OCSL came about as our attempt to fill what we perceived as a void in our kids’ soccer year. A couple of coaches went out to dinner together to celebrate the end of another season of fun soccer. There were maybe 15 of us in all; a few coaches, a few assistant coaches and a few spouses. Everyone there had a child that played soccer at some level. At one point, the conversation turned away from the season we had just finished and toward what was next. After talking about the various camps and training programs that everyone had heard about, we realized that there was nothing out there that any of us were excited about. There were some good camps but they only lasted a week. The wife of one of the assistant coaches said jokingly, “There are enough of you here, why don’t you start you own program?” We all thought that was a great idea, but also all agreed on one point: whatever we did, it had to be ORGANIZED (which, at that time, was something ALL the local options lacked) and thus was born OCSL (which if you didn’t guess stands for ORGANIZED CHILDRENS SOCCER LEAGUE).
Well, now that we know why OCSL came about let’s look at what it stands for and the goals we try to achieve. OCSL is a soccer program with two main goals: first, to instill a love for playing the game of soccer into children of all ages, and, second, to try to teach the fundamentals of the game of soccer. Some people think our goals are backwards, but we have always felt that the only way to teach a child to play a game is to teach the child to love the game. If they love the game, the rest will take care of itself. Therefore, THAT is what we ultimately hope to teach; a love for the game and that is why we do all of this: FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME. While we do play games every Saturday during the OCSL season we do not focus on simply the winning. Often we will stop in the middle of a game and point something out….either good or bad that we feel can teach all the kids a lesson. We also encourage the kids to play all positions to improve the total game. While there is a high level of competitiveness…it is NOT all about winning, it is about development and playing for the future.
OCSL was started in 2003. We started with two teams of 8 kids each and one extra (17 kids and 4 parent coaches). Each year we have grown and become not only bigger, but also more complex. One year, we had four teams of 10 kids, and four floaters. Then we added a younger kids’ night called “Kick Start” that practiced and played on Friday nights. In 2010 we had over 150 children on ten different teams. This year it looks like we WILL have our biggest year yet—but we say THAT every year. Pushing nearly 175 kids and 14 teams we need new venues!!! We hope to continue to grow Rowan county and the surrounding areas in soccer. Not only are we recruiting many new kids but also we are growing in our staff and education. We now have six NC Certified coaches and several NC Certified referees. In addition to many wonderful parent volunteers, we also have special guest speakers and coaches visit to observe and give special lessons.