The Ocean City Nor'easters are excited to announce that one of the most succesful young coaches in the country will be spending his summers by the beach for the forseeable future, as Tim Oswald has signed a three year contract with the club. After winning the Mid-Atlantic Division Title in his first season with The Nor'easters, 'Oz' went one better in 2013, leading the team to the Final Four of the PDL, after winning the Eastern Conference and Mid-Atlantic Titles before leading Rutgers-Camden to the NCAA DIII Tournament Finals and being named Coach of the Year by three different organizations.
Everyone with the Ocean City Nor'easters organization is delighted at Tim's decision to sign a new contract with the club and are looking forward to his continued success with the club, starting with the 2014 US Open Cup which kicks off this week with a game at Carey Stadium against New York Greek American Atlas. During his preparations for the game we caught up with Coach Oz to talk about his new contract, previous success and hope for this year's season. Read on to find out what he said.
How excited are you to have sealed the long term deal with the team?
I am very excited to be part of the immediate and the future planning of the organization as the head coach of the team. I am honored to be working in OC with the Nor'easters and it's something I look forward to throughout the year. Our goal coming on board several years back was to build off of previous club success, revive the program with a new influx of the top talent across the country, and put the Nor'easters back on the national map as a contender. I feel we have been able to push the bar, raise the standards, and reach the expectations of the club management group.
You won National Coach of the Year honors, South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, and led your team to a National Championship appearance. How do you translate that success over to the Nor’easters?
I think my success as a coach at the DIII level is directly connected to my experience as a coach with the Nor'easters. Although I grew up playing and coaching in the DIII environment, the work I have done down at the shore as both an Assistant and as Head Coach of the PDL team over the years with higher end players from the DI and international levels has increased my tactical awareness and instinct within particular match segments. The need to devise more elaborate in match planning to address individual and team based strengths of our opponents has really shaped and changed my philosophy as a coach. I have felt the opportunity to coach some of the top young talent in the country day in and day out as well as compete against a USL Pro team, an MLS team, and compete in the Final 4 really laid the framework for our program at RUC. With that being said, I felt the team we had at Rutgers last year was special from the beginning, but it was the small things seen and observed on the PDL front that served as a huge personal benefit to me. That acumen directly influenced what we did at Rutgers. As much as the PDL is a top flight amateur development league for young players, it can equally double as a league to enhance the development of a young coach. Regardless of accolades as a coach, I would trade all of them in for a win, a championship, or a ring.
What do you expect to accomplish within the next three years with the club?
That’s definitely a loaded question. The focus and goal has to be to sustain what we have done the last 2 seasons, but I am also aware that we have done some tremendous things in that span as well. We want to continue to have success in the US Open Cup and in the PDL league with the focus on preparing for bigger moments on the field for the club. In the immediate future, we want to win our 1st National Championship in the US Amateur Cup and get back to the PDL Final 4. Having said that, I know 1st hand that you need to get a few bounces to consistently pull those things off year after year. It's safe to say that outside of winning games, we want to see more kids drafted each winter in the MLS SuperDraft and signing pro contracts, we want more positive relationships built for the club locally and nationally at various levels (from youth level, to college level, to pro level), and we want to grow our fan base at the Beach House. As our product continues to have success and land such amazing talent each summer, we want to really be a vehicle that the community sees as a valuable asset and commodity. I feel they already do and we have such great fans, but we want to continue that growth and build this thing
What is your relationship like with Owner, Giancarlo Granese?
I have an amazing relationship with El Presidente. I was fortunate enough to coach his son Johnny at 15 when he was with the SJ Barons. Flash-forward to today and beyond the club scene, I couldn't ask for a better boss. He is as passionate and enthusiastic about soccer then almost anyone that I have met. He is fanatical about the organization and making sure that they boys enjoy OC every summer. He wants to win every match that we play and our goal is too walk off the field after every match with him smiling and proud of our efforts from the sideline and between the lines. The only way we do that is to make sure we keep doing our thing and working hard every day. It's safe to say that so many alumni of the team and current players love playing in our club because of John...and I know our staff loves being down there as a result. It should go without saying that his wife Nancy is equally important to the club as she really channels El Presidente into looking at the big picture and making sure that all the boys have a Mom away from home if needed. It's that combined support that makes the organization what it is today.
How do you feel about the setup of the club?
The set up is what makes us special. The club is run in a unique setting at the beach that's appealing to just about any of the top college players in the country. If you factor that in with the success we have had, it has helped us land players that have National team experience (US and international), MLS youth academy experience, and from some of the top programs everywhere. The players are treated in a professional fashion that rivals the competitive edge and fortitude needed to sustain playing at the next level, while balancing out time of the kids to enjoy their summers with downtime in America's Greatest Family Resort. We factor in min played, # of sessions held, and sports therapy/rehab needed to keep the kids fresh on the field all summer long while getting them back to their college programs in the Fall in tip top shape. The players have a great chance to connect to the community and the youth players through the Shore area, which is rewarding in itself.
What do you consider the strongpoint with this year’s squad?
I think the returning core of guys have had incredible success at the college and PDL levels and the new players that we have brought in will only enhance the overall depth of the team. The talent within the group will make the environment super competitive, but I think the older guys will also work hard to keep things as positive as possible and the chemistry at the level it needs to excel within the matches that we play. I think each player coming in values their career and values the time needed to build their game to the next level (whether that be technically, tactically, fitness, mindset, etc.).
What are your aspirations for this season?
We want to develop the club on and off the field and continue on our quest for a PDL championship. Certainly we want to win every 90 min match that we play, but we also want to take into account the experience and the journey that we go on from Day 1 as a group. From competitions in the US Open Cup, to US Amateur Cup, to PDL matches, we want the kids to grow, mature, and get better each day...but we also want the same for the team. We will have 5-6 days to prepare for our 1st game, but from the second we roll the balls out and lay out the cones, it's business as usual. Day in and Day out we have to work hard. We can't just expect to get back to last year's moment in the Final 4...as every team in the division and the country wants the same thing.
Do you have anything you'd like to mention to the supporters of the club?
We want our team to embrace the fans and we want our fans to embrace the players and the team each and every day. From the time that we see them on the boardwalk or beach to the time that they see us perform on the field, we want to create that bond that signifies this team as a class act in Ocean City. We hope to see rally towels, Nor'easters tees, chants, scarves, and loud cheering game in and game out and we hope to sign autographs and shake hands with young soccer players and fans afterwards. That support will really help us on our journey and quest this summer. We look forward to seeing everyone out this summer.