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New Cesena USA teams are being formed go to TEAMS section...tryouts now posted!

Cesena USA News

WPSL players named to U.S. 2019 World Cup Team

05/09/2019, 11:30am EDT
By Kellie Barella

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 7, 2019– The Women’s Premier Soccer League, the largest women’s soccer league in the world, had 12 former players named to the United States Women’s National Team roster for the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France.
Eleven WPSL clubs are represented with Florida Sol FC (Jacksonville) having two alumnae, Morgan Brian and Emily Sonnett.
“It is every young soccer players dream to represent their country in the World Cup,” WPSL President Sean Jones said. “We are honored to have been a part of the development process for these young women who now get to live that young girl’s dream.”
Alex Morgan (California Storm), Megan Rapinoe (Elk Grove Pride) andTobin Heath (New York Fury) are making their third World Cup appearance and have a combined 457 national team caps among the three.
Seven WPSL alumnae are making their first World Cup appearance –Adrianna Franch (SoccerPlus CT), Rose Lavelle (Dayton Dutch Lions FC), Allie Long (New York Fury), Jessica McDonald (Phoenix Del Sol),Samantha Mewis (Boston Breakers Academy), Mallory Pugh(Washington Spirit Reserves) and Sonnett (Florida Sol FC, Chicago Red Stars Reserves).
Alyssa Naeher (Boston Aztec) and Brian (Florida Sol FC) are returning to the squad for a second World Cup after winning the 2015 title in their first appearances.
“The fact that over half of the players selected to represent the United States have played in the WPSL is a testament to the vision of the league’s founder Jerry Zanelli and the countless people who have been instrumental in the growth of this league,” Jones said.
“In addition, this is another piece of evidence as to the quality of players and clubs that make up the WPSL. We look forward to continuing to make the WPSL a proving ground for young women who dream to play at the highest level and someday have the opportunity to follow these players’ footsteps” 
The United States is in Group F and will open tournament play against Thailand on June 11 in Reims, France.
Additional World Cup rosters will be announced in the next two weeks. The WPSL is expecting more alumnae to be named to World Cup squads, including Nigeria, Italy and Thailand.

ODFC Cesena USA-WPSL has "New" Head Coach!

03/28/2019, 6:15pm EDT
By Kellie Barella

Interview with Andy Vera

Interview with “new” ODFC Cesena USA – WPSL Head Coach, Andy Vera:

Well so much for “retirement” right? What prompted you back to coaching?

“Exactly…It’s interesting because sometimes when you’re not looking things find you…I truly wasn’t looking to coach this team or any other but I’m also not one to turn down a challenge when it crosses my path. I’m also deeply committed to our club (ODFC) and the Cesena Program specifically. Loyalty to a club means that you do whatever you need to do to help your colors…that badge on your chest.”

Has anyone discouraged you from taking on this role?

“Yes everyone including myself! (Smiles)…I take in support from a small circle of people and I try to surround myself with talented, smart, loyal individuals. I have a great assistant in Dave Sbitan whom I’ve known and worked with for many years. His ability to work behind the scenes to make sure players are ready to play is invaluable. This will make my job easier as I can focus on what I need to do.”

How does the overall roster look for the upcoming season?

“One of the objectives of the Cesena USA Program as a whole is to build players starting at the youngest age groups. We will have a good mix of young players and very experienced ones on the roster.”

What do you consider your biggest “team” challenge this upcoming season?

“In my opinion the challenges with a group like this is ensuring that we have the right chemistry...They’re all very talented players…more than coaching them we need to manage them to achieve the most favorable outcome every game. We don’t have much time to make things CLICK with these players...we begin working together 2 weeks before our first game…so the team-building aspect has to happen quickly.”

What do you know of the opponents in your division?

“I can tell you I’ve researched their history and they are developmentally strong clubs throughout the Mid-Atlantic Conference…we will be challenged and tested there is zero doubt about it. Our conference (Mid-Atlantic) is divided into the Keystone and Colonial Divisions…we play in the Colonial against tough, tough teams.”

How will you face each one of these tough teams?

“Just like any coach confronts his opponents…confident in the work done at training and a strong belief in the players he has on his roster.”

What are your thoughts on the WPSL as a whole?

“It truly is an incredible organization of tireless staff that don’t mind doing what it takes to give all these wonderful female athletes an opportunity to showcase themselves every summer. The league history and the players that have come through the league speaks for itself.”


WPSL Announces ONLY Virginia Team In The League!

01/31/2019, 12:00pm EST
By Kellie Barella

It’s official, the WPSL has one Virginia team representing the Colonial Division this coming 2019 season.

The announcement came this past weekend at the league’s annual general meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cesena USA, General Manager and Colonial Division Lead Delegate Andy Vera had this to say,” the league has grown by 30 teams to a huge total of 119 teams in 4 regions…this includes teams from both the US and Canada. We (ODFC Cesena USA) are one of the smallest clubs in the league with a huge responsibility of representing Virginia among some very tough clubs in our division.

The WPSL comes off a very successful 2018 season after having introduced new partnerships and its first international program, the WPSL International Combine. In 2019 the WPSL looks to establish new “records” in fan attendance and teams accepted into the league. Here is a list of what we can look forward to this coming year:

  • All-time high number of active teams
  • All-time high number of new teams accepted into the league
  • 2nd Annual International Combine
  • Hosting of WPSL Championship and Combine at a top NCAA venue
  • Six (6) new partners
  • Live streaming of matches

As the WPSL prepares for the 2019 season it vows to continues paving new pathways and opportunities for our women players well into the future.

ODFC RTP and Cesena USA: Synergy in Action!

08/14/2018, 5:00pm EDT
By Joanne Sloane

Developmental programs are complex entities that require the allowance of guided discovery and emphasis on the “whole” player. The ODFC Rising Talent Program (RTP) is such a program as it addresses the early development phase of most of our Cesena USA players.

The RTP is broken down into two segments the Junior RTP (ages 5-6 years old) and our RTP (ages 7-9). The RTP has never deviated from a curriculum rich in coordination/balance and ball mastery. This innovative program teaches kids vital components of the game that have nothing to do with “how fast” or “how tall” they are and EVERYTHING to do with staying fit and learning about themselves. Overcoming hurdles (literally and figuratively), learning to balance yourself through the agility ladders and side stepping around cones all play a critical part in the development of coordination, balance and fitness. All of these components are needed as players develop and build up their inventory of skills with a soccer ball at their feet.  Coaches and trainers understand that it’s all about increasing the challenges one step at a time in a methodical, thought provoking way.

The RTP also brings to the forefront another important but subtle component as it provides children the opportunity to “learn how to learn”. Just like academic learning, players need to adjust their perspective on learning and realize that the challenges that come with new concepts are fun.  Andy Vera, Cesena USA Program Director expressed his thoughts this way, “most players enjoy playing a game (any game) if it’s challenging and enjoyable…RTP and the Cesena Program utilizes these components to teach.”

All these components introduced at the youngest age groups have proven to be essential in the Cesena Program. ODFC Director of Travel Program Operations, JJ Kern said this, “all our kids that go from RTP to Cesena USA see many of the same coaches, training techniques and even teammates…the seamless transition from one program to another is one of our greatest secrets.”

For those that have had the privilege of observing the RTP in action, have truly witnessed developmental programming at its best. 

Metodo Giovani (Young Method) of Teaching Produces Results!

05/16/2018, 1:45pm EDT
By Kellie Barella

An interview with Cesena USA Program Director, Andy Vera.

How has A.C. Cesena and their “brand” of teaching influenced you in developing your program here in the US?

“I’ve been affiliated with this great club (A.C. Cesena) since 2009…during that time I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great mentors at the club…great coaches that have demonstrated to me excellent teaching techniques…the same “Metodo Giovani” (Young Method) utilized in Italy is applied here at Cesena USA…we use the exact same teaching methodology as our Italian partners”. 

Who applies this “method of teaching” at ODFC Cesena?

“All of our Cesena USA Coaches and Trainers utilize the same method of teaching. We utilize teaching/training aids brought here from Italy to put together structured…progressive training sessions.”

If you had to breakdown the Cesena Method into understandable teaching objectives, what would they be?

“There are areas of focus which include; la sensibilizzazione (Coordination and elasticity), la guida e la difesa della palla (Control and protection of the ball), la finta e il dribbling (feinting/dribbling), il ricevere e il caciare (passing/receiving) and il colpo di testa (heading). At any given session some/all these areas are addressed by specific exercises introduced by our staff.”

At what age groups do you begin applying this methodology?

“Well we start with our under-6 and under-7 year olds utilizing progression we increase the challenges as they get older to promote growth and development. One of our central objectives at this age is their motor skill/coordination development. The more balanced they are the easier it is to teach them specific ball movements as they get older. We also apply what we call ball-at-your-feet or ball mastery curriculum to every use teaching ball possession if our players can't control the ball”

What do you say to those that may question your methods and doubt their validity?

“All those that know me are well aware I don’t pay much attention to critics…or what other clubs/programs are doing. Each club has the responsibility to apply a documented method of teaching (a methodology)…many DON’T…we make sure we do!” 

“Our focus is on providing players an educational base so they can learn and grow. As for our methods…well… they are applied by strong professional clubs in Italy to develop their future stars and since they are one of the strongest soccer cultures in the’s more than enough for me.”