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The OPDL Spotlight Series - Hamilton United

By OSA News, 06/21/16, 5:30PM EDT


Hamilton United has been a License Holder from the beginning in 2014 and has since grown from two teams to six teams. Currently, some 110 players proudly wear the Hamilton United//OPDL patch and a coaching staff of over 15 top-notch people guide them during their development journey. Hamilton United is proud to see their OPDL players grow and develop, including two boys who were invited to the National U-15 camp and a number of other players who were identified for the Provincial Program.

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

There are some 15 – 20 soccer Clubs at any time in Hamilton. Hamilton United was formed in Hamilton District, with the permission of the Hamilton & District Soccer Association. Three Clubs in Hamilton came together (Ancaster Soccer Club, Mount Hamilton Youth Soccer and Saltfleet Soccer Club) and submitted a joint application to operate an OPDL franchise. The end result was Hamilton United. The franchise is structured not only for Hamilton District, but all of southern Ontario. The franchise operates much like other professional soccer academies around the world. It is a soccer-specific training centre of excellence, employing the highest-quality coaches and administrators, who together, strive to deliver high performance programming.

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

The impact has been very positive. Hamilton United is committed to the highest level’s of excellence and standards, established by the OSA. It has enabled us to attract players, not only from Hamilton District, but also the rest of southern and southwest Ontario, who want to play at an elite level. OPDL has also been an excellent compliment to our Grassroots program, where we continue to strive and be compliant with LTPD principles.

What are some unfounded myths about the OPDL?

The cost. This year, Hamilton United went to great lengths to compare costs for its year-round program and compared it to various Academies around and outside of Hamilton, as well as various Rep Soccer Programs and teams around and outside of Hamilton. The programs, services and training offered by Hamilton United cannot be had elsewhere. And our program is relatively cheap compared to the others, when you start comparing what we offer and what the others offer. Furthermore, there are generous Grants available both through Hamilton United and the OSA. Both groups have made access to these grants considerably easier and simple.

Share a story of a difference maker within your OPDL program

Our Executive Board President Sam DiSanto, VP of Operations Leo Cavalluzzo, VP of Finance Tony DeLuca & Director of Sponsorship Joe Amorin, as well as our Administrator Marg Cavalluzzo. make a great impact on us. These Volunteers also hold key positions at their respective Clubs in the Hamilton District. They look after every small detail to make Hamilton United successful, from hiring the best people to making sure there is Gatorade at all the venues on the weekends.

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

As mentioned earlier, Hamilton United came to fruition when three Clubs in the Hamilton District came forward with this lofty goal of obtaining a franchise for Hamilton District. As you can imagine, there were many naysayers, obstacles and roadblocks, but we have overcome many of them over the last few years. Most clubs in Hamilton District now support our franchise and are realizing that Hamilton United is the right path. We now have a Regional Teams Program, and again, it has come to fruition because of the growing support from the rest of Hamilton District. We have also created a summer Prep Academy, which has grown tremendously since its inception following our first year in OPDL.

Contributer: Luigi Iantomasi

Luigi Iantomasi is currently a member of the Executive Board.

Luigi’s favourite part of being involved with Hamilton United and OPDL, is watching not only the program grow and succeed, but also witnessing the growth and development of many players, including his daughter and other players he has coached in the past.