What Is the OSDL?

This fall, the Ohio Soccer Association launched two Ohio Soccer Development Leagues, the OSDL-Columbus and OSDL-Cleveland. Founded in partnership with Nike, the leagues revolve around the operating principles of making soccer participation as simple and as inexpensive as possible, with the ultimate goal of supporting the growth of member clubs through improved player retention and user-friendly digital technologies.

With the support of Nike, OSA is working with the OSDL member clubs and their families to foster a deeper understanding of why kids play and quit sports; striving to develop a positive sideline culture supporting player enjoyment and referee retention; and promoting player-homework and self-development programs to evolve game and practice coaching towards more holistic, player-centered approaches. 

A key tenet of the OSA-Nike mission is referee development and retention and, as the OSDL leagues expand into multi-divisional structures catering to a wide range of ability levels, creating formal programming within the member clubs to expand and support the pool of young referees will be central to the growth of the leagues and the sport in Ohio.

The OSDL utilizes club carding to provide clubs with maximum control over player movement and game rostering; and relies on Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs), comprised of representatives from member clubs, to provide input and direction to the league. Games are scheduled at home sites, unless a neutral venue is requested, and inter-play between the OSDL-COL and OSDL-CLE offers clubs the opportunity to supplement the local schedules. Combined season-ending events for the OSDL leagues will be introduced for the 2022-2023 season.    

For OSDL-CLE, the Ohio Soccer Association defines a “competitive” club on the basis of try-outs, rather than community-based or premier. Any club holding a try-out to form their teams is defined as “competitive” and eligible to compete in all OSA leagues and competitions designated for “competitive” clubs.  These competitions include the OSDL, the Ohio Soccer State League (OSSL), the Bothwell Cup, the Presidents Cup, and State Cup.       

The OSDL member clubs operate in partnership with OSA and, with over 75 years of collective coaching experience, OSA’s ability to provide direct technical assistance to meet individual club needs is unsurpassed in Ohio. Support and development opportunities range from formal or informal clinics and educational offerings, to assistance with mentor development, to coach-assessment and coach self-assessment tools, to player-homework programs, to concepts for parent-engagement, to digital curriculum plans and related visuals, to risk management assessment and more..  

With the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, Nike’s partnership with OSA offers a new and exciting direction for the youth soccer landscape in Ohio. From innovative programming to Director of Coaching packages through Soccer Village, the OSDL is charting a new vision for club and player development in the state.

If you would like more information, please contact Bill Glaze (bglaze@ohio-soccer.org); Tom Turner (tturner@ohio-soccer.org / 216-496-4683); Brad Evans (bevans@ohio-soccer.org / 419-297-1994); or Jessica Eberle (Jeberle@ohio-soccer.org / 440-584-0090).  

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