NEW PRO TEAM IN DURHAM PART OF A MASTER PLAN
John O�Neill and his associates have a master plan of which a professional soccer team in Durham Region is an integral and important part.
This was revealed at a press conference held in Oshawa on February 2.
Together, with association president Chris Graham and other policymakers in this vast area to the east of Toronto, there are plans afoot to do much more than just grow the game by increasing the number of participants. Player development is also very much on the agenda for maximum enjoyment and equally important, to make sure those precious few players with real talent have the opportunity to play at a higher level.
Successful players will tell you a stepping stone like the CPSL is necessary for any player with a chance at the big time.
If you press him hard enough, the Scottish-born O�Neill, who speaks of soccer like it�s his favourite subject, will reveal the many areas of the game he has been involved in�player, coach, referee, discipline chair and administration including district president.
�But nothing can match the sensation of seeing good players develop,� he explained recently.
�In fact, that is the part of soccer I really enjoy the most.�
O�Neill and others saw the opportunity to acquire an existing team to fit nicely into the pyramid that is soccer in Durham Region.
It didn�t take long to replace Durham Flames professional soccer team in the Canadian Professional Soccer League with a another team that came up for sale in Canada�s only complete professional soccer loop.
O�Neill struck a deal with Mississauga Olympians, formerly Toronto Olympians. Principal owner David Gee launched Olympians in 1998 with Coffee Time president Tom Michalopoulos. The team dominated the CPSL in its first two seasons and while John O�Neill is not looking for the same early success on the field, he sees success in accelerating Durham Region�s development to continue a reputation and image as one of the more progressive districts in Ontario.
Ultimately, the players and the community will benefit.