Pickering Soccer Club (PSC), one of the leading youth soccer clubs in Durham, on Thursday announced an evolution of their Elite Player Pathway (EPP) with support from a newly formed alliance with Oshawa Kicks Soccer Club (OKSC) and West Rouge Soccer Club (WRSC).
The evolution begins with the official re-branding of both their League1 Ontario (L1O) and Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) entries.
In the fall of 2013, the OSA announced that Pickering Soccer Club had been granted a license for both U13 boys and girls to participate in the inaugural season of the OPDL in the spring of 2014. In March of 2014, PSC was also granted a license in the much anticipated OSA sanctioned L1O, a standards based Pro-Am league designed to bridge the gap for those elite players with aspirations to continue playing the game at a high level.
In an effort to be inclusive of the region, PSC entered L1O as “Durham United FC” (DUFC) and began discussions with other clubs to gauge their willingness to participate in the delivery of the program while providing their clubs with development opportunities for players and coaches alike. In the inaugural L1O season, Oshawa Kicks Soccer Club (OKSC) was the first to commit to a working relationship with the PSC on the DUFC program and agreed to host two L1O matches for their membership in Oshawa.
With total compliance to league standards, the events were extremely successful.
The success expanded OKSC’s commitment in 2015 to host five games, both in the men’s division, as well as the inaugural season of the women’s division with the same success. The elimination of regional boarders afforded the West Rouge Soccer Club (WRSC) bordering to the west of Pickering, the opportunity to also participate in the second year of the DUFC program. The collaboration and success of the program has led to a further commitment by the three community clubs for 2016.
Preparing for the 2016 outdoor season, PSC is now streamlining its Elite Player Pathway. In doing so, the PSC requested and received permission from L1O and the OSA to rebrand the L1O program “Durham United Football Alliance” (DUFA). To maintain continuity and recognize the cumulative efforts within the EPP Alliance, the PSC’s current entry in OPDL will now be known as “United FA” (UFA).
“The [Alliance’s] biggest strength is in our shared vision to allow us, as community clubs, to provide players and coaches - no matter their youth club - with an opportunity to reach their highest potential while enabling the clubs to maintain their individuality within the soccer community in their region. In addition, these collaborative efforts promote the sharing of resources, potentially leading to a lower cost and better accessibility for participation and thus further contributing to a more effective and visible player pathway for families in today’s Ontario soccer scene,” Corrado Roccasalva, President of PSC, said.
All Durham United Football Alliance clubs will work with the licence holder - Pickering Soccer Club - with a focus on Long Term ELITE Player Development.
Annually, the alliance clubs will come together to run joint evaluation camps to identify and further develop Elite level athletes for participation in the OPDL under United FA. The players will progress through the OSA’s standards based OPDL program leading to further opportunities, including Pro-Am League1 Ontario under Durham United FA.
Durham United Football Alliance will continue to be administrated from PSC offices at the Pickering Soccer Centre.