Thursday, July 26, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – With the 2012 W-League Championship presented by Umbro set to kick off Friday at the Algonquin College Soccer Complex in Ottawa, Ontario, each of the final four participants – the host Ottawa Fury, D.C. United Women, the Pali Blues and the Quebec City Amiral – will be under inordinate amounts of pressure. The Fury, however, are hoping that home-field advantage will be the difference in capturing their first W-League title.
It had looked like 2011 would be their year until a shocking 6-1 collapse at the hands of the Atlanta Silverbacks in the final at Seattle, and the competition in 2012 will be just as stiff. Ottawa, which finished atop the Central Conference at 10-2-0, will face the formidable D.C. United Women in Friday’s second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. ET.
In only its second season, D.C. made easy work of the Atlantic Division with an 11-0-1 record, and cruised through the Eastern Conference tournament, defeating the Charlotte Lady Eagles 3-0 to move on.
Friday’s first semifinal sees the upstart Quebec City Amiral (8-2-2), who advanced from the Central Conference tourney with a win against Laval in PKs, taking on the perennial powerhouse Pali Blues (13-0-1) at 4:30 p.m. ET. If Ottawa gets past D.C. United Women in the semis, an even tougher game will be waiting in Sunday’s final at 4 p.m. ET. Both semifinals and the final will be available live at www.uslnation.com.
On the eve of the semifinals, Oliveri shared his thoughts about hosting the championship, and why he believes Ottawa has been so successful.
You’ve been involved with the Fury since 2005 and have seen the club enjoy unprecedented levels of success. What is the secret to the Fury always being at the top of the standings?
“There’s no secret to the Fury’s success; the W-League team is only as good as its players. We have been fortunate enough to have attracted some tremendous players to Ottawa throughout my time with the club which has been a key component to our success over the years.”
How much does the ownership and management of the club factor into the success?
“Ownership and management play a key role in the team’s success. Fury Owner, John Pugh, provides the coaching staff with the necessary tools and resources in order to run a quality program and field a competitive team each season.”
Does the club’s success help you to attract a higher level of player each summer?
“The success that the club has had in the past definitely helps when recruiting players. When you’re speaking with a potential player, it certainly helps to be able to give them details on the club, its history, as well as a list of players who have played for the club in the past who have gone on to play professionally or with their respective national teams.”
The Fury recently saw a 30-game home undefeated streak come to an end. What is the secret to that type of home-field advantage?
“The secret to the type of success that we have had over the past four years at home is simple; playing at home allows our players to take advantage of the opportunity to play in front of our fans, sleep in their own bed, eat a home-cooked meal, and play at a facility that we are familiar with, while visiting teams get none of these advantages.”
Despite all of the regular season success the Fury have yet to capture a league championship. Obviously hosting the championship this year helps your chances. What has to happen for Ottawa to finally raise the W-League Championship trophy?
“I think any coach would agree that in order to win a championship trophy, your team needs to play at its best, as well as, catch some breaks along the way.”
Do you think having this past weekend off in preparation for the final four, while the other teams were playing, will potentially help or hurt your team?
“I think having the weekend off will definitely help our team. It will allow for some of the players to recover from some minor injuries, and get some much needed rest. It also gives the coaching staff some additional time to focus and prepare the players for the semifinal game.”
How important is it for the club and community to have the W-League Championship in Ottawa this year?
“This is extremely important for our club and community as this event once again brings high level soccer to Ottawa. We are thrilled to be hosting the W-League Championships and hope to provide our fans and the local soccer community with a great experience.”