Gwynedd, Pa. native leaves February 26 for England
Following one of the best goalkeeping performances in Ocean City FC history last season, Tunde Ogunbiyi (Boston College / Gwynedd, PA) is on his way to England ...temporarily. Ogunbiyi, who will be a senior at Boston College this fall, leaves on February 26 and when he arrives in Reading, he will spend a week training with Reading FC who play in "The Championship" (the league directly below the English Premier League).
Since 2008, Ocean City FC has been affiliated with Reading FC in an effort to create new soccer development programs that will benefit both clubs. Recently, Reading youth academy coaches have come stateside to run summer camps and Ocean City Super Y-League teams have traveled to England to train and play exhibition games.
"An opportunity like this shows the strength of our continued relationship with Reading FC," said Ocean City FC manager and former Reading youth academy player Neil Holloway.
Ogunbiyi has played two seasons with Ocean City FC in the Premier Development League (PDL) and made an immediate impact in 2008 when he led the team in goals against average (1.40) despite only playing in five of the team’s 16 games. His season was cut short because he was called up to the Nigerian Olympic team’s camp as they prepared for the Beijing Games. He was among the team’s final roster cuts just before the tournament began as Nigeria moved on to earn the silver medal.
Last summer, he returned to Ocean City and had a outstanding campaign in his first full season with the club. In 11 regular season games, Ogunbiyi earned five shutouts and out of the 68 teams in the PDL, he ranked 3rd in goals against average (0.76). He also earned a pair of clean sheets in the US Open Cup (The United States’ version of the FA Cup), as he shutout Crystal Palace Baltimore and the Real Maryland Monarchs to reach the Third Round of the competition. In Round 3, Ocean City faced DC United of Major League Soccer where they fell 2-0 in a game that could have gone either way.
Ogunbiyi also helped the club reach the PDL Quarterfinals with a pair of playoff wins over two of the top teams in the league (Long Island Rough Riders, Ottawa Fury). His 0.85 goals against average and eight shutouts in all competitions are both new club records.
His hard work was rewarded when he was named to the PDL All-Conference team, beating out some outstanding goalkeepers in the Eastern Conference.
"Tunde deserves this opportunity for his efforts this past summer," said Holloway. "This will be a chance for him to experience what it is like to be a professional in England for a week."
"I’m really excited to go," said Ogunbiyi. "I’m going to work really hard and learn as much as I can and hopefully things go well. I have no idea what to expect, but I’m just thrilled to represent Ocean City FC."
The Boston College goalkeeper will have plenty of chances to learn as he will work with Reading FC goalkeeper coach Sal Bibbo and the entire group of first team netminders led by Australian international Adam Federici. Federici is currently trying to earn a spot on Australia’s 2010 World Cup roster.
It won’t be all work for the young American goalkeeper as Ogunbiyi will get to attend a pair of matches as a spectator beginning with Reading FC’s crucial league match against Sheffield Wednesday at Madejski Stadium on February 27. The following week,on March 3, he will travel to Wembley Stadium in London to see England take on Egypt in an international friendly.