April 17, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kingston-Belleville FC (KBFC) Pro Soccer Academy and the Kevin Nelson Soccer Academy (KNSA) will compete on the field and collaborate off in order to develop youth soccer in Eastern Ontario
Ottawa, ON – It was a small step for two of Ontario’s newest OSA/ORNCA-accredited soccer academies on Saturday afternoon, but a giant leap for the evolution and growth of elite youth soccer in Eastern Ontario when the U-12 boys teams of the Kingston-Belleville FC (KBFC) Pro Soccer Academy and the Kevin Nelson Soccer Academy (KNSA) squared off in the first youth soccer academy game ever played in the Region.
Both the KBFC Academy and the KNSA Academy U-12 boys teams will be competing this season in the Soccer Academy Alliance of Canada (SAAC) development league. SAAC is Canada’s first Standards-Based High Performance youth soccer league, entering its 11th year of operation, and boasts graduates who have gone on to National Team pools, MLS and dozens of CIS and NCAA Division I schools.
Saturday’s ground-breaking exhibition “friendly” at the RA Centre Dome in Ottawa was a chance for both of Eastern Ontario’s only two OSA/ORNCA-accredited soccer academies to demonstrate the unity and the collaboration that they intend to exhibit towards one another both today and into the future.
Mike Akai, the Technical Director of the KBFC Academy, which is based in Kingston, expressed the feelings of both organizations when he noted that “…today’s game was almost secondary to the fact that KBFC and KNSA came together naturally, quickly and without anybody urging us to do so, because both of our Academies are pioneers in our respective markets, and because we are both following a route to youth soccer player development that is proven around the world, even though it is new in Eastern Ontario.”
Kevin Nelson, founder of the KNSA Academy and a former professional player and member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Team, echoed Mr. Akai’s views about the importance of both Academies to youth soccer in the Region. “It’s encouraging and very positive that we have a neighbouring Academy in Kingston and Belleville that shares our vision of youth soccer player development,” said Mr. Nelson.
“Both KBFC and KNSA come out of a professional soccer background, and both of these Academies know how elite soccer players come to be developed” Mr. Nelson added. “We understand and respect what they are building in Kingston-Belleville, and they feel the same way about our organization and the dream that we have here in Ottawa to bring world-class training and development to Eastern Ontario.”
The game was a lively and well-played affair for a season-opening exhibition game with both teams displaying good ball mastery and linkage. Adept midfield play by KBFC created good scoring chances throughout, a number of them turned away by strong KNSA goalkeeping. Several near misses by KNSA made the 4-0 KBFC score line not entirely reflective of a tight game that featured near-even possession and quick effective transitions on both sides.
BACKGROUND & QUOTES
In early August 2015, the KBFC Pro Soccer Academy was designated by the OSA as the province’s 22nd Ontario Registered Non-Club Academy (ORNCA), a prized, standards-based designation reserved for elite soccer development academies, becoming the only OSA ORNCA-accredited pro soccer academy east of the Greater Toronto Area.
In March 2016, the Kevin Nelson Soccer Academy (KNSA) received its ORNCA accreditation, along with two other Ontario academies, bringing the total number of provincially-recognized youth soccer academies to 23. KNSA fielded several teams in the 2015 SAAC league as a “guest” member. For the upcoming 2016 season, both KNSA and KBFC have been admitted into SAAC membership. KNSA will field U-14 and U-17 teams in the SAAC League and KBFC will field its U-12 boy’s team in the SAAC Development League.
According to Mike Akai, having “…an ORNCA-accredited pro soccer academy in the Kingston-Belleville region is a huge step forward for soccer training and development in our region. Achieving the Ontario Soccer Association’s gold-standard is the culmination of several years of hard work laying the groundwork and then months of intense effort in satisfying the OSA’s rigorous criteria for Academies, including technical inspections by OSA personnel who adjudged our training sessions to be among the best in the province,” said Mr. Akai.
For Lorne Abugov, owner of the KBFC Academy and former owner of the Kingston FC Pro Soccer Club, the OSA designation was a welcome reward for the time and effort already invested by the management and staff in improving the level of soccer in the region, including the efforts of many of the pro coaches and players who pioneered pro soccer in and around Kingston with Kingston FC. “We are very proud to have brought pro soccer to Kingston in 2012, and we made a difference to this community when we did so,” said Mr. Abugov. “Now we can be equally proud to bring a certified OSA/ORNCA pro soccer academy to this region, once again breaking new ground for the soccer community here and for kids and parents who are committed to the love of soccer and to playing the sport at the highest level possible.”
Both Mr. Akai and Mr. Abugov were delighted that parents who had to travel in the past to Toronto or to the United States to find elite level training and pro soccer development for their talented youngsters could now benefit from proven, standards-based Academy pro soccer training programs of comparable or higher quality delivered right here in the region.
As a result of the OSA/ORNCA designation, both the KBFC Pro Soccer Academy in Kingston-Belleville and the KNSA Soccer Academy in Ottawa are now fully sanctioned to work with all OSA-registered soccer players throughout the region to enhance their technical development.
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