So tell us the history of the club.
General origin is that is what a group of ex-college players from various Ivy and NESCAC schools that landed in the Boston area who didn’t want to fully hang up their cleats. We were a founding club in the BSSL (2000), and have been in D1 ever since.
What's the story of GPS and your club's affiliation?
Since the inception of our team, we’ve been the amateur team arm of MPS. After the merger with GPS, we’ve been fortunate to retain the affiliation with the broader (and rapidly expanding) GPS family.
The affiliation has been a strong, mutually beneficial relationship. We offer a high-quality competitive outlet for graduates of the GPS system, and they offer us a number of perks -- uniforms, field access as needed, brand recognition, among others. Separately, it allows us to have a natural off-ramp to a set of Over 30, Over 40 and 40+ teams that have a strong a culture and history as the Omens.
We’ve had two games against GPS Portland Phoenix in the Open Cup, which has been fun. They’re considered the top of the club pyramid, so needless to say there’s some pride on the line when we play. In the first game (2014) we lost 2-0, but we were able to return the favor and win 2-0 on the road in 2017.
Why GPS Omens?
When MPS merged with GPS (early 2000’s), it gave us an opportunity to rebrand. For many years we were MPS MOA (Monsters of the Apocalypse). While this was a stellar name under which we had great success (3 straight BSSL championships from 05-07, feat only to be matched by current 3-year run by Omens), the current players weren’t in touch with that original founding mantra. Omens is a social term used among current players (homage to a drinking game of lore). We wanted to maintain the light hearted brand the original team laid the foundation for and that still fits the team culture. Omens stuck and we’ve had a great run under the new banner.
You play in the BSSL, in Division 1, lots of nationally known clubs here, what's the level of play in your division?
For what it is - amateur soccer - it’s excellent. The league has always had a number strong teams, but it’s gained a ton of depth over the past years.
There has been the D1 mainstays over the past decade - First Wave, Kendall, Broadway, MIT, Eagles, but there’s also a new crop of great teams. The three new D1 teams - which all happen to be well outside of the city - all look well-positioned to compete and add even more parity to the division.
Especially this year, it seems like there will be no easy games in the division which means you have to be consistent for 18 games over the course of 9 months to take the crown.
Lots of strong social media presence in that top division, what makes BSSL clubs so good at marketing?
We can’t speak for other teams, but we have a core fan base (consisting entirely of wives and girlfriends) that are instrumental to our social media presence. It’s great that they have a shared appreciation for spending Saturday mornings on the soccer field - it makes life a lot easier for our players!
None of the managers are particularly social-media savvy - which is why our twitter is limited to pictures of coolers and men without shirts on. We have actually outsourced our instagram to a few of the WAGS, so go there if you want to see any creative content…
In terms of the rest of the league -- it seems like it’s just a matter of trying to stay relevant. There aren’t a ton of outlets where amateur soccer is appreciated, but various social media platforms can provide that outlet to the population that does care. Who doesn’t love a little public validation of your efforts on the field!
Your club is known for qualifying for USOC, how have Omens been so consistently competitive?
A strong core & depth. Looking at our roster - most folks have been with the squad for 6+ years. Each year we add 3-4 new guys, which provides just the right boost of youth, new competition, and depth.
That core has helped us create a strong team culture. We’re competitive, but don’t take ourselves too seriously. We try to spend as much time together off the field, as we do on it. We have some cultural mainstays that help us keep the soccer side of things in perspective - weekly coolers, an annual party bus throughout the city, and a year-end holiday party.
Beyond that, we set goals in advance of every season and we have a pretty simple set of expectations for the boys: 1) play pick-up once a week, 2) get 14-16 guys out to every game, 3) expect players to make 50% of practices and 50% of game (aspirational…) 4) show up at least 30 mins before the game to get a warm-up (amazing how far this can get you in amateur soccer), and 5) have a cooler for every game. Ultimately, we feel like if we do each of these four things, we’ll be able to get a good result every Saturday.
That’s played out with pretty amazing results in the league. Over the past 3 seasons, we’re 46-2-6, with a +144 goal differential and 3 D1 titles.
Does your club plan on continuing to qualify for the competition?
What advantages do you see in participating in USOC?
The team really looks forward to The Open Cup. It’s an opportunity to play against first class opponents and test our might. Our league is very strong; however, the added diversity of playing against quality sides that we don’t regularly compete with adds some healthy change to the regular flow.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though. The Open Cup can be grueling on a number of fronts. The administrative burden is not insignificant, and can be challenging for 3 managers with day jobs. The roster process is challenging - and can be challenging with large and evolving rosters. And the schedule can be a barrier - traveling to Maine, Rochester or who knows where else is a constraint for a team of working professionals.
Currently, you're second in BSSL, how does the season look ahead of you?
Season has been going well so far - currently in second with a few games in hand. Ultimately, we’re going for 4th straight title, but our sense is that this will be the most competitive season we’ve faced to-date. A combination of a strong D1 field and a target on our backs, means that every game will be a battle.
What one player should we know about on your side?
Sam Brill. After graduating from BC in 2007, I played for four professional teams in the MLS, NASL, and mid-tier leagues in Europe. Teams included the New England Revolution (US), FC Sachsen Leipzig (Germany), Ljungskile SK (Sweden), and Austin Aztex (US). Decided to hang up my professional boots in 2011 following an injury and joined GPS in 2012. I've been with the club ever since, playing in over 100 games in the BSSL, US Open Cup, Amateur Cup, etc.
What else should we know about GPS Omens?
A few random facts:
The last person to every game is in charge of the cooler duty for the next week. Each cooler has one special beverage (i.e., tall boy Twisted Tea, Tree House craft) for the MoTM to be handed out by the cooler provider
On the roster, we’ve got a doctor, a dentist, a rocket scientist, a scratch golfer (Mike Fucito), and a wannabe scratch golfer (manager Greg Zuboff)
And we are actively considering sponsorship opportunities! We encourage anyone interested to reach out via social media.
Our official mascot is a 12-pound miniature dachshund named Moose
We’ve got 3 Omens’ babies, and 2 more on board for the summer among the active roster