Editorial Note: Please welcome Daniel Dogvan to the Waking the Red team. Daniel works with the Ottawa Fury but was originally a Toronto FC supporter from the early years. He also supports Zenit St. Petersburg in the Russian Premier League.
After the final whistle of Sunday's NASL championship loss. The Ottawa Fury FC players led by their head coach Marc Dos Santos, headed over to the away supporter's section to thank the 200 supporters who made the long trip down from Ottawa to Long Island NY.
As the group of players and coaches came closer to the away supporters, Fury FC fans started a chant cheering Marc Dos Santos' name. Dos Santos, wanting to share the love, motioned for the fans to thank and chant the players. After the players thanked the fans for their support the team headed over to midfield to accept their second place medals.
Each player looked absolutely distraught heading up to the podium. But Dos Santos raised each players head and morale before placing the silver medal over each of his player's shoulders. These two moments demonstrate what kind of a man Dos Santos is. Not only is he a selfless man but he is a large reason why the Ottawa Fury FC have started on the right foot.
Two years ago, Marc and his brother Phil Dos Santos were given the reigns to a team that featured an empty roster. Within the space of a few months they managed to build a team from scratch. The Dos Santos' have found many diamonds in the round and have found a way to make them shine.
Ryan Richter for one, a former TFC player, has developed into a very talented right back in the NASL. This past season Richter played every minute of the season. Richter has developed from a defensively weak player, into an outstanding two-way fullback with surefire MLS quality.
Dos Santos also gave a few young Canadian players the chance to earn a spot in the starting XI. Mason Trafford and Mauro Eustaqio were given the chance to step up after injuries to other members in the squad. Both players rose to the occasion with flying colours. Eustaqio impressed enough to earn a call up to the Canada Olympic qualifying team, while Trafford should be given a look from Floro.
But the brightest part of the Ottawa Fury FC season has been the growth of the fan base. A pilot program organized by the club called Fury Fanatics was started this past summer. The goal of the program was to get children under the age of fourteen who play organized soccer all around the Ottawa area to come watch Ottawa Fury FC matches for free.
This is a brilliant initiative because getting children hooked at a young age will eventually make them into season ticket holders. The most popular organized children's sport is soccer. The Fury Fanatics program provides a connection from playing the game to watching the game.
Unfortunately, Dos Santos' tenure with the Ottawa Fury FC ends in the next few days. His reason for leaving is because he thinks life is too short and he wants to work his way up through the coaching rankings.
He hopes to eventually get the head coaching position with the Canadian national team. Dos Santos has stated that "...the Canada position is just a job to others. But to me it means something more." Hopefully one day the CSA gives him the shot that he is willing to earn.
He has developed a winning team with one of the smallest budgets in the NASL. His roster has included castoffs from all over the world. Within two years Marc has helped create a club that looks like it is in a healthy place for the future.
The Ottawa Fury FC should be used as an example for other Canadian markets. Having a Canadian coach and Canadian players does not mean that the play on the field will be poor. Other cities looking to expand into the soccer market shouldn't be scared to establish a team. Ottawa mostly known as a hotbed for gridiron football has had a team that broke league records thanks to growing attendances and solid play.