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2021 Soccer Outlook: Ohio Soccer Association Part 2/ESports

In our last blog post I shared with you part of a conversation we had with Ohio Soccer Association’s CEO Gordon Henderson and Brand and Marketing Director Joe Gould. Today I will share some more of that conversation along with information Joe shared earlier in the year regarding ESports.

The Ohio Soccer Association (OSA) is the United States Youth Soccer Association’s (USYSA) State Association for the state of Ohio, newly formed after a historical merger between Ohio North and Ohio South. Officially beginning operations on January 1, 2021. The vision of OSA is to unite the soccer landscape in Ohio, encapsulating the idea of bringing together organizations and communities across multiple affiliations. Many leagues and clubs are already a part of OSA by virtue of previous affiliation with Ohio North or Ohio South.

Esports has been a big push for OSA in the beginning of 2021 and we were curious to know what.

Joe explained, “We've partnered with AYCE/GYO Score to provide a safe platform for ALL kids - regardless of whether or not they play soccer. The kids can choose what and how they want to play! While our Esports will have a heavy soccer-themed focus, games such as FIFA, Rocket League, Minecraft, Super Mario Kart, NBA 2K21 and more are all on offer.”

I asked Joe and Gordon why after a year of living virtually a soccer association would push for ESports. Joe explained that the focus is on “providing more opportunities for kids” they explained that kids are on these platforms already and they have the ability through their relationship with GYO to vet and verify players keeping them safe while playing. Joe added that “there are college and university scouts already getting recommendations from GYO sports on players with potential.” They shared that ESports is a growing competitive program with the NCAA, while collegiate athletic programs are being cut ESports is growing with potential for scholarships.

“From our perspective if there is an opportunity for us to help somebody pay for school in a different way we want to consider (it)” Gordon said, while adding “Soccer is the central Core of what we do and who we are but if we can think on things in a nontraditional manner it benefits back to our parents, our players, our clubs and our leagues.” ESports is definitely a nontraditional approach to growing a high contact team sport like soccer. One way they suggested it could grow the sport is by getting kids to play together in GYO, create friendships and move the play from the screen back onto the field.

If you are looking for more information about OSA and their Esports program you and your gamer can visit their website. You can also find information about actual soccer topics such as coaching education, player safety, leagues, cups and ODP by visiting and navigating through the old OSYSA website.

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