Community Clubs Elite Amateur Sport

The Force Academy Zone in on a Stellar Year for OSU Force Academy

Submitted by Ottawa South United soccer club

Multiple OSU teams saw massive success in the 2011-12 season. Photo: Dan Plouffe.

With 19 League Championships, 14 graduating players receiving University Soccer Scholarships, and a Canadian record of 8 teams headed to the prestigious Disney College Showcase, it has been another banner year for OSU, the #1 Developmental Club in Ontario.

“We’re very proud of all our kids and teams,” says Ottawa South United President, Bill Michalopulos. “The passion of our Club for excellence, continuous improvement and application of the latest proven soccer methodologies for youth development is the recipe for the achievements of the OSU Force Academy.”

As the #1 ranked and largest soccer club in Ottawa – home to players from across the city and as far away as Kingston – it is evident that OSU’s formula for developing players and putting together championship teams is a success.

What may best demonstrate their rise as one of the best youth clubs in North America is that an unprecedented 8 teams have been accepted to play at the top-ranked Disney Showcase taking place in November and December – the most ever from one club in Canada.

“Disney is recognized as the best Showcase Tournament for youth in North America,” OSU General Manager Jim Lianos explains. “The competition is unbelievable, the facilities are world-class, and you get to play different styles of soccer against teams from other countries. It’s everything.”

The Disney Showcase also allows players to be seen by around 300-500 college soccer coaches. Thanks to their affiliation with the Dallas Texans – the top youth club in the United States – OSU teams have also attended other world-class showcases such as the Dallas Cup and the Dallas Girls International.

Being Canada’s only affiliated Premier Nike Club does help provide instant credibility in the U.S., although it’s the way OSU teams have performed in the past that explains why more and more keep getting invited back to experience the incredible opportunity in Florida.

“Only 5 years ago, Canadian teams found it difficult to even qualify for prestigious tournaments such as Disney, but thanks to the success of OSU teams that has all changed; we are on their radar now,” notes Lianos.

This year, 14 OSU graduates received scholarships to some of the top soccer schools in the NCAA and CIS. Combining a university education with the opportunity to continue playing a game they love, along with financial support, means that many OSU players are now fulfilling their dream of playing soccer at the next level.

“They’ve worked hard for many, many years while having fun too,” Michalopulos says. “They love the game and it’s good to see these players getting rewarded for it in a more tangible manner from an academic and sports perspective.”

It takes a lot of effort from a Club to achieve these end results. The coaches, the kids, and the parents all have an important role to play. With an unprecedented 86 League Championships, 30 League Cups and Shields, and over 103 Gold & Silver Medals in Tournaments across Canada and the U.S. since the Force Academy began in 2003, it is clear that OSU has all of the crucial groups working together to reach everyone’s highest expectations.

What they are most proud of at OSU however, is that the teams become champions by playing top-quality soccer. OSU believes that proper player development eventually leads to success and championships. With 30 of 34 teams finishing in first or second in their Leagues, OSU’s winning record is the product of the quality programs they offer, based on the proven development program of its affiliated club Everton FC of the English Premier League.

Michalopulos warns against the current trend of “development” being confused with de-empathizing winning and competition. He believes that this anti-competition “development” lingo is being inappropriately used in certain quarters as a smokescreen to hide player development failure, inadequacies of programs, and lack of quality coaching.

“Winning should never be the only focus of player development, but that along with players graduating to university level soccer are excellent indicators of success,” says Michalopulos. “One can only improve their programs by looking at themselves in the mirror and asking ‘Why aren’t we doing as well? Why can’t our kids shoot, pass and dribble?’”

OSU certainly offers a demanding environment, but creating team unity and a family atmosphere throughout the Club is another one of its primary objectives.

“Nothing makes me happier than going to a tournament and seeing that when one team finishes their games, they stay to cheer on the other OSU teams who are participating in the tournament,” Michalopulos smiles. “To me, that’s what a club is and that’s when we know we’ve accomplished something special as a Club.”

Ottawa South United Soccer Club salutes all of the OSU teams from 2011. Congratulations on all your hard work and achievements! We are excited for and extremely proud to announce the following OSU soccer scholarship recipients for the 2011/2012 academic year:

• Colin Phillips – Duquesne University, Pittsburgh (Div. I)

• David Musambi – South Carolina Upstate (Div. I)

• Elizabeth Asare-Danso – Francis Marion U., South Carolina (Div. I)

• Katie Wasylko – Converse University, South Carolina (Div. II)

• Aaron Falsetto – West Virginia Wesleyan (NAIA)

• Jeffrey Addai – Spring Arbor University, Michigan (NAIA)

• Michael Calof – Carleton University (CIS)

• Kristy McGregor-Bales – Dalhousie University (CIS)

• Stephanie White – Brock University (CIS)

• Sarah MacGregor – Trent University (CIS)

• Samantha Paisley – Carleton University (CIS)

• Brandon Tebrake – Nipissing University (CIS)

• Brian Moeun – Trent University (CIS)

• Barbara ( Bobbie) Martin – St. France

Disney Jr. Showcase (Nov. 2011)

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Disney College Showcase (Dec. 2011)

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Dallas Girls International College Showcase (April 2012)

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