With a 3-0 road win and a scoreless draw against last year’s Cup champions, the OSU Force have begun their sophomore season in League1 Ontario on the right foot.
This year’s squad is built in large part out of the 2000 age group that won numerous titles in their years at youth levels, and graduated several players into MLS academies (some of which are now back and figure prominently in this League1 team).
“I think we’ll learn something every consecutive year,” OSU Technical Director Paul Harris said in previewing the season. “Some matches, the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way and we may have been lacking some of the soccer savvy in that first season.
“We’ve also got around 11 eleven provincial level teams between our OYSL, OPDL and League1, so it’s a balancing act that we’re always working at.
“The head coach Peter Mapendere had two 2000 groups in OYSL last year, and we took the best pieces to make this squad. They have been training all winter and this should help them greatly.
“So Peter has come in, he has a UEFA B and has worked with this 2000 group for some time. As much as we are promoting the group into League1, we are also in a sense promoting the coach.
“We have also brought in a previous Fury tech staff Jay Bhindi on as part of the coaching staff. I’ll also be around this program, offering some mentorship in this senior environment.”
On-field, OSU receives veteran leadership from Dario Conte, who’s been joined by a number of talented newcomers to the League1 scene.
“Centre-back Tony Mikhael, he has been with the club since 14 years of age,” Harris outlined. “His 2000 group were one of the most successful groups in Ontario throughout youth levels, winning the Ontario Cup, and Tony’s been part of the provincial teams. He’ll be important to us. He’s a strong defender and likes to play out from the back.
“Sopious Quasos is a player that was with Aspire and came over to the Fury and has been with us since the beginning of the winter. He’s a left-footed winger, midfield player, very nice on the ball and a little bit older as well. I think he has good quality and will help us in games.
“David Chung has been with the club since ten years of age. He was part of the CSA camp at U15 and went to Vancouver Whitecaps. It just hasn’t quite worked out for him in the pro environment yet, but we feel that it will work out well for him in League1 and he would be a good CPL target for the future.
“We’ll add Ryan Massoud. Again, has been with the club since 10/11 and again a member of the 2000 team that won the provincial titles. He’s also been at the Vancouver Whitecaps and has real electric pace. He just needs to turn his good work into goals more regularly but I think he’ll be a real threat this season.”
The team’s overall objectives “are always to promote youth above all aspects, and be as competitive as possible,” Harris concluded. “We want to use the League1 team as a stepping stone to CPL or even higher level.
“Many of these players have had experience in MLS academies and although it hasn’t worked out to get to the first team, League1 can help them be showcased and scouted and moved through to pro channels.”
OSU League1 2018 home games at Quinn’s Point Field – 3:30 p.m. kickoff
Sat May 19
vs Sigma FC
Sat July 14
vs Unionville Milliken S.C.
Sat July 21
vs Toronto Skillz FC
Sat July 28
vs Master’s Futbol
Sat Aug. 25
vs Alliance United FC