The Ohio Soccer Development League (OSDL), powered by Nike, will kick off its’ second season this September with new opportunities for clubs to participate in the growing network of OSA leagues.
OSDL was formed with the express focus on developing and enhancing player education and retention, mentorship and coaching education, positive spectator sideline culture, and referee development. Throughout the 2021-22 season, players and coaches were able to work closely with OSA technical staff, including U.S. Soccer coaching instructors, and receive additional educational opportunities at the Columbus Crew facilities. The league is also conscious of providing member clubs with an active voice through a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), comprised of technical leaders from participating clubs.
In response to feedback from the OSDL TAG and other Directors of Coaching, the league will offer both 5v5 and 7v7 options for U8 players in all OSDL leagues this fall. Appreciating the need to provide a more player-centered introduction to soccer, clubs that elect to participate in the 5v5 model will schedule games with local opponents to create a more festival-style approach. Through this model, multiple games will maximize playing time and enjoyment for the participants.
Locker Soccer Academy director and former Harvard University Head Coach Steve Locker notes, “After 20 years of coaching in the college game and nearly another 20 working with young children, it is both refreshing and exciting to see our leading soccer organizations shift towards a model that makes more sense from a child development perspective. When one understands the psychomotor developmental process of young children, placing them in an environment that allows for more age-appropriate play, this is the direction that our game must take…kudos to Ohio Soccer Association for embracing this approach.”
Interested clubs and teams will have the option of three formats.
- 5v5 play only
- 5v5 and 7v7 play
- 7v7 play only
“The clear intention here is two-fold,” says Tom Turner, OSA Director of Membership Growth and Development. “First, to reduce the cost barrier for the youngest 5v5 players, they will be priced at only $8.00 per player. Second, to respond to clubs seeking the option to play both 5v5 and 7v7 for developmental purposes, OSA will not charge teams extra who participate in both formats. In other words, there is no additional fee for participating in the 5v5 festival format. Team fees are frozen at 2021 – 2022 prices.”
OSDL Cleveland and OSDL Columbus formed the core of the league network, which began in Fall 2021. Teams participated in Play Weekends, with the addition of some self-schedule games against more local opponents to complete their 8-game season.
OSDL Play Weekends will again provide league members with the opportunity to travel to common sites to play up to four games. Significantly, with the help of a designated OSDL assignor, referee coverage for the four spring 2022 Play Weekends was close to 100%.
This fall, OSDL Southeast (OSDL SE) will be added to the league network. Created to serve the needs of the more rural southeastern counties, the league will feature four, single day play dates at local host sites for the participating clubs. To accommodate the challenges smaller clubs face in fielding single age and single gender teams, flexibility will be the guiding principle for managing the play date events. Teams participating in OSDL SE can also compete against the Columbus and Cleveland teams at the Play Weekends.
Similar OSDL leagues servicing additional eastern counties will be announced soon.
OSDL registration is now available online here. Each club will have access to a Demosphere registration system provided by OSA. The OSA Member Services team will provide direct registration assistance to new members.