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Year End Review - Talented Pathway

By OSA News, 12/16/14, 10:30AM EST


There have been a number of wins for the OSA's Talented Pathway in 2014. 

Regional Excel Program

The High Performance department has just completed the pilot season of the CSA Regional Excel Program for females. The Ontario Rex is a development program for identified players U13 to U18 that have the potential to attain the National Excel level. Rex players will train 5 days a week 11 months of the year (January to November) under the CSA's Women's Excel development curriculum and play matches against A level competition.

This last year was a successful pilot year highlighting four Ontario U18 REX players participating in the U-20 Women's World Cup and eight Ontario U15 ?REX players participating in the U15 Concacaf Championships. The Rex program will commence again in January 2015 were 50 players will be selected between the ages of U13 to U18 to participate on either a full-time or part- time basis. With the 2015 Women's World and 2015 Pan American games taking place next year, the Ontario Rex program will be anticipating some of our talented young players to represent Canada at these games.

Provincial Projects

The Ontario Provincial Projects program finished another successful year of player identification through the OPDL, Talent on Location Days, Inter Regional Competition weekends and Club coach recommendations. In 2015 players identified at the ages of U13 to U15 will be invited to monthly Provincial Projects through the months of January to May. Players from across Ontario at the age groups of U14, U15 and U16 will be screened at these Provincial Projects for possible selection to represent Ontario in matches against Quebec in May 2015.


The OPDL had a very successful inaugural season 2014. The program officially started on January 15, 2014 with all registered players following their periodised annual plan (44 weeks). This program is designed to combine high-performance training standards with top level competition. Focusing on stages 4 (Training To Train) and 5 (Training to Compete) of the LTPD pathway, OPDL represents young players' early graduation to a genuine high performance training environment. With 18 License Holders in 2014, players competed in a total of 408 games on 24 game days between May 3 - Nov 30, 2014.

More importantly, more than 280 players per gender were scouted and tracked by OSA Technical Staff on their game day performance throughout the year. The tracking of players will continue in the years to come in order to build a solid and systematic player profile base with valuable information on each individual participating in the program. Each License Holder has been provided with an annual performance review to outline current key strengths and key development areas regarding the implementation and delivery of their respective OPDL program. The annual performance review consists of 8 categories with multiple criteria attached to each category. Measures are being taken on Long-Term Player Development, Long-Term Coach Development, Game Day Coach Assessment, TDC Coach Assessment, Technical Philosophy Assessment, Finance Management Assessment, Governance Assessment as well as Game Day Assessment. The annual performance review is a critical piece within the OPDL in order to ensure accountability on both the OSA and the respective License Holder.

In 2015, the OPDL will continue to improve its structure and efficiency by making effective adjustments to increase the experience of all stakeholders within the program. More information on the 2015 OPDL season will become available shortly.

Talent Development Centres

The newly implemented Talent Development Centre (TDC) concept in 2014 was a huge success. The TDC serves the purpose of both high-level coach education and development and player detection. A total of 6 TDC events were being held in 2014, two competition events (April and December) and four training/education events (June, July, September, October). At TDC events, coaches are being introduced to technical habits according to the OPDL Technical Curriculum that emphasise age-appropriate 'building blocks' for the U13 age group. Technical habits include 'Vision and Awareness', 'Receiving and Turning Efficiency', 'Proactive Passing', 'Running and Dribbling with the Ball' and 'Proactive Defending'.

All technical habits are based on specific rubrics (e.g. moving on angles, scanning the play with the ball at feet) that ultimately lead to a detailed and individualized player progress report, used as a measuring standard across the entire program. OPDL head coaches are using the standardized report to track the progress of each individual player over the course of the season and from year to year, in order to determine key strengths and potential development areas that can be addressed accordingly within the program to support the individual growth of each player using a four-corner development approach. The Talent Development Centres are paramount to streamline development information and to share expertise on how to successfully develop youth players. OPDL head coaches use the gathered information to provide their players with an enriched environment. The OSA Talented Pathway department supports the efforts of each License Holder by providing technical tools to maximise the efficiency of the program.

Supporting tools include the standardized player progress reports for both the 'Global Player' stage (U13/U14) and the 'Positional Player' stage (U15+) as the program evolves, a standardized periodization calendar (Macrocycle, Mesocycle, Microcycle) for training planning and training quality control as well as the newly introduced 'Electronic Development Manager', an electronic program that is able to produce rubric-based training sessions. In 2015, the TDC events will be moved to the 'Preparation' phase of the OPDL Macrocycle with coach education session from January until April. The U14 modules focus on the four moments of the game: 'Attacking Actions' / 'Negative Transition' / 'Defending Actions' / 'Positive Transition'.

Talent on Location Days

Talent on Location Days (ToLD) are specific player detection days for non-OPDL players and ORNCA (OSA-Recognised-Non-Club-Academies) players. Players can be recommended to these events by either the respective District Technical Director / Technical Coordinator (only in districts that do not have an OPDL License Holder at this point) or the respective ORNCA Technical Director.

These recommendations are provided directly to the OSA Talented Pathway department on specific dates (deadline for player recommendation). Successfully screened players will receive an invite to a Talent on Location Day (full day) where they are asked to perform a series of activities (benchmark testing, awareness, decision making, skill activities, small sided games). Detected players from the Talent on Location Day event will receive an invite to a Talent Development Centre event later in the year. The nothern part of Ontario will see their very own ToLD events each year, one being held in Sudbury and another in Thunder Bay to cover the entire province regarding talented pathway opportunities. Talent on Location Days are a vital component for player detection across Ontario to ensure accessibility to the Talented Pathway within the province.