Kids’ soccer will be back in the Glebe this summer!

Thomas stretches for the ball in a burst of speed! Photo: Dan Tello

By Lorne Abugov

The Ottawa Internationals Soccer Club plans to celebrate grassroots soccer across the city this year with exciting 2022 outdoor programs for young and old.

The Internationals are especially proud of their popular city-wide Developmental Soccer Program (DSP) for boys and girls ages four to 12, which has operated since 1997 and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The soccer program will return to its community roots this summer at neighbourhood parks and playgrounds.

Within the Glebe, the DSP playing fields are at Mutchmor Public School and Chamberlain Park. Parents can select their preferred and alternate field locations at registration, which is open now.

Unquestionably, 2021 was the year Canada gained worldwide recognition as an emerging international soccer power. And while prospects for the national men’s and women’s soccer teams remain bright, 2022 is also expected to be a memorable one for Canadian soccer at the grassroots level.

The Internationals are poised to celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. Widely regarded as Ottawa’s “community soccer club,” it has provided soccer skills training and team opportunities to youngsters and adults since 1972.

“We’ve always been an openly accessible and inclusive soccer club, something we are very proud of and see continuing and growing in the years ahead,” says Internationals president, Fabio Onesi. “While ensuring that prevailing COVID restrictions take precedence, we are very optimistic that 2022 will be a great year for getting people out of their homes and onto their community soccer pitch.”

Over its first 50 years, the Internationals trained many young players who have gone on to play high-level soccer with university and college teams in Canada and the U.S., as well as in pro soccer.

A recent example is Ottawa’s emerging global soccer superstar, Jonathan David, who in the past two years has topped all scorers in the Belgian and French professional leagues and on the Canadian men’s national team. Before he left Canada to sign professionally in Belgium, David trained with the Ottawa Internationals and was the top goal scorer on the men’s premier soccer team during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The club’s general manager, Graeme Bali, is proud to have had a generational talent like David wear the Ottawa Internationals’ colours. “For an amateur club like ours to have had Jonathan for a couple of seasons of men’s soccer here in Ottawa shows our young players that with hard work and talent it’s possible for Canadian kids to excel at the sport.”

Emily is one of the many children learning soccer skills through the Ottawa Internationals Soccer Club and its Developmental Soccer Program. Photo: Tracy Lucking

But the real strength of the Internationals, Bali acknowledges, is the club’s enduring ability to offer soccer skills training and opportunities to play to every person who wants to play regardless of age or ability.

Since COVID struck, the Internationals have been forced to operate DSP entirely at its two centralized turf fields in Alta Vista. The club is pleased that parents will once again be able to enrol their children in DSP soccer at their local community parks and playgrounds this summer.

“We are really excited to bring this community feature back to DSP, and parents should register now if they want to ensure a spot for their kids nearby to where they live for the 15-week summer season,” says Dan Tello, the club’s vice-president of youth recreational soccer who is also a former DSP parent volunteer and coach.

The DSP spring season from April 16 to May 7 features one-hour sessions on four consecutive Saturday mornings at the club’s centralized turf fields for youngsters in the under-seven, under-nine and under-12 age groups. The summer season – which also offers an under-five age group – will shift to community soccer fields and runs from the week of May 17 to the week of August 26.

In addition to DSP for youngsters, the Internationals also offer competitive and recreational teams and skills training for youth 12 and over and for adult women and men. Renso Vettoretti, vice-president of men’s soccer, looks forward to outdoor soccer kicking off in a few short months. “We are planning to get our youth competitive tryouts underway in March and our adult men and women members outdoors practising in April,” says Vettoretti, who has coached and played men’s soccer with the Internationals for several decades.

Parents can reserve spots for their children now in the DSP by registering for the spring and summer seasons. For further information about DSP, including costs, or to register your child, visit the Internationals website at

Information on soccer programs for girls and boys aged 12 and older and for adult men and women can be obtained at the Internationals’ website or by emailing the appropriate club contacts:;;;;

 Lorne Abugov is a long-standing coach and board member with the Ottawa Internationals Soccer Club and is editor of The Mainstreeter

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