—By Ottawa South United Force Academy
While the action on the pitch heats up this season, several members of the Ottawa South United Soccer Club family were honoured for their off-field contributions to our community.
Siblings Sanchit and Riya Gupta received the Mayor’s City Builder Award from Mayor Jim Watson and Rideau-Goulbourn Ward Councillor Scott Moffatt at City Council on May 27.
The Award recognized their efforts to establish a sustainable food system and combat food waste.
The Guptas established a chapter of MealCare, a non-profit organization that aims to combat food waste, in Ottawa. Working with local restaurants, university cafeterias and grocery stores, the Guptas take in surplus food, and, with the help of fellow volunteers, redirect it to shelters and soup kitchens where it is needed most.
Sanchit founded the first MealCare chapter at McGill University in Montreal and there are now three chapters on university campuses across Canada. He manages the MealCare national team and is a mentor for new chapters.
Riya spearheaded the effort at the University of Ottawa, where she is studying towards a health sciences honours degree.
Since its start in 2016, MealCare has distributed more than 10,000 meals to those in need and have saved $50,000 for partner homeless shelters.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future.
Riya has been a player and coach at OSU for many years, and Sanchit was a key member of groundbreaking 1997 boys’ squad that won Eastern Ontario’s first provincial youth championship back in 2013.
Meanwhile, Rene Braendli was amongst the distinguished individuals honoured by Ontario Soccer for their life-long commitment to sport in the province at the Centre Circle Awards on June 15 in Toronto.
Rene initiated both his professional and soccer coaching career in Ottawa shortly after his departure from Switzerland in the 1990’s.
He has coached and mentored hundreds of young girls over the years, many of whom are now having their own children and enrolling them in soccer, as a testimony to their love of soccer instilled by their kind, hardworking, and dedicated coach.
Rene’s most notable soccer successes were with the Iron Eagles and Spirit teams. These teams were trailblazers for girl’s soccer in the Ottawa area. Rene played a significant role in all areas of their success – he recruited and trained these girls, creating ‘super teams’.
To this day, Rene continues to dedicate 5 days a week to the mini girls’ program at OSU. He exhibits as much enthusiasm and energy today as he has for the past 20+ years.
Rene’s passion for the art of coaching has allowed him to become a model figure in the province that is recognized for his contributions in the expansion of the girls’ soccer programs in Ottawa.
Liverpool women’s coach trains OSU players
There are many recent exciting developments on the field at OSU as well. The club is excited to welcome Vicky Jepson back to town to work with our U9-U16 girls’ players from June 19-24.
This is a great opportunity for players to train with one of the top female coaches in the game today. Vicky is one of the most highly regarded coaches in the women’s game in England, leading to her appointment at Liverpool as Manager of the Women’s team this past year after being with the club since 2009.
OSU pair receive look from women’s national team program
Congratulations to Anna Swyers and Juliann Lacasse, who took part in Canada Soccer’s regional excel (REX) program screening in early June.
Anna has been with OSU since Timbits soccer and is excelling at both goalkeeper and on the field for the 2006 Girls.
Juliann joined the 2003 Girls provincial-champion team as a goalkeeper from the Ottawa-Gloucester Hornets to help her in the next stage of her development journey with OSU.
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