Wednesday, July 24, 2024

OSU opens long-awaited Clubhouse at George Nelms Sports Park

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By Keaton Hills

Ottawa South United Soccer Club’s home field of over a dozen years at George Nelms Sports Park now has a true home. Club officials, players and city councillors braved the rainy weather to officially open the OSU Clubhouse on Saturday afternoon in Manotick.

The long-desired facility will be used primarily as an educational and fitness centre for OSU players, along with club administration. The Clubhouse contains a gym, to be open year-round, and meeting rooms for player analysis and game theory, and coach/officials training.

The facility also commemorates the history of OSU, which turned 20 last season. One room has a wall with pictures of some of OSU’s most notable alumni and another wall features logos of all the universities/colleges that OSU players have gone on to attend.

Ottawa South United Soccer Club Clubhouse. Photo: Keaton Hills

OSU president Bill Michalopulos says the Clubhouse will be a focal point of the OSU community, providing a common gathering place for all club members, and will keep their connection alive during the winter months as well.

OSU had always envisioned a Clubhouse at George Nelms Sports Park, which first opened in 2011 with 32 acres of soccer pitches, while a turf field was added in 2015. It was a long road to bring the Clubhouse project to fruition, further delayed by lingering labour and material shortages spurred by COVID. Michalopulos says the opening gave the club “a sense of accomplishment and joy.”

“It was hard. The path was not easy. There was a lot of dedication and a lot of sleepless nights,” recalls OSU’s founding president of 20+ years. “We needed to put a scope together to create the design, you have to manage all the different trades, you have to coordinate all those trades.

“It’s a lot of investment here for the kids, for our club, so you have to make sure everything’s right. It was a long process with its ups and downs. However, here we are – it’s open.”

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OSU took pride in self-financing the Clubhouse’s construction, Michalopulos indicates, noting it required strong management and saving of funds over the years.

“We’re very diligent with any surplus operating funds so that they are managed correctly and saved in a way that allows us to reinvest back in the club,” he highlights.

(From left) City councillors Wilson Lo, George Darouze, OSU president Bill Michalopulos and Coun. Steve Desroches at the OSU Clubhouse official opening. Photo: OSU / Facebook

Now that the Clubhouse is built, Michalopulos says the next big project for OSU would be to build their own dome. OSU is currently the most frequent renter of indoor fields in Ottawa, so having a dome of their own would be a significant next step for the club, he notes.

Michalopulos adds that it will also be important that OSU avoids going into any big debt, so a dome construction project will come down to finding the right time, place and partners to make it happen.

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