In the summer of 2013, AC Seattle was born. It was a new women’s team comprised of both American and Italian players. It was something brand new for Giuseppe Pezzano and the OSA Soccer Group because unlike the OSA Soccer Group’s work towards bridging the European and the North-American soccer market from years before, this was the first time they entered the women’s soccer territory. The women played in the WPSL and showcased their value by winning the WPSL Northwest Conference, the Evergreen Cup, and reached the WPSL Northwest Regional playoffs. It was the first year for the team, but it was a big success.
So the OSA group wanted to keep working in this direction, giving the Italian and American players the opportunity to play and unite as one, to learn soccer, life, and cultural differences, and to have a great experience making new friends.
Two years later, in the fall of 2014, the AC Seattle name changed to FC Tacoma 253, in thought to move their headquarter to Tacoma, only 35 miles away from Seattle, in order to make more progress in growing the club. The OSA Group compiled a team to focus on a new program that could help young players develop into sharp, confident technical players- which has evolved into the start of a youth academy for both girls and boys. In agreement with the Tacoma city council, the OSA Soccer Group, the academy and, then-named adult teams, FC Tacoma 253, would have a headquarter office staked in the Tacoma area with land for practice and game fields, locker rooms, and suitable facilities. The hopes were for this place to be the reference point for all the participating youth players in the Tacoma area. The idea to put aside the commute to Seattle and keep the home-based players within the area was the intention. But the plan didn’t really work out. The OSA Soccer Group turned to what they knew from their previous seasons, and took the women’s team and the men’s team back into the Seattle area and kept the FC Tacoma 253 name. Finding practice fields and preparing for the fast-coming start of the seasons were the priority. Although, not in the Tacoma area, the name stayed for the duration of the season, and the men’s team did play one U.S. Open Cup game at the Mont Tahoma Stadium, in Tacoma. The men’s team played their season in the NPSL, National Premier Soccer League (www.nationalpremiersoccerleague.com). According to the US Soccer Pyramid, the NPSL is, after the pro levels, the first most important league. Although it is an amateur league, it is nationwide with no age restrictions and it qualifies for the U.S. Open Cup. The NPSL stands alongside the PDL (Player Development League), with the difference that the PDL has age limit restrictions- such as, at least three of the players have to be under 18 years old, and not more than 8 players can be over 23 years old. The women’s team played another season in the WPSL, Women’s Premier Soccer League (www.wpsl.info). Both adult teams had rosters comprised of Italian and American players, which displays the club’s mission for the adult teams with this action alone. Targeted and invited players who can play with quality skill and whom can perform with creativity while blurring the line of cultural differences in an exciting exchange of style on the field is the vision. The players’ development and the friendships provided the right formula to accomplish another championship and add another trophy to the club. The men’s team won the NPSL Northwest Conference, reached the playoffs and qualified for the U.S. Open Cup first round. The men are looking to build on their debut season and bring home more trophies. The women’s team reached second place in the Northwest Conference of the WPSL, right behind Issaquah SC, their always foes, but the most entertaining games of the season. These games are the post-season deciders every year.
Now, what does the OSA Soccer Group want? To continue the project of bridging the European and American soccer exchange of players that are pre-college and post-college, use its training methods to develop all the players under the club (including the new youth Academy) and extend into the big soccer community in Seattle and the surrounding areas. The OSA Group wants to prepare the soccer player to be ready for their aimed path. If it is college, a combine, or pro clubs, OSA Soccer Group wants to help. Trainings with emphasis on technical work are producing higher player development results. The “gypsy life” of name changing is put to rest and the priority of the club is the development of players so the OSA Soccer Group, FC Tacoma 253, and AC Seattle will all have the linked past and are foundations for the OSA Soccer Group to build on. More things to come as the teams prepare in the offseason for next year and the new youth program in the club. If you would like to be involved or would like more information of a team or the youth academy, send an email to [email protected].