Soccer in the Greater Toronto Area has become a lot more exciting after Toronto FC won MLS Cup. DeRo United Futbol Academy (DUFA) in Oshawa was made to help players reach that level.
DUFA was established in 2012 by former Toronto FC and Canadian national team captain Dwayne De Rosario to create a platform for kids who are passionate and want to play professionally.
The academy began with about 30 kids but has now expanded to more than 160.
DUFA costs $3,000 per year. Fundraising initiatives can decrease the amount.
Rep soccer costs between $1,500-$1,700 including winter training. DUFA costs double the amount due to the fact there’s no volunteer coaches, all the coaches are paid, highly qualified and more training sessions.
De Rosario wants the young kids to reach their potential.
“We want these young players to increase their knowledge and improve their techniques to better prepare them for life, also for the road to take their game to the next level,” he said.
DUFA say it wants these athletes to reach their potential on and off the pitch by “providing mentorship and development tools in the areas of learning, guidance, self-confidence and well-being.”
DUFA gives its players platforms they wouldn’t get at a regular rep team like training at TFC Academy and being seen by TFC coaches like Greg Vanney.
De Rosario’s father Tony, is the academy director while relatives Paul and Mark De Rosario coach at the academy too.
In 2014, De Rosario introduced the DeRo Foundation which collaborates with the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF).
TCF is a foundation which focuses on connecting generosity with community needs and opportunities in Toronto.
The DeRo Foundation uses soccer as a platform to help young soccer players in urban communities stay out of trouble and expand on their life skills and experiences.
The main goal for these players is to prepare them for life understanding the value of winning and losing and how to develop sportsmanship as they mature, says De Rosario.
He uses the model “DeRoveloping” which is committed to providing a sophisticated academy program with Provincial B and OSA Provincial C Level Licenced coaches who will focus on the development of the player.
His model also focuses on what he calls the “W5H system” to teach players the who, what, where, when, why and how of the game. For example, why are they playing, where they want to end up, and how can they get there.
The coaching philosophy at DUFA is to work on tactical awareness by allowing players to make their own decisions on the field.
The most important thing for these young kids with great potential is for them to stay focused and keep them active and providing multiple pathways like scholarship routes and professional level chances, says DUFA.
Goran Bebek is one of many coaches at the academy. He says De Rosario’s experience pays off for the young kids.
“These kids look up to him and I think his philosophy will help these kids thrive to reach their potential,” said Bebek.
Parents of players from the academy are also impressed with the coaches and the players’ development.
“My child has been continuously improving in every aspect of the game since he joined DUFA,” said Armando Toscano. “He always loves to come to training, it’s a great environment.”
Toscano says the coaches’ qualifications and experiences play a key role in developing the players.
“The coaches are very qualified, they are committed to help improve these kids,” he said.
As for the future of DUFA, Bebek says a girls program is underway and a League 1 women’s team has been created.