OSU (12-1-4) and Capital United (4-10-4) have had different experiences in the OYSL boys' U15 division this season. Photo: Dan Plouffe
By Dan Plouffe
You’ll have to forgive Ottawa South United Force Black U15 boys’ coach Russell Shaw if he’s been haunted by flashbacks leading up to his team’s final Ontario Youth Soccer League match of the season.
The scenario is all too similar for him as his squad prepares to face second-place Woodbridge on the road Sunday, Sept. 16. Last season, his U17 boys’ squad had the chance to clinch the capital’s first-ever OYSL division crown with a win in their last game, but they came up short and had to settle for second.
“It’s been a terrific season,” Shaw says of the 12-1-4 campaign his boys have produced. “We hope to keep it going. We don’t want it to fall off the wheels like it did for us last year.”
Besides of course being a totally different roster, this OSU group does have a tiny bit of a cushion atop the standings – a loss against Woodbridge would still force their rivals to collect two more points from their final two games.
And for a squad that was unsure of its makeup at the start of the year – several members delayed trials with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy until after their season, while others have been over to Liverpool and returned – the players have shown their dedication to the pursuit of a title.
“It’s the way we approach the game,” says OYSL co-leading soccer Yousef Aldaqqaq. “Last year was a learning experience for us, and it was good preparation for this season now. We’re transitioning into it well.”
Shaw believes a change in attitude, and a belief that they can be champions, has pushed the team to new heights after finishing 7-4-5 in 2011.
“Last year we were just competing, and now we’re trying to boss the league – keep the ball and play,” Shaw highlights. “They do really want to make something happen this year.”
Title hopes alive for more Ottawa OYSL teams
There are a handful of other local OYSL teams still in the chase for division championships, while several others have key remaining games to stave off relegation.
At 6-2-4, the Capital United U16 girls sit in second place, six points back of division-leading Glen Shields. Both squads have four games remaining in their seasons.
Just a win away from Ajax, the 8-2-3 OSU U17 boys will face their first-place foes in the last game of the year.
Capital United (8-3-4) and OSU (7-4-4) have both put together solid U17 girls’ seasons as well.