Although the name OSA FC is a one you may not be familiar with, it doesn’t mean that the team is new. Previously known as FC Tacoma 253, the Washington-based club rebranded as OSA FC in the offseason but continues to maintain its philosophy of creating a cultural bridge between Italy and the U.S.
The club itself is the product of a meeting between current head coach Filippo Milano and owner and CEO Giuseppe Pezzano.
“While coaching in Seattle I had the chance of meeting Giuseppe Pezzano and sharing with him the passion of a common idea of how integrate our past experience and knowledge in the American soccer system,” says Milano. “We decided to create a men team for the NPSL team with the goal of bringing Italian players in Seattle and therefore promoting a cultural exchange based on the common passion for soccer. “
While bringing in Italian players is part of OSA FC’s modus operandi, the team is also focused on helping develop young American players.
“Another goal of the team is to give the opportunity to college players to join us to gain quality time while they are off-season,” says Milano. “We are trying to keep the same number of Italian players this year. Ideally we would like to recruit more locally but it is not an easy process. For the future we aim to continue having the right mix of players to continue with the mission of our club.”
A good number of these players are locals who grew up in cities around Seattle such Tacoma, Des Moines, and Auburn. As such, these players have a vested interested in seeing the soccer community grow in the region. Some, like midfielder Jared Kanda, were already familiar with a few of the people involved in the project.
“I went to the University of Washington and while playing soccer there I became close friends with many of the people that are the core of the Seattle soccer community. I was able to join an amateur Italian soccer team that was coached by Filippo Milano, our current coach, and I have had the pleasure to play for him ever since,” he says.
Fullback Steve Pirotte is another player who got involved as a result of knowing some of the people in the team, demonstrating how good the word of mouth for OSA FC is.
“I became involved with OSA FC because several players from my men’s team were playing on the team and they asked me to come out,” he says.
Not surprisingly, Pirotte then turned around and introduced another local player, forward Eli Gordley, to the team.
“I’m from the Seattle area, and I absolutely love it here. I was introduced to this team by Steve Pirotte,” says Gordley. “My personal goals this season are to stay healthy and provide goals for the team.”
Gordley is a player whose past experience includes playing in the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL) and the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), as well as a two-year stint with the Seattle Sounders U-23 team. Although he joined OSA FC – then FC Tacoma 253 – last year, he spent much of the season out injured. Milano, however, believes Gordley will be a huge asset this year.
“I have great expectations for Eli Gordley. He was injured for great part of the season last year, but this year he is healthy and I am expecting many goals from him,” says Milano.
FUSING AMERICAN AND ITALIAN VALUES
Despite the mixture of American and Italian ideologies, the players are happy with the team chemistry. In fact, Pirotte says that the players get along better than in other teams he has been in.
“As a team we really gelled and it is a great group of guys. On some of the teams I have played on in the past there were cliques within the team, but on this team everybody gets along.”
Center back Eli Seye can vouch for the team mentality that Pirotte speaks of, adding that with one year in the league under its belt, the team has a better idea of what to expect this season.
“As a team we play for each other and play pretty conservative. We attack as a team and defend as a team,” he says. “After our first season last year we have an idea of the league’s level of competition and we looking to play some really competitive games against good teams.”
Colin Dalrymple, another center back, believes the team’s chemistry can become even better this season, allowing the team to make a better run in the NPSL.
“My expectations are to win the Northwest conference and go deep in the playoffs. I expect for our team to synergize better this season, as we have a healthy amount of core returner,” he says.
“With speed on the wings, a strong center forward in Eli Gordley, and our captain Matt Shaxton controlling the middle, we can really catch teams off guard. We like to think of it as an Italian-American fusion.”