OSA Seattle FC
According to our NPSL West Region, Northwest Conference Division Season Preview , OSA Seattle FC’s coaching and technical staff, for the 2019 campaign, will be provided for by their Italian Serie-A partner, ACF Fiorentina. This is part of a project in which local coaches will work with Italian consulting partners to help the club develop, not only top-quality players, but top-quality coaches as well. The concept was so compelling that we decided to reach out to the club for more information, and President Giuseppe Pezzano told us all about, not just the men’s team, but the direction the whole organization is taking.
When and where were you founded and what was the goal of the club—has that location or mission changed?
“The club was founded in 2013 under the name AC Seattle. That first year we played in the WPSL and won the Northwest Conference. The team was comprised of many Italian National Players and a top Italian coach. The club name and location has seen some changes, but our mission has always remained the same: OSA Seattle FC us an American soccer club with Italian influence that has been offering high-level soccer since 2008. The club was created to bridge the USA and Italian soccer realities, and to offer a cultural exchange program on and off the soccer field.”
Clubs in the Northwest seem to come and go, i.e. Kitsap Pumas last year and Pierce County FC the year before. What is OSA FC doing to ensure stability and longevity?
“I think there are a couple of issues, one is that it’s difficult for clubs to make it in areas that have a strong MLS presence. The other is that there’s a systemic problem, which is the lack of the pyramid structure in US soccer. If the typical pyramid structure of development were in use players would follow a traditional developmental path, which would give leagues like the WPSL and NPSL more importance, as they are a crucial stepping stones in a player’s career path towards the professional level. These leagues are where the players of tomorrow develop and ready themselves for the pros.
The Kitsap Pumas invested a lot in bringing opportunities to players, and providing great soccer to their area, but they weren’t given the importance they should have received.
Pierce county was a different story because I was the owner and founded the club for a different purpose, which was to give the many Italian players i had an opportunity to play.”
Are you connected to a youth program? A women’s program? Do you have any special programs which other clubs in the region don’t offer?
“Yes, I’m connected to Crossfire Premier’s youth program. OSA Seattle FC has a women’s WPSL team, and we have started a collaboration with Crossfire Premier on the women’s side. Crossfire has one of the best development platforms in our area and have many young US national players!
We offer an international program which gives Italian and US players international opportunities. Italians come to the US to play with the club and we work with US players who want to go abroad to play. We offer study abroad opportunities in the US and Italy, as well as international play and travel tours.”
For most non-MLS organizations in the Pacific Northwest, operating under the shadow of the Sounders, Timbers, and Whitecaps can be daunting; how do you go about recruiting players who aren’t already involved in an MLS affiliated club? What can NPSL clubs offer that maybe a PDL club can’t?
“OSA FC works with local 1st division colleges to recruit players, we also bring players from top Italian teams, and we work with Italians also already in the USA studying at colleges on soccer scholarships.
The NPSL has no age restrictions, which I think is an important element. The league fees are also considerably less, meaning that clubs can invest more into their program.”
Drawing fans up here can be equally difficult—after several years of existence, does OSA FC draw any supporters?
“This is an area that we struggle with. We don't have a fan base, and have a hard time getting the word out. We would love to see more work by the league advertising and spreading the word about the importance of the league.”
Do you charge at the door and sell merchandise? If not, how do you pay for club operations?
“We do charge a minimal door fee and sell merchandise, but that doesn't meet our funding needs. I personally fund this non-profit club as I believe in the mission and the opportunities it creates. My for-profit company OSA Soccer Academy, LLC offers professional services such as tours and study abroad soccer programs.”
Does OSA FC have any rivals? Is there a team you most look forward to playing against in the Spring?
“Seeing as though teams come and go and new leagues start and fold so often, for me there are can’t be rivals until the US soccer system is cleaned up and established under 1 national pyramid system.
I’m excited about our games against Crossfire Premier, because of the great relationship we have I'll look forward to some competitive games. Between our teams I think the best local players will be on display! Their U19 academy team just beat all the MLS academy teams!”