By Dan Plouffe
OSU 6 – Nepean 0
It was a titanic task facing the Nepean Hotspurs under-16 boys to complete their Cinderella run in East Region Cup play, and in the end, they were simply overmatched by the Ottawa South United Force and fell 6-0 in the championship game Sunday, Sept. 18 at Ben Franklin Park.
“We’re very proud of the boys,” notes Nepean coach Angelo Camposarcone, whose squad struggled to a 3-9 record in league play. “We shouldn’t have been here. No one expected them to do it, but they rose to the occasion.”
Camposarcone tells the story of a team that rallied around their status as underdogs this year, became close because of it, and developed friendships that are sure to last a lifetime.
“This is the most special group I’ve coached,” says Camposarcone, adding that the team’s parents are also the best he’s ever had in 12 years. “They really came together. They were players that were kind of pushed away from other clubs and we took them in and made it to the final. That’s a victory in itself.”
For the OSU Force, the season was nothing but victories. The ER Cup win was the 16th triumph in 16 tries against East Region opponents for the group that also received its New Jersey showcase tournament gold medals by mail the same day it earned Cup gold.
“This is our third trophy,” smiles Force coach Mahmut Adulovic, whose squad recorded three blank sheets in four Cup contests. “I had a hope (we could go undefeated). I counted on winning most of the games, but not everyone. I’m really impressed with my boys this year.”
Hussein Zeineddine scored twice for OSU in the final, while Stephen Veenema, Massimo Conte, Nicholas Kubassek, and Deen McKinley also had goals – illustrating in the process their coach’s point that “this was really a team effort.”
“The biggest part of our team is being one big family,” explains Force captain Dylan Lawrence. “When you’re all brothers in a family, you have each other’s backs, you always fight for each other, and it just works from there.”
Another ingredient to the OSU U16s’ success was always being aware of the massive target that rests perpetually on their backs, Lawrence adds.
“We were kind of scared,” he says. “We’re expected to win, so our opponents come in strong because they want to beat us.
“Now we’re just super happy about (finishing it Sunday).”
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