goalkeepers (2006 – 2001).

The ages of the goalkeepers Lombardi focuses on are those that participate in OPDL (U-13-U-15).