Ottawa South United is on the move.
OSU’s men’s and women’s teams will compete in Première ligue de soccer du Québec next season, switching from League1 Ontario in a historic agreement between the two provincial division III leagues.
L1O’s most-eastern club, OSU joined Ontario’s top tier in 2017 with a men’s side before adding a women’s outfit for 2019.
Thursday’s move, sanctioned by Canada Soccer, is the first time League1 Ontario and PLSQ have transferred a club between organizations.
“We have two high-performance Canadian leagues, from two provinces, combining to assist a member club in a crucial market,” Canadian Soccer Business vice president Eva Havaris said. “This is a key moment for our organizations as we will continue to look to work together in the near future.”
Reduces travel cost
OSU’s move to PLSQ will reduce travel time and cost for both the club and League1 Ontario teams. Rather than traveling five hours or greater for road matches, OSU president Bill Michalopulos saw an opportunity to send his group’s top men’s and women’s programs to closer-by Montreal and Quebec City.
“Travel has a direct impact on players,” Michalopulos said. “Players and coaches get burnt out on travel. There was an opportunity to limit these efforts from 10 hours to four, roundtrip. We jumped on that right away. It makes everyone more successful.”
PLSQ features seven clubs in the Montreal area and one (Dynamo de Quebec) in Quebec City. Commissioner Kambiz Ebadi says OSU’s transfer to his league is a “win-win” as the Ottawa side replaces FC Gatineau – who are taking a step away from the league in 2020 – as PLSQ’s lone club in the Ottawa Valley.
“Our point of view was very clear that, geographically speaking, Ottawa makes sense playing in Quebec,” Ebadi said. “We have been working with Ontario clubs at different levels for years now.”
For Michalopulos, his club’s switch to PLSQ is the beginning of an enhanced relationship between the two leagues.
“It will prove interprovincial play is possible,” Michalopulos said, referencing the Inter-Provincial Cup played between L1O and PLSQ sides from 2014 to 2016. “That underpins a whole number of other movements. To me, this will be the first tangible way that proves this Canada-wide thing, where every level is involved, can work.”
OSU adds U Sports Coach of the Year to lead PLSQ men
OSU has nabbed the reigning Canadian university coach of the year to direct its new PLSQ entry. Kwesi Loney, also Ontario’s top university coach 3 years running, coaches a slew of Force Academy products with the Carleton Ravens in the fall. Loney will find familiar confines for OSU’s home matches – Carleton’s MNP Park is set to serve as OSU’s home pitch.
Fresh off a historic season with the OSU 2003 Girls, Abe Osman returns for a second year leading the club’s top women’s team. Osman’s U17 Girls won the OPDL’s first-ever “triple crown” of League, Cup & Charity Shield provincial titles in the same season. He also led OSU to a playoff berth in their debut League 1 Ontario campaign.
PLSQ play kicks off in early May.
Player advancement stories keep coming for Force players
The OSU pipeline continues to pump out more and more players moving on to the next levels of soccer. Amongst the recent success stories are:
Joseph Daher (2004 Boys OPDL) joins Toronto FC Academy.
Madolyn Bush has signed with the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds.
Christopher Yoo who will be heading to Queen’s University to play for the Gaels this Fall.
Ronan Kratt will be coming home to Ottawa after committing to the Carleton Ravens.
Victoria-based Pacific FC of the Canadian Premier League has signed OSU and University of Michigan alum Abdou Samake.
OSU alum and NCAA goalkeeper Kayza Massey is back in Canadian colours, donning the maple leaf for the Concacaf U20 Women’s Championship.
OSU is very proud of all these players’ hard work and dedication over many years and wish each one all the best in the next stages of their careers.