The Ocean City Nor’easters, South Jersey Elite Barons FC and the New Jersey Surf announced a new collaboration between the three clubs who have ties dating back nearly 25 years.
This partnership between the Nor’easters, SJEB FC and the New Jersey Surf will have the shared goal of providing a pathway to the pros. SJEB FC and NJ Surf field boys teams from the Under-8 through the U-18 levels. From the two youth clubs, players have the opportunity to advance to the U-19, U-23, USL-2 Reserves and the USL League Two First Team within the Ocean City Nor’easters organization.
The Nor’easters compete in USL League Two, the top amateur league in North America, which is the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid, behind Major League Soccer, USL Championship and USL League One.
The collaboration will provide a proven pathway for South Jersey boys to develop from youth players to men’s soccer and a clear tried and tested route to the professional game. The goal of helping players take their game to the next level will be a shared goal while all three clubs still will operate as separate entities.
The Nor’easters have had success in helping players achieve their goal to play the game professionally. More than 90 players have moved on to the pros in MLS, the United Soccer League and more than 20 countries.
The collaboration will be led by the members of the Nor’easters’ revamped front office, along with new head coach Alan McCann, the reigning two-time USL League Two coach of the year. The men who are spearheading this effort have a long history of working together:
John Thompson: A former award-winning player and head coach of the Nor’easters has returned to the club as the Technical Director. Thompson is also the SJEB FC technical director
Neil Holloway: An award-winning player for the Nor’easters, Holloway also operated as the club’s head coach and general manager. In addition to his role as the Nor’easters’ vice president of soccer operations, he is also the director of the New Jersey Surf.
Giancarlo Granese Sr.: The president and owner of the Ocean City Nor’easters since 2005.
Tim Oswald: After a brief hiatus, the Nor’easters’ all-time leader in USL-2 coaching wins has returned as the club’s sporting director. He is also the head coach of the Rutgers University-Camden men’s soccer program and recently earned his 200th career win with the Scarlet Raptors.
“I’ve been a part of this club since 2002 when I signed as a professional player straight out of college,” said Thompson, who was a three-time First Team All-American as a player at Lewis University (Ill.). “I have devoted my entire working career to the Ocean City Nor’easters USL-2 team and the SJEB FC youth club, so having the two entities working together again to provide a pathway for future generations of footballers to the professional game couldn’t be more perfect.”