skip navigation

FCD Selected for OPDL

By Rich Hirst, 08/26/19, 12:45PM EDT



Tuesday August 20, 2019


Oshawa, ON – Ontario Soccer announced today that they have accepted FC Durham Academy into the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) beginning in the 2020 season.

Launched in 2014, the OPDL is the highest level of youth competition in Ontario, starting at the U13 age category.  The standards-based high-performance league combines top level competition with high-performance training standards.  This innovative program is an important component of the overall movement to adopt the core principles of Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) across soccer in Ontario and Canada.

FC Durham Academy (FCD) is Durham Region’s first standards-based soccer academy and has been operating successfully since 2014.  FCD operates an academy team program for both males and females from U8-U21 and has executed one of the most proven and respected college bound programs in Canada with 115 student-athletes advancing to university/college levels in the United States and Canada over their 6 graduating classes. 

FC Durham Academy will be entering the OPDL in 2020 with 1 male team (U13) and 4 female teams (U13, U14, U15 and U17).

Tom Croft Academy Co-Founder and Boy’s High-Performance Manager says “We are honoured to have the opportunity to develop our players within the OPDL Program and play our role in the development of players for the success of our National Teams.  It has remained a goal of our organization since its creation to be represented in the top league(s) in the Province. This was the natural next-step for our academy to make. Our long-term strategic plan involves a hopeful entry into the men’s division of League 1 Ontario in our near future, as we prepare for these plans, we will focus on driving our highly talented players towards their college bound objectives."

Rich Hirst Academy Co-Founder and Girl’s High-Performance Manager notes he “believes we have been running the largest female academy program in the province and have developed a quality high-performance pathway which has led many of our females to university and college soccer.  Our depth and success was on display this season as 32 of our graduates and current youth players dressed for FC Oshawa Women’s League 1 Ontario during our inaugural season.  We are passionate to have the ability to now combine the OPDL Talented Pathway Program with our exceptional U8-U12 Academy Program, Proven College Bound Program and our FC Oshawa League 1 Ontario Franchise completing the top of our female player pathway. We believe we are ready to compete at all OPDL age divisions in 2020 as part of this pathway and look forward to trials beginning immediately.”

In order to begin the preparation phase for players entering the OPDL Talented Pathway Stream for 2021, the technical staff of the academy will place emphasis on the U12 Boys PRE-OPDL and U12 Girls PRE-OPDL during the launch of the academy 2020 program.

This year, FC Durham Academy joined forces with Oshawa’s local community-based club soccer provider the Oshawa Kicks Soccer Club (OKSC).  This partnership has been more than 2 years in the making and will continue to evolve.  One of the key projects of this partnership was the launching of FC Oshawa’s Women’s League 1 Franchise in 2019, which qualified for the playoffs in the inaugural season.  We are thrilled to have OKSC as not only a partner in development, but also the exclusive Affiliate Organization of our OPDL license. More news to come on this partnership in the near future, stay tuned.

Trial information and schedules for all FCD U13-U18 teams will be available on FCD’s newly branded website. OPDL Phase I Trials will begin September 9, 2019 posted at  Interested players must register online in advance to participate in the trials for all FCD teams U8-U18.

We would like to take the time and thank our loyal academy stakeholders and partners.  Without you, this would not be possible, and we look forward to raising our bar in 2020 with all of you.