Winstars News


Training Schedule

Sunday August 1:    Training 1pm - 3pm

All Training at Racco Parkway – The Grass Field – 299 Racco Parkway in Thornhill
The junction of the Dufferin and Racco Parkway, just below the Hwy 407 and above Centre Street.


Daniel Ropar - Our Academy Player in Croatia - We are Real Proud of this Young Man

Trio from as far away as Canada for football on – Višnjik!

Planet Višnjik VIŠNJIK / 15.07.2021.

Almost every morning already about six and thirty large, but interesting football company gathers in one corner of a large football field in the Višnjik Sports Center. After they've kneaded the cones and other training equipment, they start to warm up...

Yes, it's early, but it's for the best, until it warms up! – says Šime Žilić (1999), a staunch Škabrnjanin, football goalkeeper.

The five-member early rise group, however, consists predominantly of Canadians. Specifically, two guys whose fathers are Croats, and one from a classic Canadian family. In order – Tomislav Završki (2006), Danijel Ropar (2005) and Hendrix Mota (2005).
– We are here because we love football!

Tomislav, whose canadian mom, Mrs. Natalie, and Hendrix are from Montreal.
– We were four years old when we started playing football. At the Montreal River Club, the forwards are both – says Tomislav.

His father, Mr. Mladen, is from Pakrac and went to Canada long ago for work.

– There, the son loves football very much and we have already been to Zadar once, in 2019, on vacation. He attended several training sessions at the then NK Zadar and liked it. He was invited to stay, but he was really too young. Now we are in Sabunika and we will come to live here if everything goes well – says Mladen Završki.

Tomislav's friend Hendrix Mota is very motivated for football. Both, he says, would like to reach a professional level and one day play at one of the best Croatian clubs.

– We play together for a long time and we get along great in the game. If he's on the left, I'm on the right and vice versa. We handle the ball with both feet. Yes, we want to progress here in Zadar – Hendrix will be briefly.

Danijel Ropar, whose dad Zeljko is a native of Karlovac, was born in Toronto.
– He has loved football since he was a young man. He started at a Croatian club, but over time there are fewer and fewer players and then he was in Toronto Winstars, he is a midfielder. When he heard that Daniel was originally from Croatia, a gentleman from Munich Bayern who ran the camp, he called him – Luka Modrić – says Željko Ropar.

Like Tomislav and Hendrix and Daniel, he wants to progress and develop his career in Croatia.
" It's great in Zadar," says Daniel.

They know, of course, that Zadar has produced such greats as Luka Modrić, Danijel Subašić, Šime Vrsaljko, Dominik Livaković and many others...

And now, there are young Canadians in Zadar, and in company with the aforementioned Šim Žilić and Josip Sušić (2000), they get up early, vigorously do training and prepare for – preparations.
It's not hard, no matter what! We are inspired, we do what we have and we hang out – said Šime Žilić.

His football journey began in Arbanasi, so he continued in Zadar, in Velebit, Postojna...
I'm waiting for an opportunity. That's why I want to be ready because it's better to wait and be ready than to get ready! – concluded Šime Žilić.

Until the official trainings, the aforementioned society will be on Višnjik almost every day half an hour before seven. Ready and motivated. And he'll never touch it. After all, why would someone who, like Tomislav, Hendrix and Daniel, came to Zadar for football and comes to Višnjik!



Congratulations to our Academy product Eric Caricato on his commitment to @USPORTSca powerhouse @yorkulions
We are very happy for you Eric. A very deserving young man will now be joining an exceptional program.

Bobby Graham – Academy Director
Champions Are Made Here



Congratulations to our Academies very own Jack Jordan on his commitment to Holy Family University in Philadelphia @HFUMSoccer.

Holy Family is gaining a Terrific player and an even better individuals. We are very proud and excited for this part of your Collegiate journey. Jack is an excellent player and today is a very special day, he is on his path to becoming a Professional Soccer Player that is his dream. I would also like to congratulate his Mom Sherry who has been behind him every step of the way. The long drive back and forth from Sudbury for training indoor and outdoor over the years.

I would also like to congratulate and thank all his former Coaches, Clubs and Teammates that have been part of Jack journey. We hope he will be able to train with us up until he leaves for Philadelphia and Winstars and myself are very proud of him and wish him only the very best as he enters the next chapter of his journey.

Bobby Graham – Academy Director




Congratulations to our Academies very own Nikola Subotic on his commitment to Guelph University and the Guelph Gryphons @guelph_gryphons

A big thanks to Head Coach Keith Mason, Nikola is going to a great soccer collegiate program and a great Coach and Team. All of us at Winstars are so happy for Nikola. 

Very deserving and humble young man. We are excited for this next stage of your career and wishing you the very best. Congratulations also to his Mom and Dad and Sister, who have been behind him every step of the way.

You will always be a Winstars Player and happy you are going to get a great education and play for a very good friend of mine Keith Mason who runs one of the best soccer collegiate programs in Canada.

The future is so bright for you Nikola.









Williams named NEC Player of the Week

Posted: Mar 16, 2021
Somerset, N.J. - Ben Williams of the Bryant University men's soccer team has been named the Northeast Conference Player of the Week by the organization on Tuesday.

Williams has had a great start to his season by scoring three goals in two games played. His mark of three goals this season is tied for the second-most in the NEC. Yesterday against Sacred Heart, Williams scored two goals in the 4-2 win. This season Williams leads the NEC in points per game with three and is tied for second in points with six.

The Bulldogs will return home for an NEC game against St. Francis Brooklyn on March 22.



Ben Williams, young core spark Bryant past Sacred Heart

By Jonathan Sigal
March 16, 2021

Bryant captain Ben Williams scored twice against Sacred Heart. (Dave Silverman Photography)

Back healthy, the goal-scoring prowess of junior forward Ben Williams is on full display for Bryant (1-0-1) this spring.

Born in London and raised in the Toronto area, Williams bagged a brace Monday afternoon during a 4-2 win at Sacred Heart in Northeast Conference play, building off his early-season equalizer during a 1-1 home draw against Long Island University.

A season ago, Williams had a shoulder/collarbone injury that forced him to miss the bulk of conference play before returning for the NEC semifinals. Williams hoped to form a one-two punch alongside then-senior forward Alex DaCosta (Bristol, R.I.), a transfer from Providence College, but their potential never quite panned out.

“Ben’s not a flashy player, but he’s such a dependable goal scorer,” Bryant head coach Seamus Purcell told New England Soccer Journal postgame. “He’s going to find a way to get on the end of crosses. His soccer IQ is very good, even if he’s not somebody you watch in the game and are really wowed by. He’s a natural, instinctive player in the box.”

Across 27 games (23 starts) for the Bulldogs, Williams now has 12 goals and four assists. The 6-foot forward should challenge for First Team All-NEC honors this year, as could Merrimack’s Frantz Pierrot (Melrose, Mass.) and Sacred Heart’s Segundo Navarro.

Bryant has found success when recruiting from Canada, with all-time leading scorer Brett Larocque an Ottawa native who had 26 goals and nine assists in 66 career matches from 2012-15. While Williams hasn’t quite matched Larocque’s production, the Bulldogs have a Winstars Academy-molded gem who developed under Bobby Graham.

“Bobby sent me the tape at the end of his recruiting cycle and Ben didn’t look too great, but he was scoring goals, especially with his head, getting in the right spots,” Purcell recalled. “Bobby vouched for him and said he’s gone under the radar, but the kid is legit and has a high soccer IQ. We took a chance on him and Bobby was right. It’s turned out really well for us.”

Bryant center back Abdel Talabi. (Dave Silverman Photography)

Williams aside, Bryant is benefiting from another strong freshman class that placed center back Abdel Talabi (Brewster, Mass.), center mid David Medeiros (Attleboro, Mass.) and wingbacks Barnaby Brandon (Lexington, Mass.) and Kyle Mabe (Wayland, Mass.) in the starting lineup against Sacred Heart (0-4). They also have first-year midfielder Andre Vieira (East Providence, R.I.), who recorded an assist in his collegiate debut against LIU.

Talabi has perhaps impressed the most, playing beyond his years in the heart of defense. Purcell described him as an under-the-radar recruit, despite the fact that Talabi’s youth résumé included All-American honors and two Division II state titles with Nauset (Mass.) High School; a NEPSAC Class A title at Worcester Academy as a postgraduate student; and club stops with both the New England Revolution Academy and Liverpool FC International Academy Massachusetts.

Purcell said that Talabi could be as good as Charlie Booth (Concord, Mass.), who spent the 2020 season with USL League One side FC Tucson. Booth played at Bryant from 2015-18 before transferring to Rhode Island for the 2019 campaign and helping the Rams win their second straight Atlantic 10 title.

“His composure on the ball, his maturity and leadership as a freshman is truly excellent,” Purcell said of Talabi. “High soccer IQ, can win any ball in the air, he’s got the size and he can play by connecting balls at 10 yards, 20 yards or driving it 40, 60 yards. He’s the complete center back for us.”

Other key pieces for Bryant are box-to-box midfielder Diego Rodriguez (Woodbridge, Conn.), a Beachside SC academy alum, and attacking midfielder Nick Awada (Westford, Mass.), a former Boston Bolts academy player. They both scored their first collegiate goals in the Sacred Heart win.

Bryant has two graduate students in center back Thomas Murray (Tiverton, R.I.) and goalkeeper Jack Bacon (Lincoln, R.I.), who respectively played for NEPSAC sides Tabor Academy and Pomfret when they were younger. They’re each at their third collegiate program, and Bacon’s vying for the starting role alongside junior Will Swart (Little Compton, R.I.).

Nick Awada is playing in the No. 10 role for Bryant. (Dave Silverman Photography)

But it’s the young core that Purcell hails, and it should only improve next fall when the Class of 2021 arrives on campus. Without looking too far ahead, Purcell also feels Bryant can challenge for this spring’s NEC title.

“The experience these young guys are getting, this young freshman class, it’s invaluable,” Purcell said. “They’re contributing significantly already. When you start five freshmen against LIU at home, that says everything about the confidence we have in these young men.”






Good afternoon, as we are getting excited about our upcoming spring season. Our Alumni Ben Williams led his NCAA Division 1 Bryant University Team as Captain on to the field last night and I really enjoyed watching a young Team that played soccer the right way and right spirit.  I always tell our Senior Academy Players that they are the Pioneers when they go to  the NCAA and University, they have to be fine ambassadors and represent their Families and our Country and our wee soccer academy with Class.

This being my 39th Season of Coaching, what makes you keep going is when you come across young aspiring players  like Ben Williams. This young Man ticked off all the boxes from the start, I just knew we had a special player with our program that night and told one of my former players Bob Andreakos who was part of my Wexford Soccer Club 1990 National Championship Team and had his Son Peter who is now at Ryerson and came to join our program. Bob and another Dad who became an amazing friend Rob Belloti brought his Son Joey who is now at NCAA D1 Duquesne University on Scholarship and Nate and Anthony who both went to Tulsa on Scholarship.  All of them came from a Vaughan Team and all were amazing players, families and people. We were blessed.

I remember his Dad David calling me on the phone two weeks after he joined our program and he told me “ what was most important was that he had a smile on his face and was in the backyard practicing with the ball . “    

I always believe that  big players come thru in big games and I remember two matches where Ben played in. The first was against a University Team and we won 6-1 and Ben scored 5, we had to bring him off as he was on fire. The second was his last with the academy, we were playing in the UMBRO Showcase where we won the  event in the top bracket and against the top teams. We defeated one of the best academies in Ontario 5-0  and Ben scored again.

Good Players are leaders and Ben always was a leader as well he just made every other player around him better and for that he  just continued to keep our academy as a top program in Canada.  It is important that we recognize players like Ben as accomplishing goals and earning a good scholarship,  nothing is given, nothing can be bought , you have to earn it and he did.

Ben is enjoying his time at Rhode Island playing for a Legend Player Seamus Purcell who was a fantastic player at Providence College and I am forever grateful to Seamus for believing in what I told him about Ben and for giving Ben the wonderful opportunity of a Special Bryant Education and a Business Degree.

The other great thing at the start was Ben was a Manchester United Supporter and everyone knows that is my Team and will always be ! We wish Ben and Coach Seamus all the best for their season and if you get a chance to watch, you should as they have an excellent and highly skilled team.   

We get on the field on March 15th – Counting down the Days !                            
Bobby Graham  - Academy Director

His note to me last night after his match

Hi Boss,

Thank you for the lovely words. I hope I repaid you with a goal today! 
United have been a bit frustrating recently for sure!
All the best and I hope to continue making you and Winstars proud.
Sent from my iPhone
See Ben Goal last night as well as  his talk after match to interviewer.

We are real proud of our academy graduate Ben Williams who plays at NCAA Division 1 Bryant University in Rhode Island. Ben Captained our Academy Team and now Captains Bryant University going into his third Season. Ben is one of those special players that do not come around too often, he reads the game so well and is most competitive, loves the game and loves to play the game. Ben is studying Business at Bryant and they have one of the best Business Schools in the Country. 

We have an excellent relationship with Head Coach Seamus Purcell who was a great player at Providence College and played for my good friend Bill Doyle.  As well Nathan Kronewetter who is Seamus Assistant and a very good friend of our academy. As well Assistant Nate Millette who is Assistant at Bryant University.  



Our Academy is proud to announce that Omer Salehy has committed to play with USPORTS school Brock University. Omer will solidify the Brock Teams midfield.
We are very proud of Omer and wish him the best!

#WinstarsAcademy #WeAreWinstars



Congratulations to Amanvir Gill who commits to Brock University

I am very happy to announce that our academy player Amanvir Gill has committed to study at Brock University and signed the letter of intent to play for the Brock Men’s Soccer Team under the leadership of Head Coach Lucio Ianiero. The University has an excellent reputation for academics and has a very good soccer program and Coach and will be a very good fit for Amanvir.

I would like to thank Coach Ianiero for making this happen and would like to congratulate all the Coaches, Programs and Teammates for making this day possible and would like to congratulate Amanvir Family who have been behind him every step of the way.

All of us at our soccer academy wish Amanvir the very best as he enters the next chapter of his life and are happy that we could be part of his journey. We wish him well as he plays for the Brock Badgers of the OUA and confident that he will impact from the start.

Sincerely in sport,

Bobby Graham – Academy Director

Our Academy is proud to announce that Amanvir Gill has committed to play with USPORTS school Brock University. Brock are gaining a steady CM and an even better human.   


Our Academy Captain and an outstanding human, Dante Forte has signed on to play with Coach Carmine Isacco with the USPORTS Powerhouse York University. @yorkulions
#WinstarsAcademy #WeAreWinstars



We are excited to announce our continued partnership Handshake with @Sports_Recruits
This partnership provides our Student Athletes a competitive advantage in their recruiting journeys.
SportsRecruits platform is a state of the art recruiting software that connects student athletes
with every college coach in the country automatically.




Congratulations to our former Academy player Chris Campoli on getting drafted to the @CPLsoccer
Chris went 4th Overall to @yorkutdfc in the 1st round.
We couldn’t be more proud of you Chris and we are all rooting for you at Winstars.





Congratulations to our very own Bhuvan on his commitment to St. Francis University - Fort Wayne.
We wish you the very best in your next chapter ! #WSA #WinstarsAcademy










Tryouts for our Elite Soccer Academy

We are only interested in very talented players as well as students with good grades and a passion and desire for the game of soccer and also to play soccer at the next level. NCAA Collegiate Soccer. Looking for a few players as we are close to full for the winter and Spring season. Only serious student athletes and soccer players communicate.

- Showcase our Players at the best events in USA/Canada and Europe

- Professional Staff with a proven track record of success both with development and winning

- The number 1 Academy in Canada for athletic scholarships at NCAA Universities

- Meaningful training in a quality environment / more significant games

- Academy Director has now sent over 500 players to the USA on athletic scholarship/unparalleled and over 50 to Professional Soccer

- Talent ID criteria centered around the players ability to control the ball

Academy Director – Bobby Graham
Office: (905)265-1285 and Cellular: (647) 745-8864


Marcus Gaymes makes Commitment to Houston Baptist NCAA Division 1

Our academy player Marcus Gaymes has committed to @NCAASoccer D1 school Houston Baptist University.

Congratulations Marcus, we wish you the very best in this next chapter of your life. @HBUMSoccer

I am beyond excited to announce my commitment to play NCAA Division 1 soccer at Houston Baptist University. I firstly want to thank God for guiding me through my journey. I want to thank my mom, brothers, family and friends for the constant support and belief in me. I also want to thank @miltonmagicsoccer , @winstarssoccer , and @athelitelab for developing me as a player and providing guidance and opportunities to compete at the university level. #dawgsup #slowgrind #4pops



Marcus Gaymes makes verbal commitment to Houston Baptist NCAA Div 1 Huskies

Houston Baptist University

Today is a very special day for our academy player Marcus Gaymes and for our soccer academy. Marcus has earned himself a scholarship at a very good University and also a very competitive Huskies Team. He will play for Head Coach Ryan Pratt and will play in the WAC – Western Athletic Conference of the NCAA Division 1. Marcus will be studying Business at the prestigious Archie Dunham College of Business.

Houston is a great City and so is the State of Texas, the people are amazing and soccer is big time. Texas and California are the biggest states for soccer in the USA.
The WAC Conference has much travelling where it could be to UNLV – Las Vegas Nevada to California to play the USA Airforce in Colorado to the Grand Canyon University in Arizona. They have a great schedule and a very competitive conference.

Marcus Coach Ryan Pratt played for my best friend at UAB and was room-mates with one of my former players. I would like to thank Ryan for all if his support and in return he gets a fantastic player an person.

Marcus is a special player, he is a leader by example, he just controls the defense and just makes everyone else around him better. I would like to congratulate him and I would like to congratulate all of his family and especially his Mom who has been behind him every step of the way. Keep an eye on Marcus as he has a great future ahead of him and is going to a great Coach and University and Soccer program and to play NCAA Division 1 is every player Dream.

On behalf of all of us at Winstars, we wish Marcus all the very best as he enters the next chapter of his life and look forward to getting him ready for the big jump
To NCAA Division 1 Soccer so he can start in the best way.

Sincerely, Bobby Graham – Academy Director – Winstars Soccer






Congratulations to Jonathan Assad – Signs with McMaster University

McMaster University

Today is a very special day for Jonathan Assad our academy player who has signed to attend prestigious McMaster University and play for the Marauders under the leadership of Head Coach Dino Perri. McMaster in one of the best Universities in Canada and their soccer program is one of the elite programs in the OUA and the Coach is fantastic and well respected in Canada.

Jonathan has only been with us a short time, he is an excellent soccer player and ticks off all the boxes for a very good player. Fantastic skills and vision, creative, team player, leader as well as an excellent student. I would like to congratulate his Parents and his brother who have been behind him on this journey since the beginning , as well all the Clubs, Coaches and Teammates who have been supportive of Jonathan and his soccer career.

On behalf of our soccer academy Family, Players, Staff and Parents, we wish Jonathan the very best as he enters the next chapter of his life and looking forward to  helping him until he departs for McMaster in August.

Sincerely, Bobby Graham – Academy Director – Winstars Soccer


The Academy Life Style -  Mentality - How Bad do you want it ?

Our  Academy Players can see that we are real and that over 500 Players have gone on to the NCAA  and over 50 to Professional. You have to work hard and work on your own.   

Working for the right opportunity to turn what you love into a Career.  




   The Academy, Episode 3

“One opportunity can change everything.” Watch episode three of ‘The Academy’

One of the blessings of being a Coach/Academy Director is to see our Players grow and earn an education and see what pathway they choose after Soccer and University. You do your best to impact on their lives the importance of life skills as well as the importance of education. We encourage our players to be leaders on and off the field and on the field to find solutions as the game is the teacher.

One of those young Men was Rumbani who joined our Winstars Team and we knew from the start he had the ability to have a future in the game.  Rumbani was a fantastic player for our soccer team and we won everything there was to win in Canada at the youth soccer level.  He was on the front page of the Toronto Star when we played in the prestigious Robbie Tournament. Rumbani had two main offers to choose from Boston University or UAB and he chose to play and earn his degree from UAB.

A great memory was watching him play in his final game for UAB where they played University of Louisville, of course I was very proud as 7 players from both teams were our players and each team captains were also our players. This was real special, not sure if anyone else could have that happen for them.

Rumbani after graduating, played pro in the North America and then China then came back and got into Coaching.  He is now an Academy Coach for the MLS Sporting Kansas City Team and lives in Kansas City with his Wife and Family.

Dreams can come true if you believe in your dreams , just ask Rumbani

Bobby Graham – Academy Director – Winstars


Testimonial from Rumba Munthali
I would just like to say that I played for you for a short time but you had a tremendous impact on my soccer career. I played with the Winstars and eventually received a scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where I not only became a Division 1 All-American but I also one time made the Dean's List.

I also got to experience a Conference USA championship and a berth in the "Elite Eight" in the NCAA Tournament. After my days at UAB were done, I was selected to the College Allstar game and then I eventually went on to play Professional for the Richmond Kickers and then the Toronto Lynx.

Now I am playing professional in China. But no matter when my career ends, or takes me, I was blessed to play soccer for a long period of time and earn a University Degree. But without your help and exposure none of this would have been possible. So I thank you, as do many of my lifelong friends that I made playing with the Winstars, because without your help and knowledge I would have been very limited in my quest to fulfill my soccer dreams.

So thanks and good luck in all future endeavors. I also thank you for following my career closely and always sending emails or traveling to watch me play thanks.

Always one of your player
Rumba Munthali


A must read for all aspiring players who have the dream and the passion.      

by Borussia Dortmund

For Jack Giovanni Reyna

One of these days I really need to say thank you to Sergio Agüero.

For a long time I have been like, I need to play against this guy, just so that I can talk to him. Not just because my grandfather is Argentine, or because Sergio is one of my family’s favorite players, or because at the World Cup two years ago we all sat in front of the TV rooting for Argentina.Nah. I have a story to tell him. Many years ago Sergio scored a goal that gave me one of the happiest moments of my life.  To understand why, you need to know about my older brother, Jack.

Jack was my hero when I was a kid. Some people think that my dad, Claudio, made me a good player, since he was a pro himself. Sure, he gave me great advice and some pretty good genes. But when I was growing up in Manchester, where Dad was playing for Manchester City, the one who always played with me in the backyard was Jack.

We had the old Samba goals, you know? One-on-one, nowhere to hide. I was four years old and Jack was three years older, so he would sometimes let me win by letting a few shots slip under his foot. Most of the time, though, Jack would make sure I lost. And I’d get angry. I’d kick him, bite him, fight him. Then I’d cry and run to my mum, Danielle. Those games made me grow up a lot, and Dad will tell you the same thing. My competitiveness, my feistiness, all that came from trying to beat Jack.

He was the perfect brother. I was always a shy kid, so he would include me in whatever he was doing with his friends, which meant that I got used to playing against kids who were several years older. That gave me confidence. When I wasn’t around, he’d say nice things about me. When he realized that I was  going to be better than he was, he pushed me to become the best I could possibly be. And if I had played a good game, he would be the first person to call me to tell how well I had played.

In 2007, our family moved to New York, where Dad played for the New York Red Bulls. In the summer of 2010, Jack was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was 11 years old. At one point it looked like he was going to make it, but in December 2011, the doctors discovered that the tumor had come back. Shortly after that, when we went on a vacation to Mexico, Jack started to get sick and put on pounds because of the chemotherapy. He could still walk and swim, but he got tired very quickly. That was when I figured out that this could end in a very bad way.

Over the next few months I did everything I could to help him. I had to grow up fast. He couldn’t pull himself up. There was a point where he had to wear diapers. I learned how to microwave food, I did the dishes, stuff like that. I also hung out a lot with my younger brother, Joah-Mikel, and my younger sister, Carolina, who were having a tough time, too. I just wanted to make my family happy, and to make Jack happy, of course. All of us did, especially when we knew that he only had a few months left to live. Every night at the dinner table we would tell each other stories and laugh. Every night. Somehow, even in such a devastating situation, we managed to have some fun.

One day in May 2012, when Jack was 13, we gathered in the living room to watch the final day of the Premier League. I think even my grandparents were there. We are all big City fans, because Dad played there, and on that particular day City could win its first league title in 44 years by beating Queens Park Rangers at home. If City didn’t win, we had to hope that Manchester United, which was behind City only on goal differential, didn’t win either.

He was so sick at that time that he couldn’t walk or talk. Now he wasn’t going to see City win the league either.

We were all pretty positive that City was going to beat QPR, one of the smaller teams in the league. When City scored in the first half, the win, and the title, seemed like a formality.

But QPR turned the game around and took the lead in the second half. Since United was winning, City needed two goals. In our living room nobody was smiling anymore. I felt bad for Jack. He was so sick at that time that he couldn’t walk or talk. Now he wasn’t going to see City win the league either.

Two minutes into stoppage time Edin Džeko equalized. That gave us some hope, even though the game was almost over. Two minutes later Agüero scored the winner.

You’ve seen the goal. You’ve heard the commentary.


We went crazy in the living room. We were jumping around, shouting and celebrating and hugging each other. A first league title in 44 years! Won in the most incredible manner. We looked at each other in disbelief.

Suddenly we heard someone gasping for air. It was Jack. He was rolling around on the floor, which came out of nowhere because he barely had any energy left in his body. We got very concerned. For 20 seconds it looked like he couldn’t breathe.

Then, slowly, Jack broke into a smile and began to laugh. We realized that he was celebrating the goal. He was just as happy as we were.

I’ll never forget that moment. It was so amazing, so funny, so crazy.

A bit more than nine weeks later, on July 19, Jack passed away.

Losing your older brother when you are nine years old changes the way you view life. You learn not to take anything, or anyone, for granted. The next few years after Jack’s death were very difficult for the whole family. Personally, I just felt lost.

Sports became my getaway.

It was important for me to just enjoy whatever I was doing. I had played lacrosse. Now I was playing tennis, a bit of Wiffle ball and a lot of basketball. Playing different sports helped me become a better soccer player. Basketball, for example, improved my footwork and athleticism. And anyway, I don’t think it would have been healthy to focus just on soccer. Actually, I would say that to all kids and parents: Just enjoy different sports until you are 13 or 14, then you can pick one. There is no need to get too intense too early. I think a lot of parents in America are a bit hard-core. I’m definitely glad that my dad never put any pressure on me. He was always there as a dad first. Soccer always came second.

My goal was to turn pro, of course. I’d watch the big games and the big players through the generations: First Messi and Cristiano, then down to Neymar, then De Bruyne, Sterling, then Mbappé. I wanted to play in World Cups and Champions League finals. Being like these guys was always my dream.

I kept playing with kids who were two or three years older. In 2015 I began playing for New York City, where Dad had been sporting director for two years. One of the players there was Nico Benalcazar, who became my best friend. I was one of the youngest players there, and still feisty — a bit of a knucklehead, if you want to call it that — whereas Nico was a year older than me. So when we roomed together at tournaments, he would keep me in line. Whenever I’d get into fights in training, he would back me up. He became like an older brother to me.

My game changed at New York City. Over the first few months I was a right winger, fast but small. After our Christmas break that season, we got a really good coach from Spain named José Manuel Lara, who had worked at Real Madrid’s academy. By then I was 13 and already one of the best players on the team, but José Manuel showed me how not to just rely on my speed. He worked on my first touch, my linkup play, my whole understanding of the game. He taught me the Spanish way. I cannot thank him enough for that. Without him I definitely would not be here.

Around this time I also had a growth spurt — I became taller, stronger and more confident. Then José Manuel switched our formation and moved me from the right wing to a central number 10 role. Come February we travelled to Madrid to play a tournament against some of the best youth teams in the world. And I just took off. Suddenly, I was this powerful playmaker who wasn’t scared of anyone. We lost the final on penalties to Atlético Madrid, but I became the tournament’s top scorer, and people said I would have been named the best player, too, had we won the final. I had never been on a European stage before, and now I was dribbling past kids who were older than me and playing for big teams. I was like, If I’m beating these kids, for sure I must have something.

After that many of the big clubs began to go, Hmm, this kid can play. Obviously they couldn’t do anything because of the rules for signing young players, but they did begin to track me. The only one who knew about it, though, was Dad, because I didn’t even have an agent at the time. And Dad didn’t tell me. It was probably a good thing. Had he told me, I would have had like no idea what it meant. I would’ve been like, “So what am I going to do? Am I going to go there? What’s happening?”

Over the next couple of years I became one of the best players in the country for my age. I played for the national team a year up. We would go to all these international tournaments, where the interest from big clubs kept coming and where the same thoughts kept running through my head. If I’m better than these kids from Brazil, I really might have something.

In July last year, when I signed for Dortmund and joined their academy, it was the same thing of just raising my level and realizing that I could make another jump. Like, Hey, maybe I can play for the first team.

Then last January, I was invited to join the first team on a winter camp to Spain. That was when I knew that I was going to eventually get promoted. When I made my senior debut that same month, I was really, you know, a bit more nervous and uncomfortable.

The hardest part about moving to Germany, though, has been leaving home. I’m a family kid. Even before I came over I wasn’t going out with friends that often. I’d much rather have a night in than a night out. So for the first six months it was very tough living alone. I got an apartment in February and then the pandemic struck, which created a lot of uncertainty about what was going to happen. Some said that we weren’t going to be able to play until September. In that state of mind, I was just lost. It often felt like I needed to get some love and some life into my apartment. It was a lot of white walls, a lot of unfinished rooms. I really just needed my family there to draw all the parts of my life together.

Life moves pretty fast and you have to move with it - Giovanni Reyna

It was a phase I had to go through, though. My parents probably won’t like hearing this, but I know that I need to start making the next step in my life, which means living alone and focusing a bit more on myself versus being their kid — which I always will be, of course. But, you know, life moves pretty fast and you have to move with it. So during these last few months I have tried to take things into my own hands and educate myself a bit more. I’ve read up on history, politics, the Black Lives Matter movement, stuff like that. I just think it’s important to know about the world, keep an open mind and be ready for whatever comes next.

I have grown a lot as a player, too. I’ve played some big games, I’ve come out of my shell. I now demand the ball. I think the time has come for me to become one of the main players on the team. You see guys like Sancho and Haaland — I want to be at their level. When I was playing for New York City, it was like, Who is going to change the game for us? And then they would look to give me the ball. I want that to happen at Dortmund. I know I can make that jump this season. I already feel like I’m becoming part of the new generation of big players. I don’t want to become just a good American player. I want to consistently be one of the top 10 players in the world.

One game that I played for Dortmund earlier this year kind of made that goal seem realistic to me. I’m talking about the Champions League game in February, when I was subbed in against Paris Saint-Germain. When I played that game and got an assist, something just clicked inside my head. Like, Wow, if I stay on this path, I can really become a world-class player. I think that game showed everyone that I’m not just some talent that’s going to fade away. I’m here to stay.

I want to consistently be one of the top 10 players in the world.

The night before the game I was sitting in my apartment playing Fortnite when I decided to call my parents. Dad was like, “You know you’re playing PSG tomorrow?” And I was like, “Yeah.…” I knew it was big, but I never really thought, I’m going to face Neymar and Mbappé tomorrow, guys who are literally my idols. If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep.

My family… actually, this is incredible. My mum and my siblings left Dortmund the day before the game. You can talk to my brother about it right now: he is so angry at my mom for making them leave. The game was on a Tuesday night and they left on Monday. My Dad and I were saying, “Come on, stay one more night.” And Mom was like, “No, we have a dinner at home that I have to go to.” And then the dinner ended up getting cancelled anyway. My brother will bother her about that for the rest of her life.

Anyway, it was a late game. And there’s something different about a Champions League night in Dortmund, you know? You can feel it throughout the city. The vibe, the buzz, the atmosphere. The anticipation is kind of hanging in the air. That night, we could feel it. We used different balls in training. When we did the video prep, the staff basically said, “This is PSG. They can do anything. They’re good.”

To be honest, I wasn’t that fazed until I began packing up in the hotel. We left at about 7 p.m. for the kickoff at 9 p.m. Some of my friends were texting me, like, “Good luck. This is crazy. Just do your thing.” When we got off the bus and went inside the stadium, that’s when it hit me. I saw the Champions League banners. There was far more media than usual. Inside the locker room my teammates were tuned in a little bit differently. I knew I would start on the bench, so I had to be ready of course. But for now I just wanted to take in the vibe.

I got another mild shock when we went out to warm up. As I was walking down the stairs leading to the pitch, I found myself next to Neymar and Mbappé, literally shoulder to shoulder. I was trying to stay tuned in, but to be honest, I had to pinch myself.

Hey. Aren’t these the guys I used to watch on TV?

Then I saw the fans. Wow. Have you ever seen a Champions League game in Dortmund? Again, it’s a different kind of night. It’s dark. The fans know that we’ll probably meet a bigger team, and that we’ll need all their energy and support. This was one of those occasions. Playing for the Yellow Wall is always special, but I have never heard it as loud as it was that night.

The game stayed goalless for a long time. I was warming up when they called my name around the 67th minute. Once I got out there I was like, Wow, I’m playing against Neymar and Mbappé. But once the whistle blew to resume play, I snapped out of it, like, I can’t look at these guys like that anymore. My instincts took over and I was totally zoned in.

We soon scored the first goal, through Erling. Then Mbappé ran through our defence and crossed for Neymar, who equalized. (There is a reason why these guys are my idols.) Before our fans had even started cheering us on again, I found myself in a lot of space behind their midfield. I got the ball from Mats, turned and saw Erling — and if you wanted to get it to anybody near the box, it’s Erling. I played a good weighted ball to his foot and from there on I don’t really know what to say about it. He thumped it into the top corner from 20 yards. I’ve never felt that way in my life. You can see it in the way I celebrated: I jumped on Axel Witsel and hugged Erling and just lost it completely. There’s a picture of Erling giving me a hug, and then in the background is Mbappé. That’s the kind of stuff you dream about as a kid.

After the game we celebrated with the fans, the coaches, the staff, everyone. The scenes in the locker room were amazing. It was Erling’s night of course, but a lot of people were happy for me, too. I got hugs and headlocks and slaps on the head, people telling me “good job,” stuff like that. It was just an amazing, amazing night.

I think it was 4 a.m. by the time I got back to my room. I checked my phone, which had been bombarded with messages. Then, just before going to sleep, I took a moment to reflect. And I just had this thought about how special it would have been to have shared that night with Jack.

He definitely would have been there, even if he was living on the other side of the world. During the game he would have been cheering me on like one of the crazies in the Yellow Wall.

In the locker room he would have been singing and shouting and hugging everyone.

And afterwards, he would have put his arm around me and told me how well I had played.

Out of everybody celebrating in Dortmund that night, he would have been the happiest.




.Please see below the links for November practices and games

Practice - Nov 1st - Nov 8th - Nov 10th 

Games - 1st game - 2nd game ( 1 half) 




Our Academy Alumni Player Ben Williams – Bryant University

We are real proud of our academy graduate Ben Williams who plays at NCAA Division 1 Bryant University in Rhode Island. Ben Captained our Academy Team and now Captains Bryant University going into his third Season. Ben is one of those special players that do not come around too often, he reads the game so well and is most competitive, loves the game and loves to play the game. Ben is studying Business at Bryant and they have one of the best Business Schools in the Country.  Our academy now has two players at Bryant as Luka Grubisa joined them as a freshman and he is a very talented player who is also taking business administration.

We have an excellent relationship with Head Coach Seamus Purcell who was a great player at Providence College and played for my good friend Bill Doyle.  As well Nathan Kronewetter who is Seamus Assistant and a very good friend of our academy. As well Assistant Nate Millette who is Assistant at Bryant University.  

Excited to see Bryant University in the Spring and their upcoming season and best wishes to Ben, Luka, and Team and Coaching Staff.

Bobby Graham – Academy Director  



Marcus Gaymes – Team Captain – Senior Team

I would like to announce that Marcus will be one of our Academy Captains. He is an excellent leader, center back and individual. Marcus is also a very good student and will be one of the top recruits from the 2021 Class.

I am excited about his future and I have coached many very good Center backs and know what it takes to get to the next level. Like Dejan Jakovic who was big time at University of Alabama Birmingham and Adrian Cann at University of Lousiville, both went on to Pro Soccer – MLS and Europe after graduating. Excited for Marcus Future.


We spoke to one of our captains Dante Forte about what it entails to be a Winstars Academy player.


Daniel Ropar Highlights and CV

We are really proud to have Daniel in our academy as a player and leader/captain of our 2005 group. He is so talented and has the passion and drive to play and competed at the next level. Destination Europe – Keep posted.


The Qualities That Define a Leader – Sir Alex Ferguson – Harvard Business School


VIDEOS OF PAST WEEK'S TRAINING - October 17th - October 15th - October 8th - October 6th 


What Is an Ivy League School?

What terms come to mind when you hear “Ivy League”? Do you think about academics? Sports or enormous cost? Just what is an Ivy League school?

The Ivy League actually refers to an NCAA Division I sports conference comprised of eight schools located in the New England area.

Along with their competitive sports programs, the Ivy League schools are also known for their academic excellence. Students wishing to get into one of these prestigious schools must have excellent grades and work hard through the admissions process.

While each of the schools has very low admissions rates, Harvard is the “toughest” Ivy to get into with only a 5.6% acceptance rate. On the other hand, the “easiest” Ivy League to get into would be Cornell with just over a 15% acceptance rate.

The eight Ivy League schools are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

While evaluating schools, it may be useful for you to sign up for a account. Once you sign up, you fill out your student profile detailing your preferences on criteria such as location, cost, school size and diversity. From here, College Factual will return recommendations for the best matched schools for you.

Below is a list of Ivy League schools and a bit of information about each one.

Brown University

Ranked #17 overall at College Factual, Brown University was founded in 1764 in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, Brown has just under 10,000 students. Students typically have a SAT score of 1510 or ACT score of 32.

Columbia University

Columbia University is one of the oldest Ivy League schools having been formed in 1754 as King’s College. Columbia is located in New York City, New York and has a student population of over 27,000 students, making this one of the larger Ivy League schools. Similar to Brown, Columbia students have an average SAT score of 1510 and ACT of 33. Columbia has a 6.6% acceptance rate. College Factual ranks Columbia at #27 in the nation.

Cornell University

Cornell University is located in Ithaca, New York and has a student population of about 23,000 students. Cornell ranks #11 in the nation and #1 in New York according to College Factual. Students must have great SAT and ACT scores, although slightly lower than other Ivy League schools. Average SAT and ACT scores for Cornell are 1480 and 32 respectively.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College ranks high at College Factual coming in at #12 in the nation and #1 in New Hampshire. The average SAT and ACT scores for students entering Dartmouth are 1490 and 32 respectively. Dartmouth is located in the small city of Hanover, New Hampshire.

Harvard University

With the best ranking of all Massachusetts colleges and coming in #2 in the nation, Harvard is a very prestigious school where only the best students can attend. Harvard is one of the most selective universities in the country with a low acceptance rate of just 5.6%. The average SAT score is 1530 and the average ACT score is 34 making this a very difficult university to get in.

Princeton University

Princeton University is ranked top school in New Jersey and #19 nationwide according to College Factual. While not quite as selective as Harvard, students aspiring to be accepted to Princeton must have a high SAT score of 1520 or ACT score of 34 to compete.

The University of Pennsylvania

Located in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania takes the top spot in best Pennsylvania colleges and comes in at #4 nationwide. The acceptance rate for the University of Pennsylvania is higher than most Ivy League schools coming in at just over 10%. The average SAT and ACT scores for students accepted is 1510 and 32 respectively.

Yale University

Yale is notable for a number of reasons – College Factual ranks it #6 in the country for best colleges, and it is one of the oldest schools in the country having been founded in 1701. Located in New Haven Connecticut, Yale is very selective when it comes to accepting students. Yale only accepted about 6.7% of the applicants in the entering class of 2016. As you’d expect, the average SAT and ACT scores are quite high with the average SAT score of 1540 and average ACT score of 33.



Winstars Academy

Introducing our new partnership with 

Speed Training is now the official High Performance partner for everything Winstars.

Speed training is scientifically backed and practical application physical program which helps athletes run faster and move better. They focus on 6 key components:

- Fitness Training
- Physical Conditioning
- Coordination
- Injury Rehabilitation
- Nutrition and Wellness
- Education

Visit their website for more information.

We are excited for our players to receive high quality high performance training moving forward.

#WinstarsAcademy #WeAreWinstars



Most Recent 2020 Training Videos

October 4th -

October 3rd -

October 1st -

September 29th - 

September 27th -

September 26th -

September 24th -  

September 22nd -

September 20th 

September 19th -

September 17th




MLS record 5 goals in opening 33 minutes
Largest margin of victory in franchise history (6-0)
Dejan scored the fastest goal in MLS History last night.
Always proud of this young Man – Living the Dream – my former player Dejan Jakovic
Dreams do come true – if you work hard and believe in yourself !



Thursday's soccer news starts with another round of lopsided shutouts in MLS. The biggest margin of victory may indicate a turnaround for one of the league's more interesting stories. LAFC got it together at home against Vancouver, winning 6-0. Dejan Jakovic opened the scoring in the 2nd minute with Bradley Wright Phillips adding goals in the 5th and 11th. An own-goal made it 4-0 LA in the 14th. Diego Rossi added a goal in the 33rd with another own-goal finishing things off in the 68th minute. LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega didn't need a save to get the credit for the clean sheet.




For the first time in school history, the team was featured on ESPN Sports Center top 10 plays. And the scorer of the goal was our academy player Joshua Pedretti. Real proud of all of these former academy players who are now on Scholarship in Indiana. See below for video of the goal. 

For the first time in program history, the team was featured on:
@ESPN, @SportsCenter, top 10 plays in last nights, @Crossroads_NAIA, 3-1 win! Build. The. Bridge.



September 15th Training


September 2020 Video Training Sessions

September 1 Training Session
September 5 Training Session 
September 6 Training Session
September 10th Training Session
Sunday September 13th Training Session 
Saturday September 14 Training Session



Montreal Soccer Trip - October 9 to 12, 2020

Thanksgiving weekend – Montreal – 2 matches, all inclusive, 3 nights hotel, all food and Coach Bus

Friday October 9 – Monday October 12


Register Now


Today is a fantastic day for Gabriel Pellegrino as he signs with SC Freiburg, German Bundesliga Club. Gabriel has a wonderful future and is an exciting midfielder player. Prior to making the commitment with Freiburg, Gabriel trained with Barcelona and Porto and received a Toronto FC Homegrown offer.

We wish Gabriel all the very best as he enters the next chapter of his life and soccer journey and congratulate all of his Family.

Champions continue to be showcased at our academy

All the video taping done so far by FTF - First Touch Futbol

Training session Aug 11th:

Training session Aug 13th:

Winstars Training August 15th:

Winstars Training August 16th:

Training session Saturday August 8th:

Training Session Sunday August 9th:

Photo/ Video Link: Our promotional Advertisement

Thursday August 6th session

Tuesday August 4th Session

Thursday, June 30th session:

Saturday August 1st session:


We are excited to announce that moving forward all Winstars Academy training
sessions and exhibition games will be recorded by

This will help improve our player & coach development tremendously 🤝

#WeAreWinstars #WinstarsSoccerAcademy


Dejan talking about game tonight vs. Orlando FC in the
MLS is Back Tournament in the quarter finals




Bobby Graham Alumni Spotlight: Chris Leko
Chris was a member of Winstars Soccer Academy who went on to receive a full athletic scholarship to @ElonMSoccer before transferring to @BonniesMSoccer
Chris was a talented young player who also represented @canadasoccer
at the U17 level Flag of Canada. It was a pleasure to work alongside Chris and his family, as he to this day is one of the most talented players to ever be a part of Winstars Soccer Academy Graduates.
We are thankful for the example Chris has left for our current academy members as he embodies everything Winstars Soccer Academy stands for.

We are Winstars






Bobby Graham Alumni Spotlight: Franco Lo Presti

Franco was a member of Winstars Soccer Academy and he went on to receive an athletic scholarship to University of Rhode Island.

Franco was a joy to work with and one of the most talented players to ever be a part of WSA.

We are thankful for the example Franco has left for our current academy members as he embodies everything Winstars Soccer Academy stands for.

We have a great relationship with URI and Head Coach Gareth Elliott recruited Franco. Gareth Elliott is a Fantastic Coach and he and his Coaching Staff do one amazing job.









Daniel Festa - MBA from Wharton School of Business

Daniel Festa – Graduated with his MBA from the Wharton School of Business – University of Pennsylvania

This past weekend was very special for Daniel Festa and his Family. I am very proud of this young man knowing him from being Technical Director of Woodbridge Soccer Club, Daniel was part of our U12 Team that was special. He joined our academy and was with us for 4 years and went on Scholarship to Manhattan College in New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business.

Daniel was a leader from the start and what is most important is that there is life after soccer and for one of our players to graduate from the best Business School in the World with an MBA is big time and I know his future will be really bright.

Last year we were on our summer tour and I called and asked Daniel if he would give us a tour of UPENN and he was there to help and as I walked behind the group, I was thinking that Daniel had the tour 6 years earlier on our summer tour that he came on as a player.  At that moment I had a wee tear in my eye as I was and am so proud.

For Parents out there and want their Sons to be a Professional Player, MBA at Wharton is like signing in the EPL with Liverpool or Manchester City/United. Academics are more important than soccer and even if you become a pro player if you have a good career you will retire at 30 and you still have 35 years to work.

All of us at the Academy congratulate Daniel and wish him only the very best and congratulate Lisa and Frank who I know this must have been a very special day.

Bobby Graham – Academy Director  

May 13 – Announcement

We are really excited to announce that our academy has partnered with First Touch Football who are now our official Digital Media Partner. Looking forward to building up our social media platforms.

Bobby Graham – Academy Director



Giving Back - Asking for Support from Our Soccer Family

Asking all our Friends and Families, Players - Past-Present and Future to make a donation to our academy as we go thru the next couple of months of uncertainty.

We are a small and elite academy that has touched many lives and building a legacy - not just on the field but in those places that most people will never see. You can e-transfer to or by credit card , you will get a receipt for tax purposes.

We now have helped 158 players from our academy go on scholarship and over 500 in total and all are posted on our website.

Really appreciate your help in any way so I can continue to help more players. Giving back is much appreciated.

Help Future Kids reach their dreams.

For our 2020 Class dreams are delayed but not denied.


Bobby Graham - Academy Director



Winners Take control by Robin Van Persie




Testimonial – From Tony Taylor – Former National Coach of Canada
and Youth National Coach of Canada – Former Professional Footballer

Bobby Graham: Winstars Soccer Academy
I’ve known Bobby Graham, Coach of the Winstars Soccer Academy for many years, ever since he began coaching with Oakville Soccer Club. He has always been dedicated to coaching youth players and forever trying to upgrade his coaching knowledge. His club teams were always successful, but the one aspect that for me stood out, was the character of the boys Bobby selected to play for him.

As Provincial and then National Youth Coach I made it a point to watch Bobby’s team play when scouting for players for the Provincial and National Teams. I believed that although Bobby was a winning coach he also cared about his player’s future and was very aware of the limited options open for young Canadian players. To this end Bobby made scholarship showcasing part of his club program and over the years has built up a strong network of College Coaches.

Several years ago, Bobby has taken the Scholarship Program to a higher level and opened The Winstars Soccer Academy. Because of this Bobby has helped many young Canadians to secure scholarships to top American Colleges.

I would like to wish Bobby continued success as I truly believe that the welfare and future success of his players is very important to him.

Sincerely, Tony Taylor

Two of our Oakville Winstars played for Tony when he was Canadian National Youth Coach. David Clemente – Goalkeeper who went on scholarship to UAB – Alabama at Birmingham and Paolo DiPietrantoni who went on to play at Virginia Tech. Tony grew up in the Glasgow Celtic FC youth program and went on to play professional in Scotland and England, notably Crystal Palace. He was an excellent Coach and I highly respect him and learned much from him.


Paolo Pacione – Living the Dream with Club America in Mexico

It was great to hear from Paolo Pacione who was a Winstars Coach and now with Club America in Mexico. He is living the dream and shows all of us that dreams can come true if you believe in your dreams.  I knew he was special when he was working with our players and he had the same passion and love for the game that I have.  Paolo lives in Mexico with his beautiful Family.  I am real proud of him and his accomplishments.

Bobby Graham – Academy Director

Paolo Pacione – Living the Dream with Club America in Mexico

Subject: Hola Bobby from Mexico!

Hi Bobby!

It's been a while since we caught up!

Things here in Mexico are great.  From the time I arrived here for our pre season camp preparing for Concacaf Champions League in 2015 with Montreal I knew I would live here one day.  Ironically enough I live less than a 1km from that hotel we were staying at all that time in 2015. 

Actually I was offered to join America in late 2015 but I had to refuse since I gave my word to Alessandro Nesta that I would join him in Miami.  I knew that was I was giving up an excellent opportunity but I am a man of my word.  Thankfully they were very respectful of my values and remained in touch. 

I couldn't have been happier and luckier that when the timing was right in the summer of 2018 they asked if I would make my way down to see them.  I didn't hesitate this time that is for sure.  

It will be almost 2 years working in this amazing institution with so much history and success.  It is a great honour for me to wear these colours and represent this club.  I am the Coordinator for Performance whereby I am developing the performance training and monitoring methodology of the club throughout the all the categories.  My main responsibility is with all the teams from U20 to U12 including the Women's team.  I support the first team, scouting department and even the soccer schools as well.  I have a big task and they have given me lots of support and faith.

I have developed a great relationship with the Mexican Federation and the Leagues Innovation Department.  It is humbling and satisfying that they call upon my expertise and recognize the strides I have made in our club.


If you remember we played America in that exciting final.  My daughter was born the day of the second leg at 4:07 and I made it to the stadium by 6pm.  I didn't miss either of the two most important moments in my life.  We know how the story ended in that final.  Everyday I walk pass the trophy that we were so close to capturing.  I get filled with so much emotion to this day seeing it but also filled with pride and excitement to be here part of this club.  How do we say back home.  If you can't beat them... Join them!   

I always reflect on my time I have spent now working in 4 different countries.  I think about those nights at the Soccer Centre.  I remember vividly my time with Winstars, the support you gave me.  I was able to express myself as a professional every day.  The thing that most people fail to realize is that they think their approach changes as they go higher on the ladder of level in football.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  To this day I have the same energy, passion, commitment that I put into my day here at Club America, just as I was doing back at the Winstars or anywhere else I worked.  The players have the same desires, dreams... and so do the coaches.  Bobby it was fun during those times and we worked harder and harder to give the players the best to our abilities and in turn I became the best version of myself.

Here I have a large staff that integrate to my team. Fitness Coaches, Doctors, Therapists, Analysts, Nutritionist, Psychologist...And those lessons in leadership from back then are proving successful.  I had to integrate, create synergies with departments that didn't function as a whole and as a foreigner who didn't speak the language at the time was definitely a challenge but not an impossible task.  One thing we always focused on at the Winstars was the person, what are their goals, what are their abilities, what are their characteristics and we always seek to maximize them.  What I tell my staff here and it's no different than with the players as with my approach with our Winstar players: I want to them to be better versions of themselves every day!

Bobby Thank You Again, every step in my career you have always been supportive.  I wish you the best in these crazy times. Soon enough we will back on the field and enjoy what we love most. Football.


Paolo Pacione



Winstars Soccer Academy Partners with Soccer-Profile

During this difficult time of uncertainty with the CV Pandemic we have partnered with Sports-Profile for our academy players to enable to utilize this platform developed by Professionals for our Elite Soccer Players and Athletes and will help our program to keep ahead of the rest and strive for our program to continue to be the best academy in Canada.

Our soccer academy have signed up all of our Players and Staff with Soccer Profile which is the ultimate training and metrics platform. It is an interactive platform that evaluates and tracks the long term development of every player and team within our academy. It allows our Coaches to manage specific areas of our teams and individual players in need of improvement and track each players progress with start of the art tools designed by professionals.

Soccer profile enables our players to take ownership of their long term development and encourages individual skill practice away from the training ground.

Technical Assessments
Soccer Profile has developed four match-realistic technical assessments consisting of multiple levels of difficulty aimed at challenging the player through their long term development. These age-specific assessments have been developed by highly qualified professional coaches and tested against elite level academy and professional soccer players at English Premier League clubs.

Physical Assessments
Guided by the advice and expertise of former Liverpool FC Head of Fitness and Conditioning and former Swansea City FC Head of Sports Science, Ryland Morgans and Jonathan Northeast, Soccer Profile have developed four physical assessments. Each assessment closely mirrors soccer movement patterns and stresses different energy systems and types of muscular contractions that are all game related.

JPL Promo - Birmingham City


Congratulations Angelo Zografos – Signs with St. Thomas Aquinas

Today is a very special day, a day for a special player Angelo Zografos, to announce that Angelo has agreed to a scholarship at prestigious St. Thomas Aquinas College, a very well respected University in New York.  Angelo will play NCAA Collegiate Soccer for the Spartans in the East Coast Conference  under the leadership of Head Coach Graham Brown.

Angelo is a special player who has earned this opportunity and has worked so hard for this dream that he wanted to come true. He has been our Captain for the past year and never misses training, works hard from the start of training until the end. He earned this opportunity and deserves this great chance to show that he can impact at the NCAA Collegiate Level. 

I would like to thank Coach Graham Brown for making this happen and I know Angelo will be in good hands as Coach Brown is a friend and is very much respected in the Collegiate Game in the USA as well as a personal friend of mine.

I would like to congratulate Angelo as he enters the next chapter of his life and I would like to congratulate his Parents – Dad George and Mom Litsa as well as his older brother. They were all supportive of Angelo from the Start.  I would like wish Angelo all the very best from all his teammates and coaches and staff at our soccer academy that are proud to have him as a teammate.  We know Angelo will represent our academy with class when he puts on his University Jersey and he will always be a Winstars Player.

Sincerely, Bobby Graham
Academy Director
Winstars Soccer Academy


Video of Centre Circle Minute of Applause and remembrance of Scott Dymond

FC named the showcase tournament after Scott Dymond and our academy team and the FC Dallas Team Scott coached formed a minute of applause and remembrance. In attendance was Scott Mom and Dad and Sister and one of his Daughter. Our Academy presented them with a Brampton Youth Jersey each as that is the Club where it all began for Scott.


Pilada Italian Restaurant Frisco

(Click on photo to Enlarge)


Dr. Lukasz Kwapisz explains the best ways to clean your clothes and commonly touched surfaces to help halt the spread of COVID-19

How long does it live on surfaces? On your clothes? What to do about your phone? and what’s the atmosphere like in the hospital


17 year old me dreamed of being a professional soccer player... that dream evolved over the years and what a crazy adventure it has taken me on ever since. From doctor at the Mayo Clinic to now being in the largest medical center in the world - who would have thought the journey started in a small town in Poland... Jer 29:11 always #NeverStopDreaming #TheMarathonContinues🏁 (maybe should have tried to be a Backstreet Boy instead 🤷🏻)

Note from Coach Graham

My past player who dreamed of playing for his favorite team AC Milan when I Coached him as a teenager and he settled to earn a degree at UAB and play NCAA Division 1 soccer at University of Alabama at Birmingham who has an amazing medical school and I have had 21 players earn a degree and play for Coach Mike Getman at UAB. Out of the medical school – one is a Doctor and one is a Dentist.

Lukasz was a fantastic player and always first at training, coming all the way from Oshawa and could tell he loved the game. He scored against FC Solar of Dallas in the Super Group of the Dallas Cup for our Team to win 2-1 and Solar was one of the best teams in the USA at the time.

As he says above from a small town in Poland to becoming a Doctor and Specialist at the largest and best medical center in the World – The Mayo Clinic is amazing and to see him on the today show yesterday talking about the virus that is affecting the World and how he is working hard everyday to save patients’ lives.

Really proud of this young man and dreams do come true if you believe in your dreams.


UAB Upsets #1 SMU, 2-1
January 29, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The UAB men‚s soccer team stunned top-ranked and previously unbeaten SMU, 2-1, here Wednesday evening on senior night. Senior Lukasz Kwapisz and sophomore Trey Gregory each tallied goals in the UAB victory, which marked the fourth ranked team the Blazers have beaten this season.

“Anytime you beat the #1 team in the nation it is a pretty big win,” UAB head coach Mike Getman said. “We are the first team to beat them this year so that makes it a pretty big win.

The Blazers pulled off the upset in front of what is believed to be a record crowd of 2,755 fans at West Campus field.

“The crowd was terrific tonight,” Getman said. “They gave us a lot of energy and support and it was great to see the stands filled for this game. I know our players, especially the seniors, appreciated it.”

The Blazers wasted no time getting on the board. After missing several good scoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes of the contest, UAB’s persistence paid off in 13th minute. Junior Joe Klosterman cleared a ball from the UAB penalty box that sailed over SMU’s back line and on to the foot of a streaking Kwapisz. The Oshawa, Ontario native then outraced the Mustang defenders and deposited a shot into the left netting to give his team an early one-goal lead.

 Testimonial from Lukasz Kwapisz

First and foremost, I would like to thank you not only as a player but as a person. You have been a constant help, support-figure, and a man to admire. Your commitment is unquestionable. You are a modern advocate for amateur sports in Canada and all of your hard-work and dedication has impacted on a vast amount of youth. Your level of expertise is only matched by the relationships that you form with your players.

It has been a pleasure to know you personally, I have always been fond of your coaching and passion for the game. Those qualities are hard to come-by and a real testament to the person you are within.

Coach Graham, or Bob, as we the players knew him was the technical director at our club. Soon he became our coach, and the championships started rolling in. He not only pushed us to greater limits, but also expanded our horizons when it came to our futures. When we embarked to Dallas in 2003, a lot of our dreams came true. Even though we didn't win the tournament (our only loss came to Tigres the eventual winners), we certainly grew as a team and a lot of us received athletic-scholarships to many schools in the United States.

My future has been shaped and improved by this man, I will forever be in debt with gratitude to you Coach Graham. I hope one day, that we, as all your past players will be able to make you proud, and be a reflection of the man who you taught us to be.


Lukasz Kwapisz

Lukasz with Dejan Jakovic, one is a professional player with LA FC and one is a Doctor of the Mayo Clinic


FC Dallas Tournament March 7-8 2020

Saturday March 7
Winstars Soccer Academy vs. Solar FC, Dallas Texas

Saturday March 7
Winstars Soccer Academy vs. FC Dallas

Sunday March 8
Winstars Soccer Academy vs. Ayces SC Dallas

See Winstars FC Dallas games here:

Winstars vs Sporting BV - See Video here

Winstars vs FC Dallas Youth - See Video here

Winstars vs TOCA FC - See Video here


Winstars Update on COVID-19

Dear Winstars Families,
 As you are aware, we have been monitoring and responding to matters related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as they continue to evolve. Our priority remains the safety of our Winstars academy community, and as such, we would like to update you regarding preventative measures taken to ensure the well-being of the entire academy:

The following are new measures taken to ensure the well-being of the entire Winstars Soccer Academy:
- We will suspend all academy activities this weekend
- As conditions still continue to evolve, we will re-evaluate our steps and take the necessary precautions on Monday, 3/16/2020. Please be assured you will continue to be notified as the need arises.

Bobby Graham
Winstars Soccer Academy Director


Announcement – Luka Grubisa signs with NCAA Division 1 Bryant University

Today is a great day for our academy player Luka Grubisa as this past week he has signed the letter of intent to attend prestigious Bryant University in beautiful Rhode Island where he will study Business and he will play for the Bryant University Bulldogs who play in the North East Conference of NCAA Division 1. Luka will play under the leadership of head coach Seamus Purcell and with our past academy player Ben Williams who has been amazing at Bryant University and has just been chosen Captain of his Team going into the third year.

I would like to personally congratulate Luka on this excellent scholarship. He is a fantastic soccer player, exciting and creative and smart vision and just loves the game, as well he is an excellent student and very proficient academically and will have a very good future at Bryant both on the soccer field and in the classroom. Bryant has an excellent Business School and is World recognized.

I would like to congratulate Luka parents who have been behind him every step of the way and he is the person he is because of their leadership and the way they brought him up. I would like to thank Seamus Purcell the head coach at Bryant for believing in our soccer program and our recommendations and for providing Luka an excellent scholarship as well as a fantastic opportunity to play NCAA Division 1 College Soccer and get a fine education at the same time.

I would also like to thank our Coaches and Luka academy teammates as they played a big role in this day and also all the people who will share this special occasion and who have played a part in Luka becoming the person and player that he is today. It is a special day for everyone who knows Luka and his family to be very happy.

On behalf of all of us at Winstars, we wish Luka only the very best as he enters into the next chapter of his life and academic and soccer journey. All of us are really proud of you.


Bobby Graham
Academy Director

Winstars Academy Showcase Dec 19 & 20, 2019


Winstars Academy Showcase Dec 19 & 20, 2019 - Game Videos



Winstars Academy Senior Team

Winstars Academy Junior Team

Click on the above team pictures to enlarge


University is not a 4 year investment – it is a 40 year investment

Dr. Lukasz Kwapisz, now has added two more specializations, Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He works at the Mayo Clinic in Texas and will come and see us play in Dallas when we are there real soon. One of the very rewarding part of my wee job is to have stories like this continue and are real. 

Lukasz received his full scholarship at UAB – Alabama at Birmingham – NCAA D1 , it has a very good medical school and that is why we chose it. After completing his 4 years, Lukasz earned a post graduate Degree paid for by Conference USA as he was the Conference Scholar Athlete.

You see in the picture besides teammate Dejan Jakovic, who has made his career as a professional soccer player and continues to live the dream with MLS LA FC.

This is like stuff for the movies, however it is real, now I have so many former players in all occupations in life. We are real and no program or Coach has had this kind of success in Canada and it just keeps continuing. What more could we want for our Kids !

Real proud of Lukasz and Dejan, great memories

Bobby Graham – Academy Director    

Testimonial from Lukasz Kwapisz

First and foremost, I would like to thank you not only as a player but as a person. You have been a constant help, support-figure, and a man to admire.

Your commitment is unquestionable. You are a modern advocate for amateur sports in Canada and all of your hard-work and dedication has impacted on a vast amount of youth. Your level of expertise is only matched by the relationships that you form with your players.

It has been a pleasure to know you personally, I have always been fond of your coaching and passion for the game. Those qualities are hard to come-by and a real testament to the person you are within.

Coach Graham, or Bob, as we the players knew him was the technical director at our club. Soon he became our coach, and the championships started rolling in. He not only pushed us to greater limits, but also expanded our horizons when it came to our futures.

When we embarked to Dallas in 2003, a lot of our dreams have come true. Even though we didn't win the tournament (our only loss came to Tigres the eventual winners), we certainly grew as a team and a lot of us received athletic-scholarships to many schools in the United States.

My future has been shaped and improved by this man, I will forever be in debt with gratitude to you Coach Graham. I hope one day, that we, as all your past players will be able to make you proud, and be a reflection of the man who you taught us to be.

Lukasz Kwapisz
Your Player


Winstars Player Profile Program

(Click Above)

Download Showcase 2019 Letter and Forms:

Game Sheet
Team Roster – for College Coaches
Letter for School

Testimonial by our former Academy player Ethan Vigario – now on Full Scholarship at St. Francis University – Ft. Wayne

Hello, I am Ethan Vigario, a former player of Bobby Graham. What I have to say is straight forward, easy to comprehend and to the point. If you are looking to get to a college on scholarship and if it is a serious dream / goal of yours then I recommend going nowhere else other than Winstars.

Not only does Bobby and all the coaching staff provide a professional training environment for significant development, but they also treat you like they son. It is a family like no other and definitely stands out from the rest. Bobby likes great footballers, but also great people and that's why you don't see 1000 kids in his academy, you only see. Around 40. This is because to him it isn't about the money, he cares about you and your future.

I hope you end up taking up this opportunity, regardless of how far or close you live. I traveled 2 hours to get to training and Bobby and the academy made it more than worth it.

Ethan Vigario.
Former Player of Coach Graham


Jopin Winstars


17th Annual PDA Boys College Showcase 2019




We have partnered with Sports Recruits and signed another two year contract till 2021

Happy to announce that we have partnered with Sports Recruits and real excited about this initiative as our academy is a Players first Academy and with SR we can work to become the best Academy in Canada for the Serious and Gifted Soccer Players who want to get to the next level.

How To Use Messaging System (Athletes/ Staff)
Building Your Athlete Profile  (Athletes)
 Using Advanced School Search (Athletes/Staff) 
What Staff Members Have Access To (Staff)
The Activity Feed (Staff)
Account Activation (Staff/Admin)
Highlight Reel Editor (Athletes)

I encourage all Families to use this platform as it really is a special help for our academy players and families and being serious about you and your Son getting to the next level, we need all the help to make this happen and Sports Recruits is an amazing platform to help our players and families and all the costs are looked after by our soccer academy.

This is an exciting time for our academy players and looking forward to many athletic scholarships with this group !

Bobby Graham
Academy Director



Champions continue to be made at the our Soccer Academy




Mario Klose
Click on picture for video

Getting your Priorities Right in Football – Mario Klose – only thing that mattered to him was Football

Became Legend of Bayern Munich and German National Team – World Cup Top Scorer with 16 Goals

Only thing that mattered to him was Football in the purest terms.

Talks about helping the trainer and picking up the balls, like our boys, picking up bibs and balls and water bottles.

If you are not prepared to help with the discipline to do this how can we trust you to do an assignment on the soccer field.

It is all focus and discipline and attitude and attention to detail.

Follow Winstars Summer Tour 2019 with Pictures



Our Goalkeeping Program – Led by Roberto Carranza

Our Goalkeeping Program is first class and led by a fantastic Goalkeeper Coach Roberto Carranza. Having been Coaching now for many years, Roberto is excellent, very organized, attention to detail, every session is different and has a purpose, great at progression in training. Proven track record as his work is showing in leaps and bounds.  Jas Dhaliwal is now playing amazing at Rogers State University, Evan Zizek will be an impact goalkeeper one year from now and his work is showing as he has been a standout for us at recent matches vs. two NCAA D1 Teams as well as FC Dallas Showcase and PDA Showcase.  Two of our other goalkeepers Bernardo Alvarado and Matthew Dadd are moving on to the Collegiate Level.

We now have 4 Goalkeepers in our academy program and they are all doing so well. Evan Zizek, Alessandro Manno, Tony Blunt and Arshdeep Virk

Goalkeepers are the most important player on the field and at our academy we have the best Goalkeeper Coach in Canada Roberto Carranza who specializes and trains our goalkeepers three times a week. We invest much time and effort and finances into our goalkeepers and with Roberto at the helm we have had much success and the future looks so bright for our Goalkeepers of the Future !


Past Goalkeepers Coached by Academy Director Bobby Graham

1.  Peter Pappas Philadelphia University and Professional with Philadelphia Kixx
2.  Loukas Papaconstantinou University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Now a Dentist
3. Jaro Zawislan – Clemson University - Former Head Coach at Cornell University – Men’s Team
4. Thomas Zawislan – Creighton University
5.  David Clemente – University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
6.  Raj Wakhale – Hartwick College
7.  Melford (Junior James) – University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) / Univ of Montevallo
8.  Robert Marinaro – Clemson Univ – Now Head Coach of Kent State University (Women’s Team)
9.  Rasih Pala – Northern Illinois University
10. Jay Mason – University of the Incarnate World - Now Head Coach of Cal Poly (Women’s Team)
11. Phillip Cavicchia – Appalachian State University
12. Chris Skelton – Niagara University
13. Dennis Kramer – Southern Polytechnic State University
14. Jamie Englefield – Winthrop University
15. Domenic Spedaliere – Eckerd University
16. Spyros Sergiotis – Wilmington University
17. Adriano Debreau – Western Michigan University
18. Matthew Zaikos – Urbana University
19. Zachery Zeke – Adrian University
20. Jordan Sedhi – Seton Hill University
21. Christian Brunet – Lewis University
22. Nicholas Luciani – Culver Stockton University
23. Karman Saini – Swedish First Division Husqvarna FF
24. Jas Dhaliwal – Rogers State University
25. Matthew Dadd – Rowan College
26. Bernardo Alvarado – Monroe CC. University of New York

Bobby Graham - Academy Director – 905–265–1285

Testimonial - From Bobby Clark - Notre Dame/Stanford/Dartmouth College



Here are the last two games:



Winstars Player Showcase Profile Booklet 2018

Player Showcase Booklet Download

Showcase Player Photo Roster List



Winstars Practice at JMU

Winstars Practice at JMU


Game vs. Woodbridge SC on Sunday October 28th

Game vs Woodbridge SC - Sunday October 28, 2018


Join The Winstars Soccer Academy



The goal of your own training program is to assist you to get the most of your athletic ability so you can succeed on the soccer field. Improving your Strenghth and Endurance are the foundation for training and competing at the Elite level. Your dedication will be easily noted with your progress in our fitness testing, fitness training and team training sessions. The length of your training sessions will depend on how carefully you follow the work to rest ratio and your specific volume of training program.

This year is a big year for many of you with goals in mind of playing soccer at the highest level NCAA Division 1 / Professional Soccer

When we are on the tour, always have a bottle of water with you at all times.

Components of program

Warm-up (1) commit yourself to quality and effective warmup (2) The intensity and technique should be optimal to prepare you both physiologically and psychologically for your workout.

Speed development – (1) Technique is a priority, learn it and do it well. (2) Each of the exercises needs to be done with as much speed an explosiveness as possible. (3) Ensure enough recovery between repetitions. Do not rush thru the exercises.

Strength Training – (1) following full warmup (2) each exercise performed in the full range of motion. (3) Maintain proper technique and respect tempo assigned. (4) Recovery between sets should be no more than 60 seconds.

Core Training – (1) The abdominal muscles are almost entirely slow-twitch in nature. This means they respond very well to slow and controlled movements.

Aerobic training – Aim to have the times of the intervals consistent. You will get the greatest benefit if you keep your pace strong and under control. Try and get faster towards the end of the workout. *** Remember it is not where you start but where you finish ***

Cool Down – 5 minute easy jog. Perform Static stretches for each muscle group, hold position for 10-15 seconds. The stretch should feel like a slight tug and should not be painful.


The role which recovering your body over a tough pre-season cannot be underestimated. The Example weekly layouts all prescribe recovery sessions three times per week. This is a minimum expectation. You should be recovering after every session, every day. As much as many dislike certain aspects of recovery because of the discomfort is places you under it cannot be stressed the advantages which are seen when athletes complete correct recovery techniques. The easiest way to look at this is the Ice Bath should be come your best mate for 7-10 minutes each day. Training hard yet failing to recovery, is filing your body in its ability to adapt and improve to the imposed training stimulus.

Below is a list of recovery techniques you can look to implement into your training program:

• Hot / Cold shower - 1min hot, 30sec cold x 3-5 rotations (finishing on cold).
• Ice Bath - 7-10min in water at a temperature of 50-60 degrees
• Pool / Beach - spend time walking around, stretching and relaxing.
• Self-Massage
• Foam Rolling
• Stretching
• Compression garments
• Rehydration and Nutrition

For each pound lost during exercise, 16 ounces of fluid should be consumed as soon as possible. A combination of water and sports drinks should be used to ensure that electrolytes and glucose (fast-absorbing carbohydrate) are also being ingested. Another strategy for assessing hydration status is to monitor urine color and output.

Carbohydrates and protein are critical for glycogen repletion post-workout. For prolonged intense exercise (aerobic or anaerobic) the best post-exercise carb to protein ratio appears to be 3:1 or 4:1. For resistance (strength-power) workouts a ratio of 2:1 to 3:1 may be more appropriate. *Low-fat chocolate milk is a perfect post-workout choice- it provides the necessary 3-1 (carb-protein) ratio

The rapid introduction of carbohydrate, protein (and minimal fat) post-workout allows the body to begin repairing and rebuilding. The timing of protein intake is important and should be eaten every 3-4 hours. Post-workout protein should be consumed immediately (within 30 minutes).

Reducing oxidative damage (minimizing free radical damage) after exercise is also extremely important. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced during the metabolism of oxygen that promote inflammation and cell damage, leading to muscle soreness and delayed recovery short-term, degenerative disease long-term. Antioxidants are effective quenchers of free radicals, so it makes sense that ingesting antioxidants post-exercise would be an important strategy. The most effective antioxidants are Vitamin E and Vitamin C, and a wide variety of other phytonutrients found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Our Current Approach to Physical Preparation of Youth Soccer Players – (Part 2)

Read Time (~15 mins)

The Physical Preparation of our Academy Players

In Part 1, I outlined the importance of physical preparation in developing soccer players. In part 2, I go into detail about the five elements of our physical preparation program, how they fit into our program, and some interesting case studies.

Step One

The first step in developing a program that would integrate with practice was simple - understand the environment. Every team has rules, expectations, processes ­- aka culture ­- that shape the training environment.

I always listened closely to coaches and players, along with getting to know everyone’s names.

A successful program starts with good relationships between myself, the players, and coaches. While gaining their trust, I would continue experimenting with ways to squeeze in elements of strength, power, speed, and conditioning into the 15-20 minute blocks I am afforded.

Although some things change from a programming standpoint, the goal remains consistent – a well-rounded physical preparation program for developmental soccer players!


In this section, I present the conditioning demands of soccer, how we monitor conditioning levels, and how intensity is viewed within the program.

It doesn’t take someone with a degree in sports science to tell you that conditioning is critically important for soccer. The game itself is a test of conditioning – two 45-minute continuous halves, in which each team is trying to outperform the other.

Preparing for the demands of the game requires more than being able to run for 90 minutes.

Soccer is more than a continuous running sport; it also requires the ability to perform repeat sprints (RSA), separated by intermittent recovery. The length of recovery between high intensity runs changes with match situations, ranging from 20-60 seconds (1,2,6).

Our go-to conditioning test is the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test, developed by soccer physiologist Dr. Jens Bangsbo. Not only is it widely used amongst other academies, it’s also been well researched in soccer players, both professional and youth. A score of >2,320 (stage 58) has been proven beneficial in promoting RSA in elite junior soccer players (age 19) (3).

In our academy, I’d like all players to reach a benchmark of 50. Currently, half of our team has met this benchmark, with a few surpassing 60.

Case Study

Since June, we’ve seen an average increase of 13.1 stages in the Yo-Yo test in the players who are still with us (many 15+ stages!). As a team, we’ve increased the average score from 35.2 to 47.2 (June-February).

Although we’ve had players come and go during that time, the fact is, we are fitter today than we have been in the past.

The Conditioning Continuum(s)

Our soccer practices are two hours (120 minutes) and provide the bulk of conditioning required for soccer players. Most importantly, practice must have both low and high intensity components to prepare for the demands of a match.

The best way to digest the different components of conditioning for a soccer player is to view them on a continuum of intensity.

Using Heart Rate (HR) monitors throughout the indoor season, I’ve been able to confirm that our practices include an appropriate distribution of work in each of the intensity “zones” listed above.

But that doesn’t paint the complete picture.

For most of practice, it is rare that a player reaches close to their top speed, or makes a run over 50 meters with pace.

These gaps at high intensity are where conditioning without a ball fit into the program.

Running without the ball may be a prerequisite for achieving certain high intensity qualities; specifically max speed. Distance covered at high intensities fall within both speed endurance and repeat sprints (with and without ball).

I find it best to view these qualities on a continuum of speed.

Within these 2 continuums, there is surely cross over. As you can see, the speed continuum (Figure 2) exists on the intensity continuum (Figure 1).

Application to Practice

As I stated earlier, practice covers the bulk of conditioning. We are looking to ensure we are training at high intensities, across all qualities of the continuum – with and without the ball. To complement practice, players are advised to run at a low intensity on most non-practice days.


Below, I explain why speed development is a key component of the program, how we train it, and present a case study.

As made clear in the above section, running is important to soccer performance. Both speed and endurance will lead to better running performance. Speed sessions have been a mainstay of the program since the beginning and there are important 3 reasons for this:

  1. The higher your top speed, the easier it is for you to run at a submaximal speed – leading to improved endurance.
  2. The force and velocity that your body is producing to reach top speeds cannot be matched by any other exercise. That means you are getting more powerful AND faster when sprinting.
  3. You do not reach the speed you will be exposed to in a game enough during practice and small-sided games – which can leave you exposed in a game, both to injury and tactically. We must supplement this type of work in practice to effectively prepare for this component of match play.


Speed training is usually done in our Saturday practices, the reason being, they are theoretically well rested since Tuesday’s practice – which is a MUST for speed training.

Currently, we are getting 4-5 high quality sprints per week. I’ve started to use warm ups for speed prep, and finish off the warm up with 2-3 sprints with long periods of rest (2-5 minutes, depending on the distances) – we are experimenting with this 2x/week.

Case Study

With one speed day and resisted acceleration day per week between November and February, we’ve seen improvements in 30m sprint times as high as 0.15-0.29s in some of our players’ sprint times. This is quite impressive in a short block of training that included a holiday break.


In this portion, we dive into the influence strength has on reducing injuries, power, program structure and general guidelines for soccer players.

Soccer is a physical game, and you must be prepared for it when making the jump to the college game. Beyond the physicality of soccer, a balanced strength program can help to reduce common injuries. The stronger your muscles, tendons and ligaments, the more resilient they are to injury.

“Strength is the mother of all qualities” – Dietmar Schmidtbleicher, German Sports Scientist

It is a fundamental quality of power (Power = Force x Velocity), which underpins many athletic qualities. How powerful you kick a ball is dependent on both the force you strike the ball with strength and speed. 

Whether it is power, speed, or endurance – having a good base of strength is a perquisite. It is critical that we maintain some type strength training in our weekly plans for its injury reduction benefits.

Logistics trump all when it comes to programming.

Being resourceful in programming is important when time and equipment is limited. Strength training is not limited to only lifting weights. For me, it also includes our “ankle strengthening” routine - a series of low amplitude jumps -  and our sprints which are a part of our “hamstring strengthening” routine.

For most of the year, we have trained for 20-30 minutes, one time per week. Our strength program consists of 4-6 exercises in a circuit format that alternate between upper and lower body to allow recovery time between similar exercise groups.

Currently, we are experimenting with non-competing supersets (four exercises total). Using an “every minute on the minute” (EMOM) style program, we are able to rest 2 minutes between upper and lower body exercises – ensuring we are recovering adequately for power and strength work.

My recommendation for any soccer player would be to lift weights 2-3x/week to supplement what we are doing in practice. It is critical that a well thought out lifting program be done to avoid competing soccer demands, injury, and putting on too much muscle leading to loosing speed. 

  • - 4 players got injured this past year in the gym
  • - 4 players have put on too much muscle/weight at points over the year leading to poor performances in the Yo-Yo test and 30m Sprint



The following segment outlines the three parts of our power program, insight into a week of jump training, and a case study about an testing tool that has been useful for monitoring lower body injury

. Power training is about moving fast – which is critical to soccer. Our power training program is simple:

  1. 1. Sprints
  2. 2. Jumps
  3. 3. Throws


By performing these explosive movements at different loads and speed, we are training to be more powerful. Similar to strength training, performing a balanced power program will help strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments, making you more resilient to injury.

Take our jump training for example. Most of the year, we’ve completed extensive-low amplitude skips/hops/jumps one day a week, while complementing intensive-high amplitude jumps (ie. Repeated jumps, tuck jumps, loaded jumps) throughout the week.

Case Study

The ability to produce force rapidly is important for sport, which is why we are looking to quantify it through testing. Of particular importance in young soccer players is the asymmetry between legs – common to many athletes. When this asymmetry gets outside of a tolerable limit, it can lead to overuse injuries.

The Single Leg Hop test (SLH) is an important marker for us. Not only a test of single leg power, but an opportunity to monitor athletes returning from injury, or those who may have a potential risk to developing one.

From November and February’s results, a combined 7 of 8 athletes who had an asymmetry > 5% between legs had either been returning from injury, had an injury at the time of testing, or later developed some sort of pain/injury in the lower body.

In 4 of the 7 cases, athletes picked up lower body injuries following testing.

This SLH is a go-to in our testing battery, serving as an important monitoring tool for our athletes.


The below section on agility will define the components agility, why it’s complex, and how we are approaching it with training.

Training “agility” is very elusive, partly due to the many components that are involved, and the lack of transfer to sports performance (See Figure 3).

Within each component exists further subcomponents. For example, within change of direction, we must consider an athlete’s ability to accelerate, decelerate, co-ordinate their limbs, change their center of gravity, etc. 

Making matters more complicated, each athlete has a unique agility skillset - often specific to their position. For example, midfielders who are often in the “right place” to receive the ball have strong decision making and visual processing skills which make their style of play seem effortless (ie. Iniesta). On the other hand, defenders require strength to win challenges and the ability to anticipate, and change direction based on an attacker’s play (ie. Sergio Ramos).

Sport is chaotic, and ultimately, your ability to succeed depends on your ability to read and react to the game.

The good news is that soccer practice allows players to work on these skills, in a sport specific context. Without sporting context (i.e.. use of the ball, positional tactics, game objectives) there is hardly any transfer of the critical skills required to read and react to the game.

So, what are we currently doing for agility?

Simply put, we focus mainly on change of direction.

As is the theme with this article, we must physically prepare for the demands of the game. Most injuries occur during changes of direction (deceleration, landing, cutting) – so we must allow our players to build proficiency and strength in these positions.

Throughout the year, we have used the end of warm ups as a time to introduce and work on different movement skills (i.e.. cutting, shuffling, landing, accelerating, decelerating etc.). Adding another layer on top, we may add visual/decision making stimuli by performing partner reactive drills, or position specific tasks (i.e.. defenders react to attackers change of directions).

Putting it Together

This article is the result of over 100 sessions with the Winstars this past year. It represents our current approach to physical preparation, and will surely evolve as time passes. I hope it provides context to our program, and the current thought process behind it.

For more information about Coach Joe and to learn more, visit 


Realize your Potential

Realize your Potential from Winstars Soccer Academy Video on Vimeo.

Our Current Approach to Physical Preparation of Youth Soccer Players – (Part 1)

By: Joe Vecchione

With over 100 training sessions in the books with the Winstars, I’ve been inspired to write this two part series sharing our current approach towards the physical preparation of our academy players – for college coaches, parents, and more importantly – our players. As a Strength & Conditioning (S&C) coach, my role is to physically prepare athlete’s for the demands of their sport, with the goal of improving performance and reducing injuries.

Training for sport is completely different than what you’d find in a commercial gym – AND on TV when you see athletes training.

Sport science has helped us push the limits of performance, which have shifted the culture of physical preparation in various sports – particularly in soccer. Many professional teams in Europe’s top leagues employ half a dozen people like myself to take care of their first team. Today’s modern soccer player must be physically fit to compete at the highest levels.

Simply put, physical preparation is important.

Which is why we’ve worked towards incorporating elements of S&C into each practice over the course of a week. Being at every practice over the last 12 months presented the opportunity to always be working on the physical development of our players.

It’s also brought a heightened level of professionalism to our approach – with S&C being commonplace in professional academies around the world.

When developing young soccer players who are pursuing college scholarships, the importance of their physical development cannot be understated. Although a bias perspective (since I am a S&C coach), top coaches understand it’s importance in developing high performance athletes.

Particularly those who are recruiting players for the next level in College.

Don’t believe me? We had a D1 coach come up to recruit a few months back, and he told me “There are a lot of programs that feel if a player has the physical traits, they can bring up their technical and tactical skills. The college game is so fast and physical, if you’re not built for it, you won’t see the field.”

Still don’t believe me? Out of our current graduating group, we have 2 players going to D1 schools next year.
They happen to be two of the fastest players on our team
(30m sprint test).

Your physical ability, whatever your strength may be – speed, strength, endurance – can be the difference between you and someone of equal technical/tactical ability.

An Integrated Approach.

On the soccer field, through warm ups, cool downs, and 10-20 minute blocks throughout practice, we’ve been able to effectively blend elements of strength, power, speed and conditioning into our soccer practice (details to follow in part 2).

Communication between coaching staff has allowed for this successful integration.

We must have a common understanding of practice intensity/goals in order to marry the two. Like chefs, we have our ingredients (exercises/drills), but we must create the right recipe (structure/program) to bring forward the true flavour of each ingredient in a delicious dish.

The results have been impressive.

Here are a few things that stand out in particular:

1.            Zero injuries on 2017 Summer Tour where we played 4 games in 4 days (90 minute, full field).

2.            The Yo-Yo Test (one of our Key Performance Indicators – KPI) has improved from a team average of 35.2 (June) to 47.2 (February) – 12 stages!

3.            Inquiries from a College Coach (who has 2 of our former players) about our S&C programs

•             One player had the best long jump score on team as a freshman.

•             One player had the best yo-yo score (aerobic fitness) on team as a freshman.

4.            Limited injuries over the course of the year

5.            More players on scholarship!

These are just a few highlights among many from over 100 training sessions and 12 months with the Winstars.

Stay tuned for the next part in this series where I’ll go into detail about the elements of our physical preparation program – including rationale, results and observations, along with some of the ways we are applying it into our daily training environment.

For more information about Coach Joe, visit to learn more!


Winstars Promo Video

Flashback from 2007 – All players went on scholarship, mainly NCAA Division 1 and our Academy won SAAC League and SAAC Cup against Bryst at BMO Field, we went undefeated in the first year of SAAC competition and first year of our academy.

Winstars Promo Video from Winstars Soccer Academy Video on Vimeo.

Summer Tour 2016  




Spring Tour March 2018 - UAB

Spring Tour March 2018 - UAB
Click on picture to enlarge




Sports Recruits


Our Commitment
Our mission is to empower student-athletes to pursue their dreams. Adversity in the recruiting process is inevitable, but can be overcome with candid guidance. Everyone’s process is different. We will work together to achieve your definition of success.
Learn More

The Insights Approach

  • 1. Athlete-Driven

College coaches want to hear from you. It’s up to you to own your process. We provide the personal curriculum, guidance, and action items to maximize your efforts.

    2. Leverage Your Advocates

Your guidance counselor, high school and club coaches are your support team. We don’t replace this team, we help you leverage it.

  • 3. Realistic Expectations

2% of high school athletes receive an athletic scholarship. We do not promise scholarships. We help you find the right athletic, academic, social and financial fit.

It is ok to be confused by the college search and recruiting process. We built Insights for you.

Get My Questions Answered

What's Included?

Dedicated Analyst

Personal Curriculum

Data + Analytics

2 Highlight Reels

Dedicated Analyst
Every athlete is matched with a dedicated Insights Analyst. Our Analysts are former college athletes, trained to leverage our proprietary data from thousands of committed athletes. Through working closely with your family, we design an actionable framework for you.

We remember the days of early weekend practices, long road trips to recruiting tournaments, and late nights studying. You and your family have invested so much into your athletic and academic career. My goal is to help you maximize these efforts with a personal, action-based plan of attack.
Alyssa Palomba, Insights Analyst

Personal Curriculum
Our team of former college athletes, former college coaches, and data scientists built a curriculum that has been proven to drive results. Recruiting is not one size fits all. Our framework adapts to your unique goals.

Course 1
Recruiting 101
Welcome to Insights! In this course, we will get to know you and your family and set you up for success with a personalized timeline to guide you through the recruiting process. You will learn the best practices for using the Sports Recruits platform and leveraging your coaches and guidance counselor.

Course 2
Target Schools
Using in-depth data analysis, find out what schools are a good fit for you academically and athletically. We will set you up for success, not just for the next 4 years, but for the next 40.

Course 3
Learn the most effective strategies for interacting with college coaches. With millions of messages sent through the Sports Recruits platform, we have been able to see firsthand what works.

Course 4
This is your opportunity to dive deeper into a topic of your choice. Choose the course that best fits your needs.

-Highlight Reels
-Scholarships + Financial Aid
-NCAA Rules + Regulations
-Interview Prep

Each Insights course includes:
A package of course materials
Action items
A 45 minute phone call with your dedicated Analyst

Data + Analytics
Millions of interactions between athletes and coaches on our platform have led to thousands of commitments. Access the most comprehensive dataset in recruiting through SR Insights.

Proprietary Data
We built tools to query our proprietary data in an aggregated and anonymized format, allowing us to share insights from the thousands of successful athletes on our platform.

 Academic Fit Report
Using your target list of schools, we provide an analysis of where you stack up academically next to other athletes interested in each school.

SR Interest Scores™
SR Interest Scores™ measure which schools are most popular amongst recruits each year, helping you discover new opportunities and prepare for competition.

What schools are you interested in?
Learn how Insights can help you focus on the right schools.

2 Highlight Reels
Our post-production team has built
We will help you stand out from the crowd.

Title Card
A professional title card tells college coaches you’re serious about your recruiting process

Isolation effects
Don’t make college coaches guess which player you are

Your Video
We can use any video you have to create your reel

Do you have access to video?
Learn how to leverage your video to maximize your exposure.


We have partnered with Sports Recruits

Happy to announce that we have partnered with Sports Recruits and real excited about this initiative as our academy is a Players first Academy and with SR we can work to become the best Academy in Canada for the Serious and Gifted Soccer Players who want to get to the next level.



Schellas Hyndman's Do's and Dont's of College Recruiting

Schellas is now the Head Coach at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix Arizona – NCAA D1 Soccer Program

Schellas Hyndman's Do's and Dont's of College Recruiting


Coaches Email List - NCAA Division 1 - 2019

NCAA logo

NCAA Division 1 College Coach Contact Information

Click Here

* Updated March 13, 2019



United Soccer Coaches



Champions are Made Here




Click on Picture for video

Our Match vs. Philadelphia Union Academy Team

Sunday October 15th – our match vs. Philadelphia Union Academy

Was a great day and match as you can see for yourself, as our academy takes on the Union Academy.

Both teams together after the game on Saturday October 14th (Click on image to enlarge)

Bobby Graham – Academy Director  


Click on Picture


A nice Testimonial by our former Academy player Ethan Vigario – now on Full Scholarship at St. Francis University – Ft. Wayne

Eathan Vigario

Hello, I am Ethan Vigario, a former player of Bobby Graham. What I have to say is straight forward, easy to comprehend and to the point. If you are looking to get to a college on scholarship and if it is a serious dream / goal of yours then I recommend going nowhere else other than Winstars.

Not only does Bobby and all the coaching staff provide a professional training environment for significant development, but they also treat you like they son. It is a family like no other and definitely stands out from the rest. Bobby likes great footballers, but also great people and that's why you don't see 1000 kids in his academy, you only see. Around 40. This is because to him it isn't about the money, he cares about you and your future.

I hope you end up taking up this opportunity, regardless of how far or close you live. I traveled 2 hours to get to training and Bobby and the academy made it more than worth it. You can shoot me an email if you have any further questions regarding any of this.

Ethan Vigario.





Dreams Come True



WHERE: Winstars Academy Office
WHEN: starting after the tour / will be prior to or after our training sessions on Sundays
COST: $500
(1st Time) $350.00 (2nd Time)

SAT Prep Course

Complete SAT Prep Course
Cost per player: $500.00 - (First Time) - $350.00 (2nd Time)

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Sankar (416) 575-6958

CLASS RESOURCES (bring to each class)

SAT Preparatory Book (will advise which book to purchase, not needed for the first class)
Scientific Calculator
Workbook/Paper, Pens, Pencils, Erasers

ABOUT THE SAT: The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a standardized test required for admission to all U.S. colleges and universities. The SAT evaluates the student's knowledge in the areas of writing, critical reading and mathematics. The SAT helps universities compare students from different parts of the country and the world with one standardized measure. In addition to the student's school marks, extra-curricular activities and admissions essay, SAT results play a crucial role in the admissions process.

* Learn important study techniques and concepts for the three sections of the SAT.
* Learn general study and test preparation skills.
* Do many practice questions and essays and be provided with ongoing evaluation and feedback.
* Do vocabulary building exercises with the purpose of applying these to actual SAT questions.
* Do timed test sections in the areas of critical reading, writing and mathematics

* 20+ years of experience as SAT and High School Mathematics Instructor
* B.A. (Psychology), M.A. (Sports Psychology), M.Ed. (Counselling Psychology)
* Player for Dartmouth College, NCAA Division 1, All-American, All-Ivy

6 Expectations On the Road to Success

When I arrived in Tampa as head coach, I began meeting with the players who lived there, trying to understand from them what needed to be fixed. Although all the issues were relatively minor, they contributed to the team’s second class, defeatist, excuse-laden mentality. I began to sell the philosophy that we are responsible for what happens to us, not anyone or anything else. No excuses, no explanations.

At a team meeting, I ran through a laundry list of excuses our players could easily hang a poor season on if they chose to: We have a new coach staff. We have to learn a new system on both offense and defense. We have sub-par facilities. We have a young quarterback. We never get the benefit of the doubt from officials. We might move cities. Those were all great excuses, and we could have used all of them. However, our goal was to win and excuses weren’t an option. Have you been using excuses lately? Here are 6 expectations I communicated to my team on the road to success.

1. Be a pro.

2. Act like a champion.

3. Respond to adversity; don’t react.

4. Be on time. Being late means either it’s not important to you or you can’t be relied upon.

5. Execute. Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it. Not almost. All the way. Not most of the time. All of the time.

6. Take ownership.

Is this how you approach your marriage? Your role as a dad? Your job?  Whatever it takes. No excuses, no explanations.


Bobby Clark: Shaping minds, not just professionals, at Notre Dame

Bobby Clark: Shaping minds, not just professionals, at Notre Dame


The Secret by Dani Alves - You really need to read this article

The Secret by Dani Alves - You really need to read this article


How to Improve Stamina for Soccer

How to Improve Stamina for Soccer

Check out all our best drills, gym workouts and articles on how to improve stamina for soccer


Our Goalkeeping Department

Goalkeepers are the most important player in a Team, at our academy we have an excellent Coach Roberto Carranza who specializes and trains our goalkeepers three times a week.  We invest much time, effort and finances into our goalkeeping and have had much success in the past with Goalkeepers who went on to the next level.

Past Goalkeepers Coached by Academy Director Bobby Graham

  1. Peter Pappas Philadelphia University and Professional with Philadelphia Kixx
  2. Loukas Papaconstantinou University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Now a Dentist
  3. Jaro Zawislan – Clemson University - Former Head Coach at Cornell University – Men’s Team
  4. Thomas Zawislan – Creighton University
  5. David Clemente – University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
  6. Raj Wakhale – Hartwick College
  7. Melford (Junior James) – University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
  8. Robert Marinaro – Clemson University – Now Head Coach of Kent State University (Women’s Team)
  9. Rasih Pala – Northern Illinois University
  10. Jay Mason – University of the Incarnate World - Now Head Coach of Cal Poly (Women’s Team)
  11. Phillip Cavicchia – Appalachian State University
  12. Chris Skelton – Niagara University
  13. Dennis Kramer – Southern Polytechnic State University
  14. Jamie Englefield – Winthrop University
  15. Domenic Spedaliere – Eckerd University
  16. Spyros Sergiotis – Wilmington University
  17. Adriano Debreau – Western Michigan University
  18. Matthew Zaikos – Urbana University
  19. Zachery Zeke – Adrian University
  20. Jordan Sedhi – Seton Hill University
  21. Christian Brunet – Lewis University
  22. Nicholas Luciani – Culver Stockton University
  23. Karman Saini – Swedish First Division Husqvarna FF



Adidas is now our official Clothing Supplier of our Soccer Academy

Some of the sports apparel each Academy player will receive




Student-Athlete NCAA Resources


NCAA Eligibility Center  *Formerly known as ‘Clearinghouse’ and is required for all Division I and Division II athletes
The College Board  *SAT Registration, College Search Tool, Scholarship Searching Tool



20 Questions to see where you should go to school



Choosing a college isn’t a four-year decision; it’s a 40-year decision. From campus to classes, academics to culture, there’s a lot to consider. And, often, students don’t even know what they want in a college experience. To help your student-athlete better understand their best college match, you can start by asking them the right questions. In this article, we provide 20 questions to gauge academic and cultural fit.

We are not covering questions for determining athletic fit, as that is an entire topic in itself. These questions can help you start a list of potential colleges, and you can add athletic fit to whittle down your choices.

Remember: You’re trying to figure out what your student wants in a school, not what you as a parent want for them. A lot of parents will frame questions by giving an obvious bias to one answer. For example, “Do you want to just be another number in a class with 500 kids in it?” Instead, phrase questions so your student-athlete can share what they really think.

It might be tempting to try grinding through all 20 questions at once. But, you’ll likely get a lot of eye rolls and, “Ugh, I don’t know!” responses. Instead, ask a couple questions at a time and keep track of the answers in a notebook. That way, you can refer back when you need to.

Ask these 20 questions to see where your student should go to school.

Academics. To parents, academics may be the most important aspect of determining best college match. For high school students, academics may be the first thing they push to the side. These questions help narrow down schools where your student would thrive academically.

1. What do you want to major in?

2. Would you be willing to adjust your major?

3. Do you want to be taught by full-time professors or graduate students?

4. Which type of classes do you prefer: lecture style or discussion style?

5. Will your major require an internship?

6. Do you want to take classes that interest you or would you like to stick to your major?

7. Is the prestige/reputation of the college important to you?

8. Do you fulfill the academic requirements to be accepted?

Culture. When students go to college, most of them will be living on their own for the first time. They need to feel at home in their university, surrounded by students who they can connect with. Campus culture refers to the type of students at the campus, the location, physical attributes of the campus and what stands out in the student body.

9. Are you more interested in a social campus, a commuter campus (where students tend to go home on the weekends) or a quiet campus?

10. How far away from home would you like to be?

11. Would you prefer to go to a school where you already know a lot of people?

12. What are your weather-related deal breakers?

13. Do need a lot of green space?

14. Do you prefer to be in a large city?

15. Would you like a religious university?

16. What kinds of extracurricular or social activities are you interested in?

17. Do you want to be surrounded by people who share your viewpoint?

18. Do you want a diverse environment?

19. Do you like seeing people you know around campus every day?

20. What specific experiences do you want to have in college (e.g., studying abroad)?

Bonus: 5 financial questions for parents

College is a huge investment. As a parent, you need to be realistic about what colleges are feasible from a financial standpoint. Ask yourself these questions to make sure you—and your student—know where things stand financially.

1. How much are you willing to pay for college and how much responsibility will fall on your student?

2. Does your student qualify for any scholarships or financial aid?

3. Will your student be supporting themselves while at college? Is the college town’s cost of living realistic?

4. Will your student need to participate in a work-study program or similar arrangement to help cover the cost of tuition?

5. Are you and/or your student willing to take out college loans? How much?

Time Management Winstars


How to be a Professional Footballer

Link to article


Testimonial from Barry Gorman, Former Technical Director, FC Dallas and Penn State University Coach

Barry Gorman

Bobby Graham is, without doubt, one of the foremost pre-eminent youth soccer ambassadors Ontario has produced. His commitment to the development of youth soccer in Canada is second to none. I can think of no one, in America or Canada, who has assisted more players in progressing to the Collegiate and Professional ranks.

For over 25 years, Bobby Graham has provided numerous, incredible opportunities for countless Canadian youngsters to showcase their talents at the best soccer events throughout the USA. The sheer number of former players who can trace their academic-athletic opportunities back to Bobby Graham run organizations is testimony to the man's "Midas" touch. The truly remarkable success rate his programs have achieved throughout the years, both on and off the field, is an indication of the excellent high standards he expects, creates and maintains.

The Winstars Soccer Academy is an outgrowth of that desire for excellence. It is a professionally run organization where it is clearly evident, "they are on the right track and have ‘bottled’ something special." On the coaching side, they are extremely well organized while constantly preparing and coaching players in a meaningful, competitive environment. On the academic side they are, in my mind, the leading source for soccer scholarship information and advice in Canada.

In my former role, as the Head Coach of Penn State University Men's Soccer Program for 22 years, I got to know Bobby Graham very well and am delighted to count on him as a valued and trusted friend. We share a similar vision of the "beautiful game," but more importantly, a strong core value in how best to monitor the growth and development of aspiring young soccer players.

Without question, I would recommend the Winstars Soccer Academy to any serious student-athletes and their parents as a worthwhile, positive career/life changing investment. I look forward to continuing to stay in touch with Bobby Graham and enhancing my professional relationship with the Winstars Soccer Academy.

FC Dallas

Barry Gorman
Technical Director – FC Dallas
Former Head Coach Men's Soccer – Penn State University

NSCAA Past President

Champions are Made Here - Video




Success doesn't happen as an accident. It is hard work, sacrifice, ups and downs, determination, motivation, but, most of all, love for the game and love doing your job.

Training is a process. It consists several main components:
1. periodization,
2. preparation,
3. organization,
4. dedication,
5. consistency.

All main factors, joined together, create entirety when you're making professionally organized plan with long and short term objectives.

While you're preparing your training program always consider:

→ the connection between the sessions – so the transition from one day to another, and one week to another, is gradually developed.


→ building up challenges and training loads in coming sessions.


→ using these methods you are constantly controlling your players but laying on their effort and making them naturally building up their performance. Each subsequent training is an upgrade to the previous work so it must be proposed on a higher level than the previous one.

Playing the highest level isn't for everybody, and that's what makes it so special. Only the ones who made it know what kind of commitment to soccer training takes to get there. With that in hart, there are few facts your player should have in mind if his dream is to become a pro.

In the modern game, at any level, soccer training and conditioning is essential. What makes the main difference between the great soccer player from the average one is their ability to do 'that something extra', something special during the match: dribble few players on the run in dying minutes of the game, precisely cross the ball to a teammate who is on the run passing the defender, clear the ball from the opponent in a counterattack action…'that something extra'.

If you commit yourself, make it count. Keep the consistency and persistence in training, attending every practice without any excuse. There are many factors that can distract you from the training, but you must know that every practice will make you better than before.

You are training hard to be fit and in your best shape for the match. You must be prepared at any moment coach decides to put you in a team. It can be full match or part of the game. Coach will decide to play you depending on his vision, situation on the pitch, including tactical variation or injuries.

Many times coaches propose physically demanding practices. The purpose is to be prepared to the last minute of the game playing in high tempo, not losing rhythm or level of performance. Hard work in training is guarantying lightness and ease during the game.

If you did your job well during training, you don't need to worry about the coming game. If you're prepared well, you will be fully focused only on your best performance and team's effort during the game.
Physically fit players are confident, motivated, in control of their potential having variety of options to choose.

After every match, player should analyse his own performance and where he stands. What is needed to work on to improve and what should be polished and mastered till the automatism. But one is definite, put your maximum effort because that is what is expected from you. Level of your performance depends on your preparation.

Becoming a good player takes a lot of time, hard work, and practice, especially. Be honest to yourself and set standards you wish to achieve. At the end, the price will be huge. Satisfaction, joy and respect are just a few of them.
→ Preparation prevents poor performance.

Arsene Wenger, How To Build a Footballer

Arsene Wenger

When a manager of the calibre of Arsene Wenger takes time to tell you the key to becoming a truly great player like Cesc Fabregas, you listen. See what the great man had to say on commitment and the desire to improve.


Harvard's Ferguson formula for success

Harvard's Ferguson formula for success


Winstars Tryouts
Tryouts for our Elite Soccer Academy

We are only interested in very talented players as well as students with good grades and a passion and desire for the game of soccer and also to play soccer at the next level. NCAA Collegiate Soccer. Looking for a few players as we are close to full for the fall and winter season.  Only serious student athletes and soccer players communicate.

Showcase our Players at the best events in USA/Canada and Europe
Professional Staff with a proven track record of success both with development and winning
The number 1 Academy in Canada for athletic scholarships at NCAA Universities
Meaningful training in a quality environment / more significant games
Academy Director has now sent over 350 players to the USA on athletic scholarship/unparalleled
Talent ID criteria centered around the players ability to control the ball

Academy Director – Bobby Graham


Men's Soccer
NCAA Division 1 Rankings - NSCAA Coaches
Men's Soccer
NCAA Division II Rankings - NSCAA Coaches
Men's Soccer
NCAA Division III Rankings - NSCAA Coaches



The Route to a Dream

2015 Summer Tour


 Checkout our past summer tour –so it will give you an
idea on what we do besides the soccer, we visit the
schools, meet the coaches, tour the campus.





NCAA logo

NCAA Division 1 College Coach Contact Information

Click Here


Daniel Festa Time Line


Winstars Academy


Canadian Dynasty of International Proportions

Article by Nicholas Spiller
Published: August 20, 2014

Most youth soccer players share a common goal as they grow into their late teenage years: They want an opportunity to keep playing the sport in college and beyond! While numerous soccer teams and programs are aimed at helping players achieve those dreams, few organizations consistently get their players to live that goal.

Hardly any places in Canada develop players as well as the Winstars Soccer Academy, which has successfully placed over 300 players into colleges across Canada and the U.S. There, they have been able to learn the game and receive a great education as well.

The Winstars Soccer Academy is led by the brilliant soccer mind of Bobby Graham, who has over 30 years of coaching experience in the sport. The focus of his program is geared toward helping players learn the technical skills required to play soccer at the highest level. While most teams focus on athleticism and running, Winstars understands the importance of working well on the ball and as a team.

The Academy also harnesses a relatively hands-off approach to gameplay. Bringing in the right group of players is key, and with this mindset players are given freedom to play and have the trust of coaches to best utilize their skills.

Additionally, Winstars Soccer Academy benefits from being the most successful and proven club in Ontario for several decades. Coaches across North America are familiar with the team and these relationships are very beneficial to aiding young players in the recruitment process for college teams. The team takes part in many travel excursions for prestigious tournaments or to various colleges. A current tour in August 2014 will see the squad visit universities like Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and James Madison University.

The Winstars has been the most successful Canadian Club program ever to compete at the prestigious Dallas Cup. Bobby Graham teams have competed in the Super Group for many years, playing against the likes of AC Milan, Boca Juniors, Tottenham Hotspurs, Moscow Dynamo, Benfica and International of Brazil as well as the best the USA had to offer, Dallas Texans, Chicago Magic, etc.

Additionally, numerous college scouts and coaches love to attend tournaments like the 10th annual Collegiate Boys Showcase, set to be held this December. Such exposure gives players every opportunity to catch the eye of a specific college coach or recruiter. But at its core, the reason such chances come about is due to the competitiveness and quality of the Winstars Soccer Academy, which prepares players for college and professional soccer like no other club in Canada.

While hundreds of players have earned placements to various colleges, some have even been able to play soccer professionally! One such player is Dejan Jakovic, who not only featured for UAB, but also went on to star as a defender for D.C. United and currently plays abroad in the J-League. Dejan was one of 20 players from Bobby Graham teams that went on to play for Head Coach Mike Getman at UAB, and they have been a top 25 NCAA Division 1 program for many years.

As stated by Barry Gorman, former Penn State head coach and technical director of FC Dallas, "Without question, I would recommend the Winstars Soccer Academy to any serious student-athletes and their parents as a worthwhile, positive/life changing investment."

Winstars Soccer Academy isn't just another soccer club to play during your teenage years; it is a vessel to propel your future as a soccer player! Available to boys aged 12-18, this is Canada's finest youth soccer program and gets players opportunities to continue the sport in college year after year!
See article


Daniel Festa

Daniel Festa, a past Winstars Academy player, has recently Graduated in Economics and Finance, from Manhattan College, in Riverdale, New York! Keep up the Great Work Daniel!

Daniel Festa signs with Manhattan College for 2014.

Our News section is constantly changing! We work hard behind the scenes to create as many opportunities as possible for our players.